Would you like to learn the tactics of social media fromthe comfort of your home or office? If so, keep reading.
When Michael Stelzner started Social Media Examiner in October 2009, he never dreamed it would become so successful so quickly.
As of March 2011, Social Media Examiner has 59,000 email subscribers, 33,000 Facebook fans, over 60 writers and half a million page views per month.
In addition, the site has generated almost $2 million in sales; ranks among the top 12 websites on two Technorati lists – business and small business; and ranks among the top 1,500 websites in the entire United States, according to Alexa.
Imagine how much it would cost you to attend a week-long conference with 24 different experts in a faraway city. The conference fee, airfare, hotel room, rental car and restaurants would set you back several thousand dollars.
But you can attend an online conference with 24 different social media proslike Stelzner for a fraction of that cost at the upcoming third-annual social media conference, Social Media Success Summit 2011.
“LinkedIn and Facebook have gone through many changes just in the last two months,” Stelzner said.
All of these articles were published in the last two months.
Learn What Works in Social Media Marketing
“We have a whole new lineup this year,” Stelzner said. “And the major emphasis in this summit is monitoring and tracking your social media marketing results.”
Nearly all of the presenters have either authored a social media book or manage social media programs for well-known corporations.
You’ll hear from Boeing, Verizon, Intel, Citigroup and Cisco. Here’s a partial list of the 24 presenters:
Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group
Brian Solis, author of Engage
Mari Smith, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day
Frank Eliason, Citigroup
Mario Sundar, LinkedIn
David Meerman Scott, author of Real-Time Marketing and PR
And here’s a sample of what you’ll learn: Facebook news feed optimization, how big B2B brands are using social media, how to use LinkedIn to grow your business, how to attract local customers using Facebook Places and the 6-step process for measuring social media return on investment.
Already 2400+ have signed up , including General Mills, Microsoft, Honda, SAP, Tyco, 3M, Mayo Clinic, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Disney, Visa, Intuit, Warner Music Group, Party City, Yahoo!, Kraft Foods, Autodesk, ConAgra Foods, Teradata, Four Seasons Hotels, Carnegie Mellon University, Cardinal Health, Comcast and hundreds of small businesses!
High search engine rankings are a smart way to increase your qualified online leads, but achieving them can be tricky! Part art and part science, optimizing for search is a matter of knowing what terms your specific market segments use when they're searching for the information you provide, and matching the content you put online to those terms.
I know that if we've differentiated someone's business well, and they continue to be well connected to their customers' (and prospects') needs and interests, we'll also have a much easier time developing the unique content they need to rank highly in search. In some categories, however, there is so much great content already available -- sometimes millions of pages worth -- we all have to dig much deeper to develop fresh solutions, new angles, and innovative tools that others will want to share, or brainstorm other ways to get the top relevance scores that will put you at the top of Google and other search engines. Online leads will flow more easily from there.
If that sounds like the situation you're in, a terrific post in Search Engine Land today may give you some good food for thought (though of course you can also call us, too!). THe article highlighted several key components of helping customers find you in search results, including:
the current thinking on which factors are most important for helping you appear in search engines (courtesy of SEOmoz), and
7 ideas for helping you stand out in a crowded market.
And for more, practical, info here in the Raleigh area: You might also want to attend our Smarter Lead Generation training seminar on March 17 from 10-Noon at Team Nimbus in N. Raleigh. At just $25, this is likely to be the best investment you've made on your leads this year.
Read more about Smarter Lead Generation on our Eventbrite page. Though we'll focus a good deal on helping you succeed with paid search, know that the strategies we'll teach you for keyword selection and understanding your market apply just as well to increasing your online leads by achieving high search engine rankings on the organic side, too!
This is the first impression you make to many people. If someone you haven't yet met in person schedules a meeting with you at the local coffee shop, they are probably going to look you up online before the meeting. They want to find a little background info & they want to see your photo so they know who to look for. It needs to look like you!
You've seen them... the mug shot of someone standing against a wall, the profile pic where half the shot is missing, the (what are they trying to hide?) default image, the photo of someone in beachwear... these are not helping to create a professional image. Don't let it happen to you!
A picture is worth a thousand words. With social media being such an important part of doing business today, your business portrait is working overtime. A photo is necessary for your online profiles (LinkedIn, inSide919, Facebook, Twitter), your website, press releases, blogs, brochures, and more...
Make sure your business portrait is in line with the image you want to project. Take your marketing plan and branding into consideration when deciding what type of business portrait is best for you.
When you want to create action, the right words, in the right place, are ultra important.
Here's some interesting information excerpted from a sharp post on Copyblogger written by Paras Chopra, creator of Visual Website Optimizer (a handy dandy tool that makes online copy testing a snap). Not surprisingly, these are the same guidelines, in almost every instance, that are tried and true for direct response marketing too...
"The right question is: What should I test first?
You have to prioritize the most influential aspects of a landing page, the elements that tend to produce the biggest changes.
I am the founder of a split testing product called Visual Website Optimizer with thousands of users, which gave me the privilege of observing thousands of split tests and their results from a front-row seat.
That experience showed me some of the key elements (in order of importance) that you should test on your landing page:
Headline (if you can test only one thing on your page, test your headline first)
Call to action (should you have Buy Now or Add to Cart … or offer a free trial instead?)
The product’s positioning
Highlighting different benefits and features
Length of copy (surprisingly, sometimes removing information on a page increases conversions)
If you have visited LinkedIn today you may have noticed a new feature - Signal.
Signal allows you to see what your LinkedIn contacts are tweeting about, follow trends, search industry topics & then see how they relate to your LinkedIn network. Here's an overview of how it works:
As you can see this is a pretty powerful research tool. In order to take full advantage of it, make sure you include your Twitter id on your LinkedIn profile so your network can follow you. What will you search for? Visit your LinkedIn page & check it out!
Small businesses often approach planning with the attitude that they're in business to sell product or service "X," but a more successful starting point is usually to consider how they can best create profitable customer relationships and tailor their business solutions from there.
This coming Tuesday (Jan 18th), during a talk to the Raleigh Entrepreneurs group, I'll share 3 essentials to creating an effective, integrated, customer experience, and we'll have fun discussing ways to be creative in how you might integrate your efforts and engage customers. In the meantime, try putting some planning time into some of the fundamental questions we explore with clients; answering them can help you gather the customer insights you need to design a win-win customer experience.
Think about your company's best customers and/or most ardent referrers, and go deep in exploring these questions:
how and where did they find you (or how and where did you find them)?
what were they looking for, and how did they describe it?
what was their situation, and how did they describe it?
what factors converted them from lead into customer?
how would you describe the type of relationship you have?
what sort of relationships does it appear they have with other businesses akin to yours?
through what channels are you interacting with them?
through what channels are they interacting with others?
is it reasonable to think you could find more of them?
what sorts of "groups" do they fall into that can be identified, addressed and reached?
This will give you a good start as you begin to design an effective, integrated customer experience that will win more of your best prospects, encourage and facilitate more "evangelists" for your business, and improved profits for your business. Hope to see you Tuesday!
In case you missed the announcement, Joomla! 1.6 was released late Monday night. Hooray! Celebrations are being planned across the globe. Much of it has been rebuilt from the ground up and there are several noteworthy features added. It has been streamlined for better work-flow, categories have been restructured, modules can now be published with start & end times, and SEO has been improved. Highlights are in the graphic at the end of this post and you can read more about the incredible new Joomla! 1.6 at http://www.joomla.org/16/
You may be asking "What does this mean for my site?" Here are my recommendations:
If you are preparing to build a new site start with Joomla! 1.6. This will save you the trouble of migrating later. There is no legacy mode (support for older version components), but they have made it easy for developers to upgrade their existing components. With the new ACL structure and new plugin format developers will be able to build, update, and deploy extensions faster. There are 108 Joomla! 1.6 native extensions available in the Joomla! Extensions Directory so far, and plenty more already underway.
If you currently have a Joomla! 1.5 site keep what you have for now unless your site is very basic or a major site overhaul is already planned. Joomla! 1.5 is still supported and if you have multiple extensions you may want to wait until they are released for 1.6 before migrating. Just keep up with security updates for the core and extensions in the meantime. If your site is very basic and your server meets the requirements, by all means go ahead and migrate. Your template will need a few code changes if there is not already a 1.6 version available. If you are planning a site rebuild anyway you might as well start out with everything shiny and new Joomla! 1.6 has to offer.
If you currently have a Joomla! 1.0 site what are you waiting for? Joomla 1.0 has not been supported since August 2009 and your site is at risk. RUN (don't walk) to connect with a Joomla professional who can help you build a new site! Server upgrade compatibility and security issues abound and updating your site is an urgent matter.
Here are the top ten improvements found in Joomla! 1.6 -
If you currently use a CMS (content management system) other than Joomla! no hard feelings, but you may want to take a second look before updatng your site. Also check out the very supportive and wonderful Joomla! community on the forums and at Joomla! People to add icing to the cake.
And if your company site is one your nephew built 3 years ago using html or a site builder you need better representation, we need to talk.
In part 2 of the Strategic Plan interview with Apex NC-based business coach Mike Sink of AdviCoach, Mike shares the importance of breaking down your goals into manageable, actionable, initiatives. If you sometimes get to Friday and realize you haven't actually worked ON your business, but only IN it, then you know why it's a good idea. View the Part 2 video on YouTube.
It may seem like a lot of work, but it needn't take you weeks or even days to lay out a plan. Here's the sneak peek for those in a hurry:
Spell out your core values and beliefs (good to remind you that it's the actions you take daily, not what you say you believe, that matters)
What is your long-term purpose for the business? Sell? Retirement plan? Legacy? Something else?
What do you need to do to lay the foundations for achieving it? Of course you'll need to be flexible (who knows what business will be like in 5 years!), but it is valuable to have a general sense of what ocean you want to swim in.
Get down to quarterly initiatives, and then give yourself 5-6 (at most) weekly actions.
My sense of a key value that this process offers: to help remind you, as you wear the "President of your company" (or career) hat, that your Board of Directors (a.k.a., you in 10 years, plus your family, and possibly your employees depending on how you feel about them) has charged you with a serious and important task. Achieving your long-term purpose. Now go get 'em!
Thanks Mike, for your valuable reminders! Visit Mike online at AdviCoach.com/MSink or call him directly at 919-303-0120.
ClickZ has a summary of retailers' Black Friday activity on twitter, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/news/1928843/retailers-bestbuy-walmart-twitter-black-friday for those who are interested... and it is revealing. Mostly the tweets were outgoing, "sale-sale-sale" info. Some of that activity is OK of course; deal-mining is a high-value purpose for the internet right now (comparison shopping is big, and people are increasingly going beyond known brands for their purchases -- a trend which continues to be super for small businesses who get to be on a more level playing field with the big guys). While I found the results a little disappointing in the big picture, because it shows how far big marketers still have to go, I was happy to see that there is still a huge and exciting opportunity for nimble small businesses to make an impact.
What is that opportunity? For businesses who engage in social media (that's not the same as "use" social media, you know; be careful), it's to fully own and leverage the "like" factor. The "like" factor has been critical to purchase decisions for both individuals and businesses for generations, and it shows no signs of slowing down. All things being equal (and sometimes even not-quite-so-equal), people are still more likely to do business with someone they like than with someone they can't quite connect with. We usually like those who express shared values, project a caring and helpful attitude, exhibit a personality that's sympatico with your own... all things that can (and should) come across in your business persona -- a.k.a. brand -- and that are absolutely ESSENTIAL in your social media participation.
Social media is, after all, a forum for conversation between humans, and the more you create human-to-human contact, the greater your ability to create "liking." Of course for most businesses it's unlikely that you'd be able to have a dialog with each and every prospect, customer or potential partner you have, but that's part of the beauty of our online communities: you have the potential to be overheard by hundreds, thousands, or even millions, as if you and Susie Customer were standing at the checkout and all those people were eavesdropping on your friendly, helpful, interesting and eminently human interaction. Just imagine... how can you make your web presence deliver more of that? It's worth it to figure that out, because those companies that treat social media and the interactive space simply as a way to hang electronic door hangers on our interactive houses will have to keep spending more on advertising to try to overcome the junk that gets thrown out.