The Coming War

Join-or-die

 

 

I have always liked Alan Jackson, even before I really liked country music.  When he sang “Where Were You?” live for the first time following the attacks of September 11, 2001, I was really moved!  I went back and did some looking into much of his earlier work. I found “The Little Man” on his 1998 album, “High Mileage.” It is a song about the struggles of small hometown businesses against corporations. It tells of those “big box stores” that put the hometown grocery, hardware and retailers out of business.

This is about to happen again!  Only this time it is not the big box stores!  It is the businesses and organization that have figured out how to connect to the next generation though social media.

Even my soon to be 76 year old father knows how to use the internet, Facebook and a smartphone.  His “coupon loving” generation made Goupon a household term.  He knows how to Ebay and is even considering the creation of an E-Commerce store to continue to sell homemade jewelry, for which my mother was so well known locally. Many of his generation populate my Facebook page with posts! They are not tech illiterate! They may not be as savvy as the 20-somethings, but they know enough to find deals from the clever social media marketers.

In observing rival small town businesses, I see more and more often where one of them gets the Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare AKA Social Media component figured out before the other and quickly takes over a huge portion of the local business and almost all the business from out of town!  In one case, a local shop offered deals via social media where they still charged more than their competitor and eventually the competitor closed its doors. In a world where perception is reality, people thought they were getting a better deal and, despite generations of business loyalty, people moved to the business with the better grasp of social media.

I am not saying that if you don’t have social media in your marketing plan that you are going out of business.  I am saying that if you don’t have social media in your marketing plan you stand a much better chance of keeping or expanding your market share.  This has never been more vital than at this moment where Facebook is poised to offer Graph Search to everyone.  This new search engine will allow Facebook users to see which businesses are liked and frequented locally.  If you don’t have a business Facebook Page, you can’t be found.

It does not take a great deal of time or effort to make this work, if you are willing to take the time to learn.  We offer classes and seminars, as well as consulting services to help.  Feel free to email me for more details.

 

Facebook Graph Search Demographics

GraphSearch

 

 

Facebook Graph Search Demographics is going to change the way we find each other on the internet!

For the first time, a search engine will operate by true demographics!  Facebook’s has rolled out Graph Search in it’s beta format.  I was one of the lucky few that has access to this revolutionary game changing technology. This is a technology that you will have access to very soon!

When businesses want to market to potential buyers, they research and perform many activities to discover who their potential clients might be. The difficulty has always been how to reach your potential buyer without going broke! Radio, Television, Print and every other type of media has depended on a less than exact science that used polls, research, math, psychology and what I will just term as a little VOODOO to make what amounted to a best guess.  Don’t get me wrong, some people had developed a very precise science for accomplishing this!  But, the truth is that no one could predict every nuance or every product!

Graph Search uses the non-intimidated, non-threatening media of Facebook, where people post what they like, join and comment in groups in which they are interested, they “Like” things on Facebook and they even list interests. Unlike any other source available before, Facebook has the most complete picture of every member’s demographic profile. Anyone that understands the value of this demographic information realizes that this is what made Facebook so valuable.  Yes, that basic demographic information has been available to Facebook business advertisers for the cost of advertising, but it never identified more than the number of people in a defined demographic.

With the advent of Facebook Graph Search Demographics, I am able to see many things about the people that like my business, beyond how many of them there are!  I can see where they are located, what else they like and many other pieces of valuable information that might allow me to find a secondary method of reaching them or even discover what their friends like or a thing in which they have an interest. I can see that one client that offers a recreational service has a very large number of fans of their page that also like the band “Daughtry.” That opens the opportunities to partner, sponsor or advertise with that information.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization, as I have written before, depends on a math algorithm that scores every website by a number of varying criteria.  Not every web search engine scores information the same way.  To be honest with you, I don’t see SEO as a customer oriented solution. SEO rules change every few months and the cost of keeping up can cripple a business. Who ends up in slot one in a web search may have nothing to do with who is making the best product or the most popular.

Facebook Graph Search Demographics will finally allow the user to search for the hair salon that a friend uses and likes, the car dealer a coworker used to buy their car from and brag to you about and you might even find the REALTOR that handled your friend’s new home purchase that they rave about!  For the first time there will be a search method tied to relationships that you and your friends have created.  Even those looking for a job or hiring new employees can harness this power.  I predict that this will , within 3 years, be the biggest search tool that more people use than any other search method out there.

WebInfused has spent the last 3 years developing a strategy that uses this tool for all these!

We offer consulting and seminars to teach these strategies.  Feel free to email me for more details.

Surfing the Demographic Wave Without Getting Caught in the Undertow

Let’s start out with a simple question.  If you sold bicycle racing bike helmets, would you rather spend $1500 to buy a two day newspaper ad with a circulation of 300,000 or would you rather spend $250 to buy a Facebook Ad that is only sent to the 3200 people that list cycling as their interest, the 1200 people that list a local cycling venue in their interests and these are all within a 15 mile radius of your hometown location?

If you choose only the $1500, you better be buying the same page as the biggest local cycling event in your area or you are probably throwing cash into the wind.  If you choose only the $250 Facebook Ad, you are focusing in your demographic group, but just how saturated is the market?  You might want to make sure to expand your demographic group to a larger radius area or you might want to add interests that are more general.  “Make sure you see the forest for the trees.”

The best plan involves using each media format for the power of  its best leverage.  When do you run what where?  That differs with each business and marketing.  Radio, TV, Print, Social Media and Website based solutions need to be timed and coordinated, as I posted previously.  If someone is selling you a one size fits all solution, beware!  Look for someone that brings “Balance to the Force” (in my best Yoda voice).

There is nothing wrong with starting small with Social Media and growing into other areas!  Just remember to add in other media to balance out your plan as you grow.  Make sure that you take note of what works and what does not.  If something does not work, why?  Make each step a tweak and triumph rather than forget and fail!

Reaching the SEO and Social Media Mountain Peaks Together

A lack of planning can mean creating disastrous confusion.  It does take some planning and coordination to make sure that your SEO message, your Social Media message peak at the same time that any “other media” hits.

One of the worst disasters that I have observed is when an organization or a company creates a media blitz for an event or a marketing announcement and no one thought about making sure that the information would be searchable.

It is often a very fine line to walk between placing content on the web so that the search engines can find information and keeping the information as a secret so that you can get the jump on your competition.

With SEO changes always taking some time, the smart plan is to create the place where the content will reside and promote the announcement date with enough of the information to allow for an “edit” that can happen on the day of announcement.

Social Media can be put in place to drive traffic to the page, calendar software can also be edited to post greater detail.  Where the problem comes into place is the timing.  What I suggest is that the web page is created 60 days prior to the announcement date.  30 days prior to the announcement, alter the page with slightly more content to show an update. Repeat this every 7 days until 2 days prior to the announcement.  At 48 hours prior, show an hour by hour countdown until the announcement.  This is when you want to start to place promotion media placements in print, radio, television and other media.

I have to laugh when I see a website crashing prior to a big announcement, as long as it is fixed by the announcement time, it is probably really not a bad a thing and may be of benefit.  The free additional interest created by social media posts that the website is down, usually floods a site with extra traffic.  Although I have never personally done this, I know a few people that purposely break their site on purpose to capitalize on the added free traffic.

With TweetDeck and Facebook, you can schedule all your postings months ahead of time.  If you are blogging with WordPress, you can schedule new posts ahead of time as well.  These features are vital to controlling events like we are discussing. Everything you plan ahead of time can appear exactly at the right time with a message that has been checked and rechecked for accuracy and content.  Remember that nothing loses potential traffic worse than a having different messages appear in the wrong order and at the wrong time.  You really want everything to peak at the right time and in the right order.  Remember, SEO results require some planning and understanding of how to formulate and preposition the web address.  Many times, an idea for a campaign that is less than 60 days away is going to prove to be very difficult.  The only way to fix this is to throw money at the problem, which may be what you need.  But, if you plan things out and schedule what to say and when to say it, you can be every effective in everything peaking at the right time.

By the way, this post was written and pre-scheduled to post on Saturday to post to Facebook and Twitter shortly there after.

No Customer Pictures on your Facebook page?

I always teach one vital marketing truth to all my classes and clients. That truth is your next client is most likely to resemble your last client. Although this has always been true, it has never been more important to understand the ramifications in social media.  I encourage my clients and classes to photograph their clients with products to display products.

People love seeing people with products for many reasons.  The added warmth of the images adds credibility.  The scale and size of the product is more apparent.  Sometimes the product is shown being used and it can add a little education to how to wear, use or display something.

The most important reason to post pictures on Facebook is that you can tag your customers.  When you tag a product picture with a customer, it displays on their page and in their personal photos.  Any of their Facebook friends can see the picture and your description of the picture.  If you remember to tag and write at least a basic description of the event, such as “Bill Harris trying out his new Harley Davison from Smalltown Harley,” you flatter the customer and promote the product and the business.  By following this simple plan, you can be found by people the most closely resemble your last customer . . . their Facebook Friends!

If you take care of the customer, give them good customer service and provide them with a simple incentive of a perk, like gift certificate for dinner, a gas card or tickets to the movies as an additional bonus for referrals, your 85% of the way to closing your next deal.

Unique, When to Be or Not to Be

The truth is that unique content is where we all want to be. However, how do you create content that is unique, but still in the mainstream of relevancy just enough to be found?

Let me share some thoughts on this subject. I work with a great professional organization, The Battle Creek Area Association of REALTORS. If you know much about REALTORS, you know that they have been using internet technologies almost as long as the banks. They also seem to find a way to work as competitors, but cooperative competitors. You see it is a balance. All the members of the organization share data for listing between the members of the organization, as well as a number of local community located boards through their “Multiple Listing Service” or MLS. They agree to some standards of behavior and ethics and they set a consistent way to share data on homes for sale. While each listing is unique, each listing has it’s data arranged in a consistent with standardized terms and descriptions.

What they post is unique, but consistent! That consistent format allows people to enter a few search terms to find the kinds of property they are seeking in the places that they hope to find them.

It is too bad that other professional organizations can’t do the same. If even a few local groups would get together and set some basic standards for their “Buzzwords,” those buzzwords posted to social media would allow you and I to sort through the rhetoric to find what we are really seeking.

This is a primary part of what we do at WebInfused! By setting industry standards and then educating the public, we will move the internet closer to the next level in user friendliness. We will establish unique information with standardized descriptions and people will find you!

If you are interested in finding out how to set standards for your industry and teach the public how to use it, contact us. Feel free to email me for more details.

The Evolution of Search

I am concerned that many people are failing to see the maturing of the internet relating to search and find protocols. Last week, I told you that SEO “Search Engine Optimization” standards for Google had changed again with the devaluing of “key words” in search engine results.  What this means to you, is that Google awarded so many points to a website, by the key words that it chose to describe itself.  Previously, this was a very high scoring part of deciding which web listing appeared first.  This means that one of the most important ways to get found on the internet no longer works as well as it once did.  What was also adjusted is the scoring for the amount of traffic directed to your website by social media sources like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.

There is a coming storm to SEO. If you, like me follow Google Analytics, you probably are seeking a growing amount of traffic that is using “blocking software or browsers.”  Just this past week one of the sites I work with was hit by a browser from Seattle, WA that identified itself as “it is silly that I had to do this.” More often I am seeing browsers and software that blocks the browser, the location and many details about who is seeing what content on my websites.  If Google Analytics does capture the information, it becomes more difficult for Google to quantify the user and nearly impossible for you to create content to capture their interests.

This means that it is more important than ever to use social media to drive and entice traffic to your website.  Since Facebook announced that it was going public, my company has been working on a strategy in preparation of some changes that would be coming to Facebook. Those changes would be required to capitalize on what it is that makes Facebook extremely valuable; It’s demographic database of people, organizations and businesses.  When rumors in the industry began talking about Facebook creating their own search engine, we interpreted the rumors as fear of new competition Google, Yahoo, Bing and others.  However, we predicted that Facebook would have the unique ability to create the first interactive search experience.

Interactive? Yes, interactive.  With the introduction of Graph Search, now the user will be able to look for businesses, organizations, friends and interests of their friends.  It will also be possible for businesses to do more than just use the Facebook ads marketing demographic targeting methods that have been in use previously.  It is likely that businesses will be able to identify new clients, trade partners and even find new qualified employees with Graph Search.  Now, the businesses and the organizations will more clearly be able to identify and target their clients and find them also. It is no longer “everything is going to change.” It is everything has changed!

If people continue to spend money on trying to adjust the old methods of SEO, it is my opinion that it will be wasted over and over with every change and every adjustment that the search engines try to make to keep up with Facebook.  We have a strategy for businesses, organizations and individuals seeking expanded career opportunities.  We probably have a specific plan for your exact industry!  We have a proven plan to help college graduates and soon to be graduates and our returning military veterans to find employment.  If you are interested in finding out how to prepare for and to capitalize on the changes that are here and being enhanced every day, contact us.  Feel free to email me for more details.

The Value Social Media & SEO Strategy

For the last two years, I have been watching the internet grow out of it’s adolescence into adulthood.  The flashy gimmicks of programming and math of analytic algorithms have finally given way to what every previous media marketing method eventually discovers.  Marketing is all about creating a brand by knowing your market and your customer.  It takes research and understanding to build relationships.  The timing and content of your message needs to focused and planned.  The better your brand and support of your  brand, the more successful you will be.  We have even developed a strategy based on the knowledge that internet networking will grow into a personal, organizational and business BRAND driven force.  The Reality Social Media & SEO Strategy prepares for the future and provides excellent results.

Facebook’s introduction of Graph Search means the average Facebook user will be able to see everyone with which you have taken the time to develop a real relationship.  I have worked in Marketing and Technology since 1983, I was involved in the development of campaigns that included billboards, print, television, radio, internet and about every method that has come along.  The common cycle is that marketing often descends into the pit of the gimmick of the hour following someone’s new innovation.  The problem is that rarely, is the sequel as good as the blockbuster original!   More people jump on what now becomes a gimmick and what started as a poor imitation now becomes an outright joke.  Money, time and market share are all thrown into the wind to be blown away never to be recovered.  They diluted their brand for the fad of the moment and only succeeded in creating a mixed message.

A common solution with technology is that someone gets the bright idea that somehow the programming of a mathematics algorithm can discern the changing and evolving psychology and pallet of the customer.  Though these systems can see some success, eventually a user driven method will be pushed to the forefront and the math becomes more secondary.  There is a place for technology, but it will never replace the impact of a personal connection.

Why do people feel the internet is so impersonal? Maybe because the best way to locate people, businesses and organizations was a mathematics algorithm! Facebook’s Graph Search is a sign that the internet has entered adulthood.  Graph Search is a demographic search tool that Facebook reports will soon be available to every Facebook user.  By entering a series of search terms, you will be able to see someone from your own town, that is between the ages of 27 and 33, is single, likes to bicycle and more!  For business, I could look for a new barber with this new demographic tool. Since I like the way my friend’s hair is cut, I should be able to see who cuts his hair through Graph Search.

The good marketing model always returns to the basics that have always existed. Those are; know your market and your customer.  Research and understand both the market and the customer to build relationships.  The timing and content of your message needs to focused and planned.  It’s not Rocket Science or even Rocket Math!  Real branding will always be best created by using the tools of media to build, foster and grow relationships with a real plan!

If you would like to explore our strategy for harnessing Graph Search. It is a small part of WebInfused’s Reality Social Media & SEO Strategy.  Feel free to email me for more details.

You can follow the strategy and developments on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Reality-Social-Media-SEO-Strategy/295158240607072

Scalable Web Apps and Mobile Website Enhancements

Did you know that WebInfused.com is the most scalable option on the internet for business?

All of our solutions are modular!  They can be self-contained solutions or they can be linked together.  They can even be tied into you current website without you having to alter anything.  With our responsive design, a special programming  we can take you mobile one step at a time.

Responsive Design- Programming that uses data from the device to redesign the layout of a webpage or application automatically so that it looks good and works great on any device with a modern browser.

New Customer Interface APP coming

WebInfused.com is pleased to announce that we are in development and testing of a new Customer Interface APP.

The WebInfused.com Customer Interface APP will allow a customer to have the options to contact you, get more information, visit your website and even order, purchase and pay for an item online. This APP will be available in the first quarter of 2013.  The WebInfused.com Customer Interface APP will provide customers to have a rapid loading web interface. The interface contains options from which the user can to go to directly to purchase or to one of several points in the process. 

This APP will empower customers to move directly to the point in decision making that they require.  This eliminates the many online shoppers that get irritated by hard to navigate processes and bounce out of the site. The APP streamlines the customer experience even when overly complex E-commerce software and websites are required.