Internet Marketing – The Dark Art of Social Media?

Social Media

Social media was never intended for business use; as the name clearly suggests the intention was to allow people to interact on a social level. The main social media sites, Facebook and Twitter, are increasingly used by businesses for promotion and customer outreach. YouTube and Google+ have been hijacked too as platforms for self-promotion and advertising. Some brands and businesses have been quicker than others to cotton to the idea of social media as business development. Whilst is has not always been clear how this area of marketing translates into revenue it is clear that getting it right is good for your business. Increasingly it seems that everyone is doing it and no one can afford to be left behind the times – businesses are now investing heavily in social platforms that may previously have been firewalled or banned from usage in work time. The landscape of business has definitely moved to the playing field. Not all companies get it right and there is an unspoken code that aggressive sales techniques in community forums will not go down well. The idea is not to advertise but to provide great content and promote conversations within your customer base.

Likes

There are many competitions out there that require you to ‘like’ a product or service on Facebook for you to have a chance of winning. People and businesses rate themselves with the amount of positive feedback, likes or good reviews they receive we all want them. Social metrics such as ‘likes’ and ‘tweets’ have a positive effect on Search Engine rankings for brands and businesses as Google believes if lots of people ‘like’ something and are engaged with it, then it deserves a better position in the search results than a business or brand which doesn’t.

If you are a small to medium business struggling to get your name out there, then a Facebook page with interesting and engaging content could be a really smart way to promote your business and broaden your outreach. Social media is often a long term play however and it can be difficult to grow your fan base quickly. One solution to this problem, is to purchase Facebook likes and twitter followers . Whilst it seems hard to imagine that such unscrupulous tactics can be used – this practice is certainly adopted by small brands and businesses. It’s a fairly new concept but there are a few services already in existence selling these social products. Search for ‘Buy Facebook Likes’ you can specify the origin of your likes, and the amount you want over a period of time. Be warned, this tactic is a short cut and there’s only ever any true value in a social outreach base that is genuinely engaged with your brand. These ‘empty’ followers may make you look good, but they won’t earn you any money.

Get Rich Quick

We all would love to get rich quick, but it if looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Hard work and determination is what gets results. The internet is rife with scams and con artists selling you manuals or e-magazines telling you how to make thousands of pounds out of your PC in a matter of weeks. This kind of marketing will target housebound people; stay at home mums, retirees and students. Once you have sent your money off, received your poorly constructed manual, you will realize you have been scammed. Even with a money back refund guarantee, the scammers know that most people won’t bother and will just want to put the whole thing behind them. It’s a get rich quick scheme that works one way.

Spam

Not the tinned meat of the 70s but a rather annoying modern day plight receiving email you haven’t requested. It’s the junk mail of the internet world. Some spam is illegal due to the sheer volume of spam sent and received on a daily basis it would be impossible to prosecute the illegal ones. It’s worth the risk for the spammers. As the World Wide Web is global, different laws apply to different countries within the internet, so for now it’s a losing battle. Spam is spreading to social media sites too; unknown users with nil followers and followings are posting on your sites and telling you how they can help you get rich quick. Like in the real world, you know who your friends are, ignore these door to door salesmen.

Amy Catlow is the Senior SEO Manager for http://www.expertmarket.co.uk , a B2B lead generation website specializing in business products and services.

Yelp Reviews-Quality, Not Quantity

I was talking with a client lately about Yelp reviews. We were discussing why one of the reviews that did not pass muster with Yelp. It made me think about how many other small business owners were maybe not using Yelp properly. So, in this post I want to discuss a few tips. First, however, take a look at a short video done by Yelp that explains in their own words how they deem reviews to be quality.

Yelp Reviews

Yelp Reviews Explained

So, what exactly are good reviews on Yelp? Well that is something only the Yelp team can full explain (which they will not). Here is my interpretation of an interpretation of a wild guess that is based on educated facts and experience. Huh? What does that mean? What I tell you is valid, and may change at any time. (Ma always said I should have become a lawyer!)

1. Yelp reviewers must have an account. Yelp actually positions themselves as a valid site, because anyone who reviews the site must have a name and therefore be a real person. Yelp is constantly fighting to remove fraudulent accounts.

2.Are you established on Yelp. While that definition is part of the ethereal mysteries of the universe, what it means is that you are sufficiently qualified to list reviews on Yelp. This also means that someone who gets a review from an established Yelper means more than from a newbie on the site with no reviews. Think of this similar to Google saying backlinks from PR 10 sites are worth more than PR 2 sites. There is a value in everybody’s review.

3. Yelp discourages business owners from actually asking for reviews. Part of the way that Yelp looks to encourage honest reviews is to remove the business owner. The old, “hey, can you give me a positive review on Yelp” discussion is waylaid. This stops the fake 25 reviews from clients coming in saying that Bobo’s Bottleneck Plant was awesome campaign is no longer in effect.

With Bobo’s campaign gone then how do you actually get reviews. Well, one technique is to just keep talking about Yelp the entire time. While you are not supposed to ask about reviews on Yelp, there is nothing wrong with subliminal messages about the greatness of Yelp in your business and for other businesses around you. This goes double if the client found you off Yelp.

Finally, provide quality service and have your Yelp profile on your business card, so when you ask people if they could refer you they also see your Yelp profile page as well.

In the end, Yelp reviews are a bit of an art to get correctly. Use this art long enough and you will profit from this art tremendously.

The Art Of The Squeeze Page

The squeeze page is to email marketing what WordPress is to blogging. The center of activity in an exciting mix of entertainment and great content geared at driving quality subscribers to your business. As usual, I have been playing around with my favorite guinea pig. That would be me!

The squeeze page for those of you unaware of the term is used to describe one page websites geared at getting people to sign up for your email list. It is the beginning of your internet marketing sales funnel when you consider that it will be the place that converts readers into subscribers and eventually clients.

Deciding how everything should look through a myriad of different options is very important. For those readers who visit this site regularly I am getting closer everyday to how I want my squeeze page to look and want to share that look with you today.

Please keep in mind that there will be some elements that are in the midst of change. The reason I am sharing this with you now, is that I feel it is sometimes best to share the information not just when I have succeeded, but also when I am in the process of creation. It keeps my thoughts more in line with what you need as you go through similar processes.

Elements Of A Great Squeeze Page

First, I wanted the graphics to be eye-catching! That is why you are probably noticing an outlined blindfolded man throwing a dart. Does that catch your attention? If not, why? Is it on too many other social networking blogs? Please let me know?

social networking training squeeze page pic

Second, I wanted to have an introduction video that is as interesting as the graphic. Which is exactly why I decided that it was high time that I blindfolded myself  to prove a point about what my information can do for clients. While I am not 100% happy with the video as of yet, it is definitely presentable and drives home the point of what I am doing.

It is also another exciting reason to sign up for my list.

Third, I want a call to action. Something that either uses a sign up form like the one at the top of most blog pages or the one that I use on the squeeze page itself. For an example of my squeeze page sign up form go to the link below.

Social Networking Training Series (Click To See Squeeze Page In Action)

Without some way of actually asking people to use your services they more than likely will not. Not out of spite or disdain for your products, but solely because they do not know how to begin. That is why laying a clear path is vital. With the link that I left above I also included a brief instruction to click on the link, so you can actually see what my squeeze page looks like.

Fourth, make sure that there is information at the end of your squeeze page sign up. Having a compelling offer is huge in getting people to actually sign up for your information. One of the changes that I will be making on my video is to make that clearer by letting people understand that this information is to provide extra strategies that you might not get on the blog itself. See: guinea pig always changing to show you a little bit more about how this “social networking thing” works!

The Future Art of the Squeeze Page

In the next few weeks we are going to have a few products to help you create the videos you need to get started with your squeeze page along with the graphics. It might even be discounted (I say with a “wink”, “wink”, “nudge”, nudge” look) for those who sign up for the free social networking training series compelling you to claw your way onto my squeeze page.

Email Auto Responder Series

I have been working on my email auto-responder series and I thought I would share a few tips to help you get yours up and running. Therefore, in this email auto responder series I am going to review some of my tips for creating a solid series that will entice your new-found audience.

Email Auto Responder Series Top Tips

email auto responder seriesFirst, use an email management system to help you. I use Aweber(Note: I am an affiliate and also a client) for all of my email management system needs. It is great for integrating with payment systems, such as Paypal and also for automating your email marketing. Take a look also at how to integrate Aweber with your WordPress blog.

Second, think ahead with your email auto responder series. I just created a series of roughly 15 different emails that will be disseminated to new readers throughout the next two months. There is enough information to be extremely valuable and also a few offers, so I can help those who need some additional assistance with my services.

It also gives me some time to actually write some more emails and expand out the series without being pressed for time. I now have 60 days before my last email ends. Plenty of time to stretch that out and write another 5-10 emails that will deliver an extra punch for my readers.

Why is this important? Very simple! The more information you can provide your readers with that just wows them and helps them the more benefit they will see in your services. Additionally, by writing these all out now, I never have to write it out again. After those 90 days of emails they will also be getting a monthly special from me, along with my weekly blog posts summary.

Basically do the work once and reap the benefit of this work for years to come.

Third, I like a series. I have a lot of information to share. It is too much to be shared in one email, which is why breaking it up into feasible parts can really help your readers learn even more. Plus, it means that they have to stay engaged for a longer period of time, which means that they will be more invested in the education.

Altogether, this is a great way to start engaging your subscribers and start funneling them into the buying process. Tomorrow, I want to a little more about how to get people into the email auto responder series with squeeze pages.

Social Networking Relationships

I have not discussed social networking relationships in depth for a long time, so I thought today would be a great time to delve in with the holiday season finally upon us with Black Friday!

When we talk about social networking relationships to clarify first is the ability to connect with others not just for business, but also to enhance a personal relationship. So often when people want to build their business through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn they forget that the best clients they will find are the ones you create a solid relationship with.

That means that you need to actually communicate with people in your network. One of the best ways to do this is through either email, phone, or shocker face to face meetings.

One of the best things that I did this year, and I need to do again sometime in the future when I have time was to have a virtual assistant go through my Facebook friends and send out 500 personalized Facebook messages to my current connections asking them to talk via phone or in some cases meet face to face.

These meetings have proven invaluable as I have met a number of clients and partners through this process. That is actually the beauty of social networking. The more you connect with people online, provides the greater number of chances to actually speak with them and go offline with your conversation.

Another thing is to simply listen to what your prospects and clients are talking about online. It is amazing what the power of listening can do in a relationship. It can help you to guide someone correctly. It can also lead to an amazing array of benefits, such as people actually liking you and wanting to use your services again and again. Now, I am not saying that I am perfect at listening, but some of my best successes have come when I actually heard and understood what a client wanted. social networking training

The final thing I want to talk about is giving. In social networking, relationships are built based upon a give and take environment. Do your best to not only take, but to also give. That was a large part of the reason why I decided to create my blog. It was a way for me to share my knowledge with my network. The blog has grown since then, but the core mission has remained the same.

That is also one of the reasons why I set up the free social networking training series for client “Stop Throwing Darts Blindly For Business Online.”

However, you build your social networking relationships the main thing is to actually build the relationships. Look to make meaningful connections that enhance your brand and your business, but also enrich your life as well. After all, what is the point in owning your own company if you can not choose who you want to work with regularly.