1,000 More Followers by Smart Commenting

Blog comments

Introduction

Today’s guest blogger is Justian Madensen. He lives in Denmark and graduated from Celf (Vocational education) where he was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year 2010/2011.

When it comes to work I tend to have a lot on my plate. I work as an Affiliate manager for an Online Sports investor and on my spare time I spend lots of hours writing for my personal blog and gossip blog. Justian, thank you for this blog.

It seems like everybody is talking about making great content, and getting lots of inbound links and doing lots of commenting on other blogs, which are real good things to do, but are you getting the most out of it?.

I will share a few thoughts with you that will make your task easier to achieve.

If you are reading this, I know that you are already putting in a lot of hours in what you are doing. It takes a lot of hours making great content, getting inbound links and getting a huge network. What I am about to show you is no different. This is not a guide that will make you shine overnight, this blog post is more about thinking before posting and about giving you a heads-up about things you might be doing wrong or not as effective as you could.

Goals For This Post

  • To show you how some creative thinking will add value to your comments
  • To show you how you could stand out amongst the other posters

Before I get ahead of myself, I should mention that I am new to building my online network. I’ve been working with Search Engine Optimization for a few years now, and I am a strong believer of finding your niche and having your own (and better) approach then the rest of the guys out there.

Let’s pretend that your “base” (website, great content, Facebook, Twitter and Google+) are ready for you to increase your network. What additional options do you have besides what you’re already doing?

Stop and think (before posting)

One of the most powerful things you can do is posting a comment on someone else’s work. People love to read comments on the content that they have put hours into publishing. But don’t let you comment fall into the “Nice post” or “wow.. You got a point” category, those kinds of comments won’t get a second look by the author nor other readers.

Try to make your comment the center of attention. Make it special and make it worth reading. Are you able to contribute anything on this topic? Do you feel like the author has left something out? Thinking like that gets you into a debate with other readers as well as the author and that’s how you get the attention that you want. It also increases your chances of getting new followers and people looking you and your website up.

Be the first to comment

Being the first to comment ensures that your comment doesn’t get lost between all the other comments and since it’s right beneath the end of the article it is most likely that most of the readers will see it and perhaps make a comment to it.

Get notification

Make sure that you get notified if anybody makes a comment to an article you have commented on so that you can return and interact with somebody who might even have made a comment to your original comment.

Consider how your content affects the reader

I know I said – Think out of the box and get creative with your response to a blog post, but before you push submit, make sure that your comment have the right effect on people. You’re not aiming to alienate people  or trying to berate other members on a topic. So whatever you do keep in mind that people don’t like being patronized  and they don’t like being put down, so make sure you don’t offend people in any possible way.

Does your answer/post seem offensive or objective?

When people are attacking your comment or content in any way, it can be hard to calm yourself and be objective – but keep in mind, how you response on this matter might make you look like the hero or the zero. Do not answer right away! Give yourself a little time to reflect on the situation, and come up with the perfect answer. Don’t forget that your comment will stay there forever so don’t let a knee-jerk reaction make you look bad.

I know you won’t get 1.000 followers over night from incorporating this into your strategy, but you have increased the chances that the author and his readers will follow you. Getting yourself noticed is the first step to success.

Now it’s your turn. What other ways have you found that gets you more followers or people commenting on your comments?

I’ll be looking forward to reading your comments and you can find more information about me and my posts on my website  My website is www.newstyle.dk. You are welcome to follow me on twitter or google+ where I will be sharing more on my strategy on how to build a huge network . Thanks to Jorgen for the chance to be guest blogging here, and to pass my ideas and strategy on.

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Posted in SEO, Social media | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

5 Important Resources Needed to Promote an eBook

The First Door - Leonard White

Introduction

I’m excited to introduce my first guest blogger: Leonard White. Leonard is a computer programmer and father who has finally gotten motivated to start writing. He published his first eBook late last year and is working on his second one.

Name: Leonard White

Location:Indiana, US

Occupation: Computer programmer

Favourite quote: “Good, Bad, I’ve got the gun.” ~ Ash, Army of Darkness.

Goals For This Post

  • Show you how to publicize your self-published eBook
  • Give you information about valuable resources to get started

Quick intro; I am a novice blogger and social networker. Talking to people isn’t really my strong suit. I am a writer and an IT guy, not a social butterfly. I had a Facebook page and a few friends that I actually knew or went to school with and that was it. I had no other significant on-line presence.

I started writing fiction in September and published my first Novella on Smashwords at the beginning of October last year. That was when I started looking into what I had to do to publicize my work myself. Simply dropping a book into the internet would have done absolutely nothing in terms of sales so I began working on how I would advertise.

That was a daunting and eye-opening experience. I started Googling and found Twitter. I knew what it was but hadn’t considered using it to build a network of contacts. I always thought of it as something where semi-stalkers could find out what their favorite celebrities were up to. I had no reason to do something like that and I had no interest until this point. I quietly watched for a week or so while I remained overwhelmed with no idea how to approach this. That was when I discovered Kristen Lamb.

Her work has been the single biggest source of information I have used for how to make any of this work. I wouldn’t be here writing a guest post if it weren’t for her. Funny enough, I found her because she was writing about plot, not networking.

As I kept following Twitter links and the posts that she was providing I began gathering the information that is slowly helping me to build my platform. I don’t have the time to devote to building a large platform quickly while continuing to write but I do have a collection of links that might help you with building your platform. I wanted to provide, what is in my opinion, the best of these links to you. With any luck, this will save you some searching and lead you along the way to the building your network into a profitable business foundation.

MacGregor Literary: This is the first article in a group that discusses how to market your book. He starts with branding.

Jim Chines discusses his opinions on the benefits of blogging for a writer. Basic information but I felt it was important to add since the idea of what you are trying to accomplish is very important when considering the tone of your blog.

EPublish A Book is specifically a writer oriented site but they did have a handy article discussing how to organize a blog tour. These are fun and do drive a lot of readers around.

Chuck Wendig: This blog has a lot of profanity but he also makes some wonderful points. The biggest thing I get from reading this is that I can and will create more traffic by having fun with what I write.

Problogger.net: Title sort of says it all doesn’t it. The specific link that I followed there was http://www.problogger.net/archives/2012/01/16/3-traffic-generation-tactics-from-an-ordinary-human-being/

The Catalyst Partnership discusses how to get invited to speak on something in three weeks. This article is full of other social media points as well. This is easily one of the best posts on this that I have ever read.

Now, like I said, I am a fiction writer. I always include an original piece at the end of my posts. I figure that if you are reading my blog you might be interested in my work. My fiction is my brand so I add something new to every post. I hope you enjoy it and I would like to invite you to read the rest of it.

Thanks for letting me sit in with you today.

L. E. White

My book: The First Door

My Blog: An Opener’s Closing

Ghost Writer

She sat on her bed in silence; awake even though she didn’t want to be. The frost kissed window promised another cold morning once she finished crawling out from under the covers. This time of the morning was normally reserved for the sharing of body heat and the protective feeling of his arms around her but now that he was gone there was no heat, no sleep, and in her mind, no hope.

The car crash had been the other guy’s fault; there was nothing that she could have done from the passenger’s seat but that didn’t change her feelings of guilt. They had been on the road because she had been craving Chinese food and he always spoiled her. The snow hadn’t been bad but the other car had slid. The fact that everyone was going slow didn’t really matter once the truck had left the road. The tree limb that had speared through the windshield had been a one in a million shot. In her mind, he was even rarer.

She turned her head to look at the cold spot beside of her. Another tear found its way past her thin emotional defenses as she noticed that the pillow was still fluffed, proof that his head had not touched it and that she hadn’t drug it to her and squeezed it in the night. That had stopped when she had no longer been able to smell him on it a few weeks ago.

She jumped when she heard a squeaking sound come from the window. She turned to look and found that the frost no longer covered the panes in a thin veil of chilly opalescence. Instead, she was reminded of her childhood when she would breathe on the station wagon’s window and draw pictures in the fog as her family drove from place to place.

She put her glasses on and leaned towards the glass before grabbing his pillow and clutching it to her chest. Great shuddering sobs were muffled into the pillow and she crushed it to her with shaking arms. The message was simple and written so that she could read it from inside the room.

“I’m still here babe. I love you.”

Posted in Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to get Your First Speaking Engagement in Just 3 Weeks

successIntroduction

This is how I got my first speaking engagement in just 3 weeks. I am a very small fish in a very big pond. Today I was invited to give my first speech at a large networking group. I will be the only one speaking at this event. I am not telling you this to brag but to prove to you that if you follow just a few golden rules of Social Media Marketing then you can get speaking engagement yourself.

Just like everybody else wants to get people’s attention in Social Media so do I. Once you have attention people will start to engage with you which will lead to interaction and eventually lead to sales if you know how to convert opportunities.

Goals For This Post

  • To show you how I got my first speaking engagement
  • To show you how it can be done without spending a dime

Social Media Marketing is not about the tools. I have said it before and I will say it again and again until you’re sick of it. Having all the tools in place just allows you to publicise your content and to be more efficient but it doesn’t differentiate you from anybody else. It doesn’t differentiate you from anybody else.

Anybody can put all the tools in place. I did it for free. I have a Facebook Page, a LinkedIn profile and Company Page, a WordPress blog, Twitter account, StumbleUpon account and Reddit account.

Only a little customisation has been done to my Facebook Page, Twitter account and blog. I basically have the minimum required set up. I use two other tools namely Hootsuite and Buffer. Both of them are the free version.

When I started my Social Media Marketing strategy 3 weeks ago I had 4 likes (friends) on my Facebook Page, 14 followers (friends) on Twitter and I had made two blog posts. Yes, 4 likes, 14 followers and 2 blog posts.

Blog

My blog is the core of my Social Media Marketing strategy. Without it I would be nowhere. From day one I recognised that providing quality content is the only way to get people’s attention in Social Media. I spend an inordinate amount of time writing each blog post.

I spend so much time partly because my English is crap and partly because I want to make sure each blog post is well structured and easy to read. My blog is very focused on Social Media and Social Media Marketing for the simple reason that I want to be known as an authority on Social Media and Social Media Marketing. I’m no authority by far but that’s my goal. I also try to make my content newsworthy and interesting. I probably spent 1 – 2 hours writing each blog post. This blog post has taken me almost 2 hours to write. I have published 16 blog posts so far.

I get my ideas about what to write about from listening to influencers. I have a RSS feed and I constantly monitor it for interesting news. I do watch my Twitter feed and the Facebook Pages I have liked but my RSS feed is the most valuable source for me. It is probably the simplest way to get latest news from influencers. I currently have feeds from 21 sources.

All my blog posts are automatically published to LinkedIn and via Twitter. I have just started to upload to StumbleUpon and Reddit two days ago. I post manually to my Facebook Page because I want to write something in the Status Update to give it a more personal touch. It’s part of my strategy to humanise my brand and my Fans deserve more.

I pick my picture very carefully and think about the headline as both are directly correlated with how many people wants to read more. Writing something you really want people to read and get no readers because you have picked a bad picture or your headline is not getting any attention must really suck.

I also, try to provide factual information to support my statements in order to increase the trust level of my reader.

I also use the same template for every blog post – Introduction, Goals For This Post, Conclusion and Call To Action.

Twitter

In the beginning I had nothing to contribute so I just listened, commented and shared. I started to follow influencers and retweeted their most interesting and relevant tweets to my followers. Slowly people started to follow me. Yesterday I got 43 new followers and it’s going up every day. People don’t follow you because you retweet other people’s stuff. They follow you when they see that your content can add value. Quality content is again proving its value.

I then began to include the influencers’ Twitter handle in some of my tweets and some have started to follow me.

Why did they decide to follow a very small fish? Because they read my quality content and decided that I might be interesting. What other reason could there possibly be? It comes back to quality content again.

Why is it so important to have influencers following you? The two main reasons are that people listen to them and that they have a huge number of followers.

Their retweets are much more likely to be read and many people probably have them in one of their Twitter lists. Through the influencers I can potentially reach millions of people. Some of these influencers have more than 250,000 followers so if they retweet one of my blog posts my blog stats are going to sky rocket. I have 246 followers and each follower has on average 50,000 followers. I never asked any of them to follow me. They decided to follow me.

Two days ago I was invited to join an invitation only network where everybody retweets each others blog posts. The total numbers of followers of the members in my two groups is 1.8 million.

Every single blog post I make now goes out to up to 1.8 million people. I basically just increased my followers from a measly 246 to 1.8 million.

How did I get invited? Somebody on Twitter retweeted one of my tweets and somebody in the network read some of my blog posts, liked it and invited me. If I start to post junk then I will get kicked out – deservedly so. This has again happened because I provide quality content.

Facebook Page

My strategy for my Facebook Page is slightly different.

As I mentioned before I post my blog posts manually to give them a personal touch. I believe you have to prove to your Fans that you are a great lover. Once they love you they will be your brand ambassador forever if you stay consistent and continue to provide quality content. If you want somebody to love you then you have to give them special attention. I probably post 4 to 8 times a day.

I have never tried to sell my services on my Facebook Page and I believe it is fatal if you constantly try to promote your products and services on your Facebook Page. Try at your own peril.

In addition to posting my own blog posts I also post interesting and current information with links to the sources. I always include a picture because Status Updates with pictures get more attention.

I have recently made a few posts about Google+ and Google+ Company Pages because I know that people and companies want to be on Google+. I also made a post recently about a really cool Facebook app I am using myself. Around New Year I also posted some year in review links from YouTube and Google. I try to mix it up to avoid coming across as being too serious and to humanise my brand.

My RSS feed is my most valuable source. As soon as interesting tools, tutorials or other relevant information is published by influencers it will go into my RSS feed.

If I share it instantly I will be the first to tell my Fans and they will share it and pay more attention to my next posts. In 3 weeks my ‘likes’ have gone up by 1,650% excluding Facebook Pages which have liked my Facebook Page because Facebook Page likes from other Facebook Pages doesn’t count in the likes stat shown on your Facebook Page.

LinkedIn

I am a member of relevant Social Media discussion groups and blogging groups. I’m an active participant but I never promote myself for reasons stated above.

I believe that people on LinkedIn discussion groups are more advanced in Social Media and they will check you out and link up with you via Facebook, Twitter, my blog, my RSS feed or by connecting with me on LinkedIn if they find me interesting. I also provide links to valuable information as a way of showing my willingness to share.

Influencers

Connecting with influencers has probably been the second most successful strategy besides providing quality content. I offer to help, share their content, comment on their blogs, Facebook Pages and share interesting content with them.

Just recently I became one of 500 beta testers for a new forum run by one of the biggest Social Media influencers.

How did I become a beta tester? Again my RSS feedback proved its value and I hope my quality content played a part too.

As soon as I saw they were looking for beta testers in my RSS feed I signed up. I am sure that thousands of people signed up. I don’t know if I was chosen because I was one of the first and/or because they checked out my social profile. Yes, I spent Christmas Eve testing their new forum.

I can now communicate with these influencers and normally get a response within an hour.

Monetary results

So how much money have I made so far? NOTHING.

But I have had people from all over the world asking me if do a webinars, lots of local businesses have asked me to come and help them, I have been approached by two local newspapers and somehow I think that my upcoming speaking engagement is going to result in more work.

In fact, my calendar is fully booked with meetings with potential clients. Some of them have even told me that they want to engage me but just want to meet me first.

This has all happened in just 3 weeks.

I have NEVER sent out any solicitation emails, made any sales calls or promoted my services on any of my Social Media platforms.

If I can do it so can you.

I am fully aware that some of my readers think that my blog posts are of little quality and that the content is crap. I respect their opinion. However, this is how I do it and so far I’m happy with the results.

Conclusion

I realise that this blog post could easily be interpreted as one big self-promotion. I assure you it is not. Shameless self-promotion will get you nowhere in Social Media. People don’t want to hear about you all the time.

I simply wanted to share with you how I got started in Social Media, what my Social Media marketing strategy has been so far and what I have achieved at no cost and in no time. Yes, Social Media have taken up 95% of my time the last 3 weeks and you might call me a nutcase. It’s my choice and the next couple of weeks will prove if I spent my time wisely.

Social Media Marketing is for everybody and it works if you simply follow a few simple rules, always provide quality content and share quality content.

Take whatever you can from this post that you think is valuable and which is going to help you achieve your goals. If you implement just one thing from this blog post then I have achieved what I want.

I am not going to ask you to follow me because I don’t deserve to be followed if I don’t provide quality content. You will vote with your mouse.

Your turn. We all want to be heard in Social Media so please share your success stories with me and other readers. I’m on a very steep learning curve and I want to learn from you too so please share.

Godspeed for 2012 and beyond.

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

How to avoid being 1 Click Away from Losing your Biggest Sale

losing-a-saleIntroduction

Today many companies have a social media marketing strategy. They have a fan page, LinkedIn company page and a twitter account.

They grow their fans and followers and it all seems great. But they do not think about who ‘unliked’ and ‘unfollowed’ them although one of the ‘unlikes’ or ‘unfollowers’ could have been their biggest opportunity.

Goals For This Post

  • To let you know about the most efficient way to minimise your ‘unlikes’ and ‘unfollowers’

Think about why you ‘unlike’ or ‘unfollow’ a company or person. In the majority of the cases it is because their content is abysmal and the quality is even worse. In some case it is because they never communicate with you but that is harder to notice unless you make a conscious effort to weed out who you have liked and followed.

Sometimes they leave because you overwhelm them with communication and they fill up your inbox and news feeds preventing you from identifying information which is relevant to growing your business.

It does not matter if your communication contains high quality and good content if it is not read. So to get people to read your communication you need a good headline. A good headline can significantly increase the number of people who is actually going to read what you communicate to them.

Think about how easily you ‘unlike’ or ‘unfollow’ somebody. As the number of communications you receive increase dramatically you will have to think about who not to ‘like’ or ‘follow’. Your potential customers will have to do exactly the same.

So spend some time thinking about how to provide good quality content so you do not become an ‘uniked’ or ‘unfollowed’ and perhaps lose your biggest sale opportunity ever.

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

One sure way to increase your readership – guaranteed. It’s so easy!!

headline-pictureIntroduction

Do you want as many people as possible to read your post? If you do then you need to spend more time on writing your headline. Just a few words can make the difference between a successful post and a post nobody cares to read. Once you read on you will understand why it is so important to put so much effort into deciding on the wording of your headline.

A post should always include the following four elements

  • A headline
  • What readers can expect to learn from your post
  • The content (obviously)
  • Call to action

In this post I will focus on headlines.

The Goals For This Post

  • To help you understand why great headlines are so important
  • To help making you a better headline writer

The headline is the most important element of your post. The first thing to keep in mind is that a headline is a promise. It promises some kind of benefit or reward in exchange for attention. That reward could range from an amusing diversion to the solution to a pressing problem.

Here are some famous headlines

“How to Win Friends and Influence People”

“How to Save Time and Get Things Done”

“How to Get a Better Job and Make More Money”

“How to Save Money and Retire Rich

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read the headline, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. The only way to increase the number of people who will read your headline and the content is to write better headlines.

Let me introduce you to the SHINE formula.

S is for Specificity

If you are vague about the value of reading your content, your reader will be too.

Nothing is as uninteresting as vagueness. Specific and concrete facts, on the other hand – particularly ones that form pictures in our minds – are intensely interesting.

So the first thing you must do to create a winning headline is use objective, quantifiable language. Figures are excellent; they imply research, which adds to your perceived legitimacy but all kinds of specificity are good.

Avoid subjective claims that anyone can make. These are meaningless; like claiming your girlfriend or boyfriend is the most beautiful person in the world. Loved girlfriend or boyfriend is the most beautiful person in the world to their partner. Everyone says that kind of thing and these sorts of claims actually reduce readership significantly.

A headline you can read in a single glance obviously communicates its content more effectively than one you cannot. Usability research shows that people not only scan the content but headlines as well – and they tend to take in only the first and last 3 words. This suggests the perfect length for a headline is 6 words.

However, some of the highest – converting headlines on the web are as long as 30 words. As a rule, if it will not fit in a tweet it is too long. But instead of worrying about length you should worry about making every word count. Especially the first and last 3.

H is for Helpfulness

For your reader to see value in your post, you must show how it will help him. Sounds obvious, yet most headlines give readers no clear idea of how your content will help them – and so they do not read it.

To make your headline helpful, simply speak to the problem the reader came to your site to solve. People understand that what is stated in the headline implies a solution in the content.

Alternatively, if your reader is not yet aware of the problem, simply begin by stating it directly – as in the headline “Bacteria in your grocery cart”.

I is for Immediacy

Speaking of bacteria, your headline should be so interesting that your reader cannot help but read on immediately.

You already know from experience that if you do not read it right away the odds are slim you will read it at all. The same is true of anyone reading your content.

Creating immediacy is obviously easier for topics with greater emotional appeal. It is more difficult if you are selling something like project collaboration software. Focus on desires rather than needs, as these are, strangely stronger.

It is even better if you can tease him while doing so. Curiosity is an immensely powerful motivator. Paradoxes, quizzes, an implied danger or reward, or even simple questions can inflame a headline’s immediacy by playing to your reader’s curiosity – almost forcing him to read the copy.

N is for Newsworthiness

To give your reader a reason to spend time reading your post, as opposed to your competitor’s, your headline must say something he has not heard before. Or, more precisely, something he thinks he has not heard before.

Obvious, generic, or familiar statements will put a bullet in your foot. In fact, anything that makes him think, “I already know what this is about.”

In other words, your headline must have news value. This does not have to mean actual news – although headlines starting with “Now”, “Finally”, “Announcing”, “At last” and so on are all tested winners.

Indeed, by putting your headline in terms of a story, you guarantee a unique spin. You also guarantee the critical element most headlines on the web lack – which brings us to our final point.

E is for Entertainment value

People today are information grazers. With so many blogs to read, so many things to ‘like’ on Facebook, so many tweets to scan, so many videos to watch, headlines which promise some entertainment in the content succeed more often than those which do not.

This is something you do not see emphasised very often in headline formulas. In fact, since much of the advice you will read about writing headlines comes from the cult of Claude Hopkins, you may even hear that copy should not seek to entertain at all. Hopkins famously said a salesman is not a clown.

But Hopkins wrote nearly a century ago, in a very different world. Although most marketing principles are universal, some things do change, so let me put this as bluntly as I can:

People on the Internet will not be bored and entertaining does not mean you should include the sorts of stupid ‘clever’ gimmicks you see in much advertising.

But stories, the oldest form of entertainment, are highly effective. So is humor, if used cautiously.

Lastly, do not write your post and post it immediately. Reread it the next day and I guarantee you that you can find many ways to improve it if you use the SHINE formula.

Conclusion

Headlines are more important than you think and could make the difference between the content being read or not. Using the SHINE formula increases the probability of your post being read.

Try and go back to your blog and see if your headlines score high using the SHINE formula. If not then use the SHINE formula to rewrite the headline. Publicize it again and measure if it got read by more people than the old headline.

Next is content. Make sure you follow me if you want to know when the next part is being published.

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

You have no Social Marketing Strategy – then what is the point of having a business?

do-not-panicIntroduction

Social networks are the cornerstone of any Social Media Marketing Strategy. Today 1.2 billion people worldwide access social networks and it is redefining the web. Social Networks “were” superficial but are now serious business and is today the world’s most popular online activity. Serious brands have realised its marketing power and are rushing to learn how to harness it. Are you a serious brand? If you are then you read on.

Goals For This Post

  • To show you why social networks are important in driving sales
  • To show you where to drive business from

Social media is the world’s most popular online activity. Social networking sites now reach 82% of the world’s online user population.

Social networking transcends and reflects regional differences. Social networking has grown in every single country transcending cultural and religious differences.

Facebook’s importance can not be overstated. Facebook is the third largest web property behind Google’s and Microsoft’s sites.

Micro blogging is a disruptive force. Twitter began its spectacular climb in popularity in the spring of 2009 and now reaches 1 in 10 internet users.

Regional global networks are going global. Local social networks are making their presence felt in other countries with LinkedIn having 27.2 percent penetration in the Netherlands. VKontakte the Russian social site (which is the world’s 7th largest social network) attracts 43% of its traffic from outside Russia.

Social networking is for “everyone” – not just the young. MySpace was one of the first social networking sites and has helped perpetuate the myth that social media sites are only for the young. In the last couple of years the older generations use of social networks has accelerated and users aged 55 and older is the fastest growing segment in social networking usage.

Communications is going social. The teenagers of today have grown up with computers and the internet as part of their DNA. It is not surprising to find that 15-24 year olds use social media as the defacto means to communicate, leading to diminished use of instant messaging and email. It is possible that social networking communications could become the most important communication channel across all age groups over time!

Social media advertising needs to be taken seriously. Social network sites advertising makes up one in four of all display ad impressions in the USA. In the third quarter of 2011, Facebook delivered 28 percent of display ad impressions – more than the other four major portals combined.

The “next” disrupters are still being decided. In 2004 Facebook emerged and no one would have guessed that it would “disrupt” the current default social network MySpace. Today Facebook dominates but during 2011 Google got serious and launched Google+ which became the fastest growing social network in history and reached 25 million users in less than 30 days.

Mobile devices are fueling social addiction. Social networks and mobile smart phones have combined to turn people into mobile social web addicts.

Do not panic. If you link up with us below then we promise to be a valuable source of relevant and up to date information on everything to do with digital marketing.

Excerpts from 10 Things You Must Know about the State of Social Media in 2011

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Only way to Increase your Marketing Real Estate on Facebook without Alienating Your Fans

billboardIntroduction

Finding new ways to sell online is always important. Social Media has become the latest craze and many companies are trying to use their Facebook Page to sell to their Fans.

But selling online has changed considerably because Social Media has changed the way brands and consumers interact.

Before Social Media… brands said

“I’m a great lover” and consumers believed it.

Now… consumers don’t believe it… and wait for…

“Hey! He is a great lover”

said by one of their friends… and then they believe it.

Facebook Pages is your place to make love to your Fans by engaging and interacting with them. It is not the place to hard sell your products and services. In a later post I will discuss how to become a better Facebook Lover.

However, there is a way to soft sell your products and services every time somebody visits your Facebook Page. Every Facebook Page owner can implement this idea. No need for Facebook Page apps or programming skills.

Goals For This Post

  • Show how to soft sell your products and services on your Facebook Page without alienating your Fans

Shameless self-promotion on your Facebook Page is boring to any Fan and they will react with a click of a mouse. Engage and interact rather than sell. Work as a co-creator, not a marketer.

“The difference between PR and Social Media is that PR is about positioning, and Social Media is about becoming, being and improving.” –Chris Brogan, author of “Trust Agents”

“If your social strategy relies on advertising in Social Media, it’s probably better to hang on to your money.” – Taddy Hall, chief operating officer of Meteor Solutions

“Today people don’t trust companies. One of the things marketers want to do is to humanize their brand. What better way to do it than put a live person in front of them?” – Jackie Huba, author

What better way to humanise your brand than making love to your Fans!! I’m getting carried away here!!

Make love to your Fans and they will buy from you.

Facebook Pages are for making love to your Fans not to sell to them. Show them you’re a great lover and they will tell the world. If you constantly promote your products and services your Fans will quickly ‘unlike’ your Facebook Page or simply ‘hide’ all your Status Updates and you will never know – they are gone forever.

So how do you soft sell your products and services on your Facebook Page?

You can soft sell to every visitor – Fans or non-Fans – without filling up your Fans’ news feeds with promotional content.

So what is it?

Your photo strip at the top of your Facebook Page is where you can soft sell your products and services without alienating your Fans.

The photo strip is made up of 5 images and will display the last 5 images you have uploaded. Use these 5 ‘billboards’ to creatively soft sell your products and services.

Create a series of images with special offers and calls to action right on the images. Below is an example (not a good one as there is no call to action) to show you the essence of the idea.

billboard

When your Fans click the image it will appear in the lightbox where the Fan can see the text and hyperlink to your landing page that you have added in the description box for each image.

What are the benefits?

  • The top of your Facebook Page is prime advertising space – use it
  • The image will only appear once in the news feed of your Fans (when it is uploaded)
  • You can change your special offers anytime you like depending on what you want to promote, seasonality of your offerings etc.
  • The images change place so it doesn’t look the same if a Fan visits often
  • You can put text in the description field and include a hyperlink to your landing page
  • You can cross promote other Facebook Pages

Facebook scales down any image for the photo strip to 97 x 68 pixels which of course looks very small in the lightbox. So make sure you upload larger images but keep the ratio 1.43 to 1. So make it 970 x 680 pixels for example.

What do you think about this idea? If you decide to use it then please place a link to your Facebook Page and tell us how it is working for your Facebook Page.

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Increased my Facebook Fans by 400% in one Week

facebook-like-buttonIntroduction

We see so many Facebook Pages with less than 100 Fans, infrequent Status Updates and very few ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. It is a sure sign that the business owner have given up on one of the most important marketing tool ever. This post will tell you how to get thousands of Fans, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’.

Goals For This Post

  • Tell you the importance of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’
  • Tell you how you get more Fans, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’

So all your business associates are telling you about how great Social Media Marketing is and how their Facebook Page is driving so much traffic to their website. So you finally take some time to set up your Facebook Page and make a few ‘exciting’ Status Updates. After you have set it up you tell all your friends, clients and business associates to go and ‘like’ it and you quickly get ‘lots’ of ‘likes’ and you are excited about this new opportunity to increase sales. After a little while you realise that you are only getting a few new Fans every week and nobody is ‘liking’ or ‘commenting’ on your Status Updates. Even worse the phone is not ringing off the hook and unique visitors to your website has gone nowhere. You keep making new Status Updates but nothing happens so you give up.

When you set up your Facebook Page you only implemented one very important tool of Social Media Marketing. But it is not the tool which gets you clients – it is how you use it.

Facebook Pages are great because they

  • Offer a new way to reach a larger audience by creating Brand Ambassadors
  • Improve client listening, engagement and interactions
  • Opens up a new way to gather market insights
  • Opens new avenues to survey, test and research products and services

As a means to reach a larger audience the purpose of your Facebook Page is twofold

  • To get as many first time visitors to ‘like’ your Facebook Page
  • To get as many ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your Status Updates

First time visitors: the sole purpose of your Facebook Page for Facebook users is to get them to ‘like’ it and become a Fan. Why? Because once they ‘like’ it you know that your Status Updates show up in the news feed on the Fan’s Facebook Profile. Most of the time you only have One Change to get a visitor to ‘like’ your Facebook Page which is the first time a person visits it. When they have visited your Facebook Page once and decided not to ‘like’ it they are highly unlikely to ever visit it again and you will not be able to engage them by having your Status Updates show up in their news feed. That opportunity is lost forever.

‘Fans’: the sole purpose of your Facebook Page is to engage them so you can interact with them and turn them into clients and/or Brand Ambassadors. Your Facebook Page is not the place to sell your products and services.

Brand Ambassadors are Fans who like your brand and will tell their Friends about it on their Facebook Profile. They do that by sharing your Status Update on their Facebook Profile which will then show up in the news feed of their Friends. Every Facebook user has on average 135 Friends they can promote your brand to. So if just one Fan shared your Status Update with their Friends he was effectively promoting your Facebook Page to 135 potential clients and/or Brand Ambassadors which would create more first time visitors you could convert into Fans. This is a very effective form of viral marketing. If those Fans shared your Status Update with their Friends your Status update would be posted to 18,361 news feeds. Of course it is not that easy as only a few Fans will share your Status Updates a even fewer will share it again.

76% of people think that advertisers lie and the most trusted type of adverting is recommendations from friends and other people’s opinion online. Friends trust friends. Therein lies the power of Facebook Pages.

When your Status Update shows up in the news feed of one of your Fans 5 things can happen

  • They ‘like’ it
  • They ‘comment’ on it
  • They ‘share’ it
  • They ‘hide’ that particular Status Update, hide all of your existing or future Status Updates or they ‘unlike’ your Facebook Page
  • They ignore it

‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ Why are ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your Status Updates so important? ‘Likes’ and ‘comments’ are important because the number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your Status Update will show up underneath your Status Update in the news feed of all your Fans.

facebook page-like-comments

Above you can see a Status Update from Social Media Examiner from my news feed on my Facebook Profile. You can see that 17 Fans have ‘liked’ the Status Update and 7 Fans have made a ‘comment’ on the Status Update. It was 11 and 6 respectively one hour ago. That is a 55% increase in ‘likes’ in one hour. Not bad!!! What does that mean to a Fan who has not yet read your Status Update?

‘Likes’ tells other Fans that the Status Update was interesting enough to give it a thumbs-up by clicking the ‘like’ button.

‘Comments’ tells other Fans how many found the Status Update interesting enough to voice their opinion.

The more ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ your Status Update has the more likely it is that another Fan will go to your Facebook Page and read your Status Update and perhaps click ‘like’ and/or make a ‘comment’ resulting in an increasing number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your Status Update in other Fan’s news feed. This is going to increase the attention of other Fans who have not yet seen your Status Update and they will be more likely to read it.

However, if your Fan thinks that your Status Update is not interesting, irrelevant or you only provide low quality content then they will eventually ‘hide’ your Status Updates or ‘unlike’ your Facebook Page and you have lost them forever.

Interestingly the way to get the most ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on your Status Updates is the same for both first time visitors and Fans. This is assuming you do not have a Gateway on your Facebook Page. Please do let me know if you want to know what a Gateway is and how it works.

Quality is king and the number one way to get more first time visitors to ‘like’ your Facebook Page and to get Fans to ‘like’ and/or ‘comment’ on your Facebook Page is to provide Quality content.

Quality content ensures that the Fan got value out of spending time reading your Status Updates and it helps enormously in building a Brand that Fans pay attention to and want to tell their friends about. The number of ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ you get on your Facebook Page is closely correlated to the quality and content of your Status Updates. Ignore this at your peril. Do you know how to create high quality content?

Social Media Marketing is a two-way street as it creates interaction with potential clients and/or Brand Ambassadors. That sets it apart from most other marketing tools which do not create interaction. Once somebody makes a ‘comment’ it becomes your opportunity to not only engage and interact with that particular Fan but also to provide further information about your Brand, your values and for the Fan to get to know the people behind the Brand. Creating interaction with potential clients and/or Brand Ambassadors i.e. Fans is perhaps the most important step in Social Media Marketing.

84% of Facebook users use Facebook daily. However, not every Facebook user use their Facebook at the same time and some days Facebook users use it more than others.

Facebook users receive many Status Updates every day so Status Updates will only stay in the news feed for a very short period of time. It is therefore imperative to know at what time and on which day to post your Status Updates to increase the probability of your Status Updates being read. Do you know when and on what day to post your Status Updates?

Conclusion

Quality is king. Plain and simple. If your Status Updates contains quality content it will be ‘shared, ‘liked’ and you will get ‘comments’ which can eventually lead to increased sales.

I am about to finish my next post about have to create headlines and how they get you thousands of Fans, ‘likes’ and ‘comments’. ‘Like’ my Facebook Page if you want to make sure you get my next post and other posts which will help making your business more successful.

Take a look at all your Friends’ Facebook Pages and share this post with the ones you think could benefit from this post.

Your turn!!. Tell me about your experience when you first created your Facebook Page. How many Fans did you get in a month? What is your most successful way of getting more Fans,  ‘likes’ and ‘comments’?

Posted in Facebook, Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Caffeine and Freshness – a Must Read

I know this is a bit technical but it is well worth reading since this will make you appreciate why it is so important to have a Social Media Strategy to grow your business.

Caffeine

On 6 August 2010 Google announced that they had completed a new web indexing system called Caffeine. Caffeine will provide 50 percent fresher results for web searches than their last index system. Whatever you are searching for you can now find links to relevant content much sooner after it is published than was possible ever before.

Stay with me. This will get fresher quickly.

When you search Google you search an index like the index in a book. However, Google’s search index system was not meeting searcher’s expectations to find the newest and relevant information. So Google built Caffeine. What is different between the old and new index system?

The old system was comprised of several index layers that was not updated at the same rate. Even the main layer would only update every couple of weeks. To update the layer Google would analyse the entire web. With around 172 million active websites in the world this was no small task and would result in significant delays for newly created pages.

With Caffeine, the web is analysed and the search index is updated on a continuous basis. New pages and new information on existing pages is added continuously. It is really working. One of my posts was found on Google within minutes after it was published.

Freshness

On 3 November 2011 Google announced Freshness.

Building upon the momentum from Caffeine Google announced significant improvements to their ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more current relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.

  • Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately. You will now see more high quality pages (perhaps even minutes old) when you search for current events like or for the latest news.


  • Regularly recurring events. Some events are regularly recurring events. When you search for these events now it is assumed that you are searching for the most recent event and you will see the latest information.
  • Frequent updates. A lot of products changes all the time. For example if you search for ‘best HDTV’ you want the most up to date information. There are other cases where results that are a few years old might still be useful for you. Freshness has improved the search algorithm to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.

If you made it to the end then please share this post with your business associates, make a comment or ask a question.

Conclusion

Google keeps improving their search engine to provide searchers with more relevant and current information. Static websites become less and less relevant to searches and will rank lower and lower in Google.

So if you have a static website and you are not providing fresh content to your potential customers you will not improve the number of visitors to your website through Google search engines. If you want more visitors to your website then now is the time for you to implement a Social Media Strategy which can help you improve your changes of becoming relevant to searches. If you do no have a social media strategy then you will be left behind.

Please contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how we can help you create a profitable social media strategy.

Posted in Growing your business, Latest news, Social media | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Adwords Case Study – Cost Reduction – 47% Savings

Background

This was an unusual assignment. The French client imposed some interesting restrictions on us.

  • We could not change the keywords they were using
  • We could not add any negative keywords
  • We could not change the account structure – no new campaigns for instance
  • We could not (initially) edit any ads

In fact there was very little freedom for manoeuvre.

We could not start up Display Network advertising either which is a good way of getting low cost traffic (although it does not usually convert as well as Google Search traffic). See more on Display Network here.

The Challenge

The challenge we were set was to reduce their cost per click whilst maintaining existing traffic levels within +/- 10%. Success or failure was judged by comparison with the same period the previous year.

Our fees were based entirely on what we could save my client – under this quite restrictive scenario!

The Results

Period

 Clicks

CTR

CPC

Cost

March 2010

 1,860

 7.55%

  €1.85

 €3,449.21

March 2011

 1,845

 5.69%

  €1.19

 €2,203.92

% or Change

99.19%

-1.86%

 -€0.66

-€1,245.29

So we saved our client about 35% in March, or in this case €1,245.29.

Period

 Clicks

CTR

CPC

Cost

April 2010

 1,497

 8.17%

  €1.69

 €2,528.95

April 2011

 1,510

5.88%

  €1.11

 €1,682.05

% or Change

100.86%

-2.29%

 -€0.58

-€846.90

In April we did not save them so much – just €846.90 – they spent a lot less in that period last year than the previous month. The total saving in percentage terms was 33.4%

Period

 Clicks

CTR

CPC

Cost

May 2010

 1,854

 7.49%

  €1.65

 €3,065.34

May 2011

 1,876

 6.22%

  €0.84

 €1,573.38

% or Change

101.18%

-1.27%

 -€0.81

-€1,491.96

In May things got more interesting as we started to exploit the additional data we were gathering. We saved them -€1,491.96. In percentage terms it is 48.6%.

All without adding (or taking away or pausing) any keywords to the account.

After a couple of months we got the following email from our client

Google called on Friday to discuss why my payments have decreased so dramatically.

After a couple of months the client had confidence in us and were allowed to change and make new ads which lead to further month over month savings.

Below you can see how the average savings for a 12 months period came out at47.20%.

Of course, once the assignment ended the client continues to enjoy the savings.

Here is what the client emailed a potential clent

It’s with great pleasure that I recommend The Catalyst Partnership’s work. They are efficient, timely and has brilliant ideas as how to streamline our Google Ads campaigns.

The results were visible from the start and the financial results of the first month were outstanding. And it is even getting better now (we are nearly half way in the second month of our collaboration now).

Conclusion

It is almost certain that we can save you a great deal of money on your Adwords. We only work with clients were we can make substantial improvements. Sometimes even on a no cure no pay basis as we did with this client.

Please contact us if you are interested in knowing how we can improve your Adwords significantly. It might even cost you nothing.


Posted in Google Adwords, Growing your business | Tagged | 1 Comment