Game Changer: Google Plus Changes Search And Social Media Marketing

On Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, Google made the biggest change to their search algorithm ever.  They have integrated their 60 million (and growing) user strong social media network into their results.

Above, I searched the term “Internet Marketing”.  If I was going to pay for this keyword on Google I’d probably pay $100 a click.

This result shows Facebook expert Mari Smith as the number one result on the far right.  This is the coveted paid real estate.

You can also see that I was not even signed into Google Plus.  Which means they are not just showing me things in my social network.  They are deeming her important because of what she has done on Google Plus overall.

What It Means

The game has changed.  The reason Mari is now number 1 for a highly competitive search term is because she earned it.  The days of gaming Google for rankings are over.

Mari is number 1 there because she creates content about that topic and has close to fifty thousand people who have her in their circles.  If you’re not up on your Google Plus terminology yet, that is the same as a Like on Facebook.  And those likes and circles, that’s just good old fashioned list building.

Google Plus has decided she is a top influencer in Internet Marketing based on what she has created on their social network.  Social media has dictated who appears on top of the search result page, put her picture up and gave her primo real estate.

Told Ya So

I hate to say it, but I’ve been shouting this for a long time now.  I’ve been telling everyone who will listen that content and social media are going to be the key to search.  And today we wake to validation and proof of that fact.  It is no longer a theory.

Like Aragorn said to Frodo; “You can no longer wait for the wizard.  They are coming…”.  Businesses can no longer wait to get into social media.  Your competition is coming and they’re about to eat your lunch.

Search Results
Made To Order

In the picture below I am now logged in to Google Plus.  And you can see the results are similar but now personalized to me.  I am actually the number one organic result for Social Media.  But, I may be the only person who sees this result this way because they’re giving me results from my own life.

 

The Lords Of Content
Will Prosper

What does this mean? Simple, content and connection is king!

These results may not yet be seen by everyone the same way as Google rolls out this massive change.  And things may change as advertisers very likely shout about their lost real estate.  Or as Google itself decides to make tweaks.

But one thing is for sure, the handwriting is on the wall that people who create valuable content and draw an audience will win.  And win big.

Google will now show you not only influencers that have big Google Plus followings but also people you may already be connected to.  If someone who is connected to someone you know talks about what you’re looking for, it may bring that back to you as a personalized search result.

What Should
Businesses Be Doing?

Create high value content and connect and share it with people in Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media channel important to you.

Make sure your profile is optimized.  Look at Mari’s profile page below.  Notice how choc-full of keywords it is.

She’s got pictures and links to her other social profiles.  Optimize yours like she does hers.

Internet Marketers
Are Freaking Out

In the not so old days, as in up until Tuesday, you could use black hat SEO trickery to fool Google into ranking you.  Smoke and mirror tactics like building backlinks by bulk commenting on blogs or forums.

There’s many things that people could do to get Google to see your site.  Then Google thinks your important because of all this inbound activity and you’re ranking high.

Now we know- and this has really been going on for a while-that they care about the quality of the content.  If people go to your site and bounce out, (which means they see the content sucks and leave), you’re not going to rank.

So now you have to make them stick to your site like never before.  You have to have great content that makes them want to stay and participate.

With social media though, this really makes it very hard, if not impossible, to trick the search engines.  Social media is self policing. If people don’t see you as a real human who has something of value to say, they won’t follow and participate.

Fakers and spammers just lost their jobs.  2012 is the year of content and connection.

I’d love to be added to your circle.  You can find me on Google Plus here.

 

My Interview With Triberr’s Dino Dogan

Triberr Is Wicked Cool

The other day I jumped on Skype with Dino Dogan, creator of Triberr, and recorded the whole thing.  It was a blast.

Triberr is one ingenious little tool.  I will let Dino explain it in the audio below in more detail.  But if you have never heard of it, you become a member of a tribe with other bloggers in your niche.  Everyone promotes everyone elses’s blog posts.  Brilliant!

Instant readers, promoters, comrades, commentators, network, advisers, trusted allies.

It is just under a year old and mark my words, if you are unfamiliar with Triberr now, you won’t be for long.  I feel it is going to exceed even Dino’s wildest expectations.

It has always been invite only but, as I write this, it is open to the public today.  Anyone can go register right now and you should if you write a blog.  If you don’t write a blog… go start writing a blog and then register.

Technical Glitches Be Dammed!

Aside from Skype dropping us 3 times, we spent over an hour talking about everything from The UFC to starting Triberr to the future of Social Media.

I had gone back and fourth on how I wanted to present this interview to people.  At first I was thinking I’d use it as a ‘free bribe’ to get folks (like you) to join my mailing list.  Still will do that (if you want the unedited version that you can listen to on your own computer, burn on a CD, load on your Ipod or print as 1’s and 0’s enter your email…).  I was also thinking of transcribing and posting it here for folks to read.

But the thing is, Dino is a cool dude and he’s got a great personality that is just infectious.  So, I decided to embed the audio right here, in it’s entirety for your listening pleasure.

Get This

If you want the unedited version of this where Dino and I wax poetic about martial arts and other nonsense for a good ten minutes, join my mailing list somewhere on this page.  And don’t worry, not only won’t I spam you, it is highly likely I will even forget to send you the recording.  Just being honest.

 

Who Are You Blogging For

 

Day 29 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

Got a question for you.

Are you looking for traffic to your blog?

I am assuming you said yes.  But what kind of traffic do you want?

I started getting traffic right away.  Killer spam robots found me.

Sometimes it is an automated system or a person who seek out blogs to make comments with the sole purpose of getting a backlink to their site.  These are usually obvious.  They make very generic comments about how much this information helped them.

Because of stuff like this, bloggers are very careful about approving comments.  I have no desire to give a backlink to someone trying to promote his porno or Viagra website.

But this is traffic.  The same 15 blog spammers come back to my blog every day.

As my site takes root more in the search engines, more of these types, which I affectionately refer to as ‘Internet Ruiners’, will find me.

Did You Identify
Your Readers?

Earlier in the thirty day challenge we created our vision and strategy for our content.  So by now you probably have a good idea of the types of people you want to attract to your blog.

But now that your content is aplenty and you’ve been doing this blog thing for a while, I think it’s good to come back to this.

I do believe that over time if you’re consistent and never give up, eventually you’re going to attract an audience.  But I also believe you can make it happen much faster when you speak to a very specific, laser targeted audience.

The Big
‘Project Killing’
Mistake

I’ve been selling products in the online world for years now.  I’ve created my own information products and sold other people’s products.

The biggest mistake newbies to Internet Marketing make is they try to be everything to everyone.  They don’t target correctly and before long their campaign is a failure.

Take the lose weight industry for example.  This is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Within this industry there are sub niches.   Women who want to lose weight have different objectives and needs than men.  You can probably dig even deeper and find more sub niches of the sub niches.  Women in their 20’s are different than women in their 60’s.  Some women in their 60’s may need to lose 100 pounds.  Others are just looking to firm up.

If you start a blog in the weight loss niche that is generalized you’re going to be lost in an ocean of competing blogs.   It doesn’t mean you won’t find success.  Just if you’re blog is super specific to a certain group, you’ve got a much greater chance to build an audience.

But by talking to everyone, you run the risk of talking to no one.  You won’t make an emotional connection.

There Are Riches
In The Niches

When I ran the martial arts school, we had a very specific type of person we were looking for.  I created our avatar of the perfect customer for us.  When I then created marketing, it would be to that avatar.

But when I first got into the business, I was going after everyone.  The school tag line was ‘classes for ages 3 to 103’.  Pretty broad, wouldn’t you agree?

Well, because we were marketing to everyone, we really were engaging no one.

I finally realized our perfect prospect was a stay at home mother of a boy age 4 to 6.  The boy does not like team sports.  He gets teased in school and doesn’t seem to fit in with the crowd.  Mom knows he’s got self-esteem issues and could use a male mentor to look up to aside from his dad who works all the time.

I could go into even more detail about this perfect avatar.  I could tell you about her personal values, income level and much more.

When I did anything in that business it was for her.  That not only includes marketing, but how we put our curriculum together.  We even created our schedule to be convenient for her.  The school lobby had her favorite single serve coffees available.

People Who Were
Not Our Avatar
Found Us Too

When we started to just speak to her, everything about our school flourished.  Not only did that age group grow, our adult program grew.  Turned out parents of kids who take martial arts happen to be adults.  Who knew?

Some of these kids had siblings.  Some of them had friends and neighbors.

By being really specific and working to engage the specific group, we were able to make a connection in everything we did.  People identified with us and our message.

As more of those avatars became members, the wider masses found us; the parents, the brothers and sisters, the friends, the people who happened to walk by and peak in the window to see people sweating and smiling.

And because we got super specific, the business grew larger than we had hoped for.

Define Your Avatar

So now that you’ve come to the end of our thirty day challenge, I want you to take a second look at who you’re writing for.  Who is your avatar?

The more you know about this perfect customer/prospect/blog reader, the better.  What is her favorite color?  What types of food do they love?  The more you know the more you will be able to connect.

Once you’ve identified your avatar, go back and see how your content measures up.  Have you been writing to them or to some random group?

The great thing about a blog is it just keeps growing and evolving.  As you go forward with each new work, make sure you write for your avatar.  The better you get at this, the better your content will be and the more people will enjoy it.

 

Does Size Matter – How Long Should Your Blog Post Be

Day 26 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

There was a great conversation going on today in one of the forums I follow.  The discussion was about how long blog posts should be.

At this point in the challenge, I probably don’t need to mention this, but I will anyway.  If you want to create a strong social media presence, you need to have great content.

People need to want to come back for more.  Your content has to speak to them in a way that is different and more valuable than all the other choices they have available to make.

And it’s not getting any easier.  Every passing day, there are more people competing for the same readers as you.

There are a ton of different opinions on this.  Since this is my blog, I get to promote my opinion.  Here are my thoughts on the subject.

1: Make every post as long as it needs to be and no longer than it should be.

Every word must earn its place.  If the word, sentence, paragraph don’t need to be there to move the article along, they’re out.  Make every word count as opposed to counting every word.

2: Write for people.

There are way too many blogs out there that are written for the search engines.  And they read like it.  This is one of the key reasons why Google is always making algorithmic changes.  So writing for the search engines may work in the short run.  But it is not a quality strategy for the long term.

3: People will read what they’re interested in.

Many people feel they need to keep articles short because of the ever shortening attention span of the reader.  To a certain extent that is true.  But who is your reader?  If your reader hates reading, make videos instead.

4: People don’t need to read the entire post for it to do its job.

What’s our goal when creating content?  Getting people to become fans, make comments, share our stuff and come back for more.  I follow people religiously who’s content I don’t read all of.  Sometimes I just scan it.  Sometimes I read enough to get the main idea.  But I still comment, share it, like it and return all the time.

5: Write for yourself.

Enjoy the process.  If it is something you find interesting and would want to read, chances are great that there’s others out there who will feel the same.

6: Turn one article into two.

If a post is running really long, I can usually find a way to turn it into two different posts.  As long as it makes sense, break up the wicked long ones.

7: Break things up.

You will notice I use a second readership path in all my posts.  These are sub headlines that appear every few paragraphs.  I also may use images, bulleted or numbered lists to break up the post as well.  This may not make the article any easier to read.  But it will make it look easier to read.  And when it looks easier, it is easier.  Plus, scanners like me can still get the main idea.

It All Comes
Down To Interest

At the end of the day, I really think that if you write great content people will read it.  If it interests them they will clamour for more if it’s too short and read it to the end no matter how long.

I’ve seen Field Of Dreams a lot of times.  If it’s on TV, I will drop what I am doing and watch the entire thing.

If someone wrote a really long blog post talking about Field of Dreams, I’d probably read it.  Wouldn’t matter how long it was.  Why, because I love that movie.

Write to your audience and let things fall into place.  Even more than that, assuming you love the topic like your audience does, write for yourself.

In case you didn’t catch the earlier post where I mentioned I am turning this Thirty Day Challenge series into a book… I’m turning this into a book.  So, if you want to be in a book, leave your comment below and share your thoughts on this.

Now I’ve gotta go before this post gets over 700 words…

 

Content About Creating Content With Contributed Content

Day 25 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

We’ve reached Christmas together during this challenge.   This means that I only have 6 more days left in my challenge that I started on December 1st.   The last post in this challenge is going to be on New Years Eve.

We’ve been talking over the last few blog posts about how to get other people to create content for us.  In yesterday’s post on tools and tactics one method I discussed was crowd sourcing.  A tool I love to use to crowd source content is Linkedin.

In preparing for the article on crowd sourcing, I actually crowd sourced some content.  Cool, eh?

Like the title of this article? Content About Creating Content With Contributed Content.  Say that ten times fast.

As a member of several blogging groups on Linkedin, I started a discussion in each looking for contributors to a blog post on how they generate content.  I received several responses.  So you can see crowd sourcing in action, here are their responses:

 

Ken Moorhead

I recently started a new project focused on cocktails and nightlife in my local area. My approach is to gather feedback. I sent each and every follower a quick personal message asking … drum roll, please … what were they interested in reading? This is an incredibly broad question, of course. But I didn’t want to make things too narrow to start. Within a few hours, I had a significant amount of feedback, all of it actionable: how-to articles, reviews that focus on the people behind the bar, and where to host a party in the city.

I’m so thrilled with this smaller-scale effort that I’m going to duplicate it on some of my larger profiles. It’s a good bit of work to send so many personalized messages, but well worth the effort for the feedback gained.

 

Rosemary Orchard

Explore your niche within social media. Find groups on Facebook, SubReddits, Quora topics and so on. Look at what questions are being asked and what sort of people are using these areas – professionals or people new to the niche? You can use these questions to spark ideas of your own and also directly as blog posts.

It’s also worth exploring other areas of social media – Skydiving might be completely unrelated to your niche, but someone could have posted a great quote, or you might simply stumble across a great idea for a blog post “Why Blogger’s Shouldn’t Skydive” could be a random one related to both my niche and the example given.

 

Deb McAlister-Holland

I’m director of marketing at a software company, and one of the best sources of content ideas for my website and blog is customer questions asked of our implementation, training, and customer support staff. If two or three of our customers — who are very sophisticated marketers in their own right — are wondering about something, it’s a pretty sure bet that others are, too. Our blog publishes “best practices” content for marketing professionals three times a week, and we also publish monthly white papers on marketing topics, so I’m constantly looking for content ideas. Over time, customer questions have been my #1 source of ideas, followed (of course) by LinkedIn posts and questions.

 

 Collier Ward

Since my blog “Building Content” is “The Architect’s Resource for Professional Blogging” I have used special content curation software to find appropriate architectural articles from around the Internet and link them on a dedicated series of pages.

 

 

Everyone Benefits

Through this process, I got great insights from other content creators that really add value to what I was doing thus making it even better.  What they got out of it is even more exposure for their projects and voices.

Not only did I get other people to provide usable content for me, but I also made some new connections.  One of the contributors here invited me to guest blog for them.

I love synergy.  The whole is greater than the sum of their parts.  Two people can come together to achieve so much more than one person or even the two would separately.  This is why this method is one of my favorites.

Getting Other People To Write Content For You

Day 22 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

Today we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday and talk about leveraging the power of our network to create content for us or with us.  We’re going to follow the rules we talked about yesterday.  We’re going to come at this from a true givers gain philosophy.

There Are People
Who Want You To
Use Their Content

Remember the movie Tom Sawyer from the early 70’s?  I loved that movie when I was a kid.

One of my favorite parts was when he tricked his friends into painting the fence for him.  He pretends that it is more fun than anything.  Then he allows the others to paint only if they give him payment of a snack.

We’re not going to ‘Tom Sawyer’ anyone into doing our work for us.  We’re going to help others.

There are a lot of people out there on the Internet trying to get their content noticed.  They’re tying like crazy to build their own audience and following.  What better way to help people like this than to feature their expertise with no strings attached.

Beware The Spammers
And Scammers

The difficult part comes in finding these people.  Because out there on the Internet are also lots of lazy marketers.  They want to hit home runs without ever having to pick up a bat.

Scammers and spammers abound.  You have to cut through the very loud noise to find the diamonds in the rough.

These are the folks who are, first of all, creating their own unique content as opposed to buying prewritten junk or paying someone to write for them and taking credit for it.  Or even worse, they’re plagiarizing someone else’s hard work.

Stay Away From
These Types

Then there are the blatant self-promoters.  They only want to promote their own agenda at every turn.  While I am all for giving people credit and helping promote them, you don’t want someone who is only in it for themselves doing nothing more than plugging their stuff.

It takes work to find the really good ones because there are so many of the bad ones in the online space.  Something about the Internet that attracts the get rich quick, do nothing crowd.  Don’t mean to hurt feelings if that’s your plan.  But it’s a poor model on which to build a real business.

People will operate in ways online that they would never dream of in face-to-face meetings.  Imagine meeting someone in a networking environment who without introduction tells you they have a white paper that you should read?  And that you just need to give them your email address to get it?

Build Relationships That
Benefit All Involved

Following the rules we talked about yesterday will give you a real advantage.  Take the time to build real meaningful relationships and you will have powerful allies in your network.  Like anything worthwhile, it takes time and continued effort.

In this 30 day stretch that I’ve been following the challenge, my goal was to write my own content every day.  But the objective as I see it is really to publish one piece every day.

So if you decide you don’t want to write every day, that’s just fine.  But you must publish.  Finding someone to write the content as a guest blogger for you is perfectly acceptable.

Build Your Brand
By Reciprocating

The other side of the coin is that you may find yourself writing as a guest for someone else.  The very first time I reached out to people looking for a guest blogger, I was asked to write for their blog.

First off, I saw this as an incredibly generous gesture on her part.  While most of the other people I asked were busy trying to show me how important they were, she was building a relationship.

So I built a relationship with a person who can not only write great content for me but I can write for her.  Since she has nice traffic on her blog, I will reap a nice reward if my article is good.

Take Away Any Hurdle
Or Barrier For Them
To Contribute

Tomorrow we’ll cover tactics and tools for finding other people to provide content for you.  Before we do that, you need to understand the overall method for finding people as we discussed above.  But you also need to understand what you want from them.

The easier you make it for people, the more they’re going to see that you really do care.  And the more they see you care, the more they will care.

Some things to consider are:

  • Topics you want
  • Specific details on style and length of article
  • What you need from them – picture, by-line, website to link back to, resource box
  • Deadline
  • Resources that may help them

The easier you make it for them to write for you, the easier it will be to get great content from them.  And the more your network of people who can write for you and who you can write for grows.  The more successful you’re social media and theirs will be.

Another Reason For The Thirty Day Social Media Challenge Revealed

 

Day 20 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

So you’re two thirds of the way through.  Today, I feel it’s time to reveal my ulterior motive that I’ve kept hidden.

I hate to keep secrets but there was a very good reason for it.  See, by now, if you’ve been doing the challenge with me, you’ve got momentum.  You’ve got a bunch of content.  And you have probably found the whole process to be much easier and even, dare I say it, more fun than you might have initially thought.

If I told you about this first you’d probably have had the same things occur for you that it did for me in the past.  You’d feel overwhelmed and never have even started.  Been there, done that.

How To Achieve
Instant Credibility,
Authority And Celebrity

My ulterior motive… I am writing a book.  In fact, this is the book.  When it’s completed, it will have 31 chapters.

Now, for the purpose of the blog, it was not always done in order.  And there may be more in the book than here.  But for the most part, once I’m done with this challenge; the book is 99% done.

This approach was, for me, designed specifically to create an expert book on how to create social media content.  But if I attacked it as writing a book, I never would have even started.  I know, I’ve tried.  I have started many a book.  Each one seemed so enormously over whelming that I just gave up either before I started or a few chapters in.

This Person Changed
My Perspective About
Writing A Book

I borrowed and followed the method taught to me by my copywriting teacher; John Carlton.  He is arguably the best or one of the best sales copywriters living on planet Earth.  And he’d even tell you so himself.  All joking aside, he really is.  And I’m only half joking.

I always remembered something he said.  It was simple and powerful.  Book equals expert.  I think he followed that up by saying ‘Write that down, Bucko!’

Even My Dog
Can Do This

Think about it, when you see that someone has written a book, don’t you give them just a little more credibility than the average Joe?  Maybe a lot more.  And if you’re the rare person who doesn’t, trust me, most people do.

The thing is, anyone can write a book.  My dog can write a book.  Well, he won’t write it himself.  He’d hire a ghost writer.  Or, if he’d stop getting into the garbage every time I turn my back, I’d even spring for the ghost writer myself.  That and self-publishing on Amazon or any one of the other services that do it for you mean my dog can be a published author.

All you need to publish a book these days is a bunch of words put together in a somewhat logical fashion.  Actually, it’s quite possible you don’t even need to do that.  See most people won’t even read it.  The effect is still the same, however.

Now I highly recommend you make sure that you have words in your book.  Lots of them.  The above was just to illustrate a point.

People just automatically assign expert status to someone who has written a book.  And if you want to be considered an expert in your business niche, then writing a book can be a tremendous boost.

You’ve Already
Written Most Of It

Now trying to write a book is going to seem daunting at best.  But when you tear it down into its basic chunks, what you have is a sequence of single pieces of content.  Like blog posts.  Hmm…

And now that you’re twenty days in, and you (hopefully) have been creating content daily, you have a future book.  You need to take a few more steps before you can publish like formatting, creating your table of contents, index, bibliography, cover art, graphics or any other book type things you want to include.

But the really hard part is done.  And that is creating the vision and content.  Pretty cool, eh?

How To Write A Book
With Audio Or Video

Now you may be saying, “But gosh darnit, Mike Brooks… you told us we didn’t have to create written content so we made an audio or video blog”.  Have no fear.  All you need to do is slide on over to Elance.com, Odesk.com or any other place you can hire a person and have it all transcribed.

There’s certainly more things you can do, but it really is just that easy.  You can even go get all your friends and family to buy it all at the same time and become an Amazon bestseller.  Albeit that will probably only last for a few minutes.  But now you can say you’re a best selling author… wink wink.  I’m only ha

So don’t stop now.  Keep going and finish this challenge up.  While you don’t have to publish this as a book, if you want to, you have the option.

Besides, if my dog can do it, so can you!

Building Your Social Media Following – Driving Traffic

 

Day 15 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

 

As we get to the mid-way point in the 30 Day Social Media Challenge, you should have a ton of content syndicated on your blog and social channels.  Your blog, if you’re like me, is your central content hub.  From there, you link back to it on Facebook, Twitter and your other Social Media.

Now that you’ve got almost half a month of activity, it’s time to start driving eyeballs to your channels.  Today we’re going to talk about some methods for building traffic and ultimately, your fan base.

I’m going to give you a couple of simple but powerful action steps that work really well.  But there are many ways to do it.  If you’ve got an idea, please make sure to share it with the community in the comments section.

People Will Stay
If Your Content Rocks

If you’ve got great content, people will want to stick around and like, follow, etc.  That’s why we’re so focused on content in this challenge.

As we’ve talked about in other posts, content is king.  People find you somehow on social media, but if you don’t give them a strong reason to stick around, they’re on to the next thing probably never to return again.

If we can create amazing, information rich, engaging content, people will want more.  This is the fly paper if you will.  People stop in to see what it’s all about and get stuck. Readers check in but they don’t check out… In a good way, that is.

Make Regular Status
Updates, Tweets And Shares

This report today will assume you’ve got your social media setup and ready to go.  If you’re brand new to social media or feel that you’d like some direction, make sure to enter your email in the box on the right of the page to get my social media quick-start video course.

Hopefully, you’re posting your content to your Facebook page, Twitter and every other social network of your choosing every day.  Or at least every day you have content.  If not, go do that first!

Avoid Things That Will
Provoke The Dreaded
Unlike Or Unfollow

There is a lot of hype out there about social media.  People get caught up in it and think the moment they turn on their Facebook page people are going to be knocking the doors down with cash in hand ready to buy their wares.

There is no magic button.  The reality is that It’s not easy getting someone of quality to hit the like button or follow you.  When I say quality I mean someone who is actually interested in what you have to say.  There are plenty of people out in the Socialverse who follow and like others for no other purpose than to get your attention.  They want you to like or follow them back.

It takes a lot of work.  It takes strategy and patience.

Things To Avoid At All Costs

Post no more than twice a day:  On Facebook you can post twice a day; once in the morning and again in the evening.  Many experts agree that having two status updates appear in your Facebook fan’s newsfeed from you at once will increase unlikes.

On Twitter it is much more frequent.  But most experts say no more than 8 in one day.  The best thing to do is watch your metrics.  If it looks like you’re getting unlikes, you will need to back off a little.

Controversy:  Don’t talk about religion, politics or any other lightning rod issues unless that’s what your business is.  If you’re a politician, feel free to pick on the other side all you want.

Controversial topics can draw a ton of attention.  So you can certainly bring it into your world.  Just don’t be controversial unless that is what your strategy is.

Spam:  The definition of what spam is and is not differs for many people.  The bottom line; spam is anything that is considered unwanted.  If you are pushing your own agenda a lot, you’re going to appear spammy.

Just ask yourself the honest question if this is something you would consider spam.  You want to engage, inspire, connect with, entertain, educate.  While you do need to ask people to take action, if all you ever do is sell, sell, sell… you will attract those unlikes and unfollows.

Things To Do At All Costs

Ask People To Like You:  Seems simple but it is something that’s overlooked… a lot.  And not just asking online.  Although if you’ve got an email list, send a request to them. Ask your current Facebook friends to help you out.

Then make sure to take it offline.  You should ask people to like and follow you whenever you have the chance.  When you ring them up at the register, when you’re at a networking event, put it on your print material.  It should be everywhere.

And make sure to tell them where to go.  Not just go to Facebook or the little Facebook logo.  Tell them exactly how to find you and what they get for doing it.

Remember above I said not to spam?  Just make sure you’re tuned to your prospects radio station: WIFM: What’s In It For Me (or them).   What do they get for liking your Facebook page?

Make Comments:  In the olden days if you wanted to get traffic to your website you could make comments on blogs.  Many blog owners will make your name clickable back to your website.  So if someone read your comment and liked it, they could go visit your site.

These days, that strategy is even more powerful with social media.  Making comments on other people’s Facebook pages makes it even easier for them to get to you.

Make sure to use Facebook as your page.  Find and like prospects and influencers in your target audience.  Find ways to put thoughtful comments on something they have posted.

You can also share their posts to your wall.  If they allow it, you can post right on their wall.  However, always add value.  If you make self-serving posts to their wall, they’ll block you.  If your comments are not specific to them and don’t add thoughtful value, people will see you as a spammer.

The same goes for re-tweeting, replying and even direct messaging people on Twitter.  You can get away with a lot more on Twitter because it’s so fast paced.  But having an add value strategy will always take you much farther.

Contribute Content To Other Blogs: You’re probably getting darn good at creating content by now.  Find other blogs within your community to guest blog on.

There are a ton of great blogs out there looking for people to contribute.  All you need to do is ask (and of course be able to create quality content).

Pay For It:  Each of the big social networks have sponsored ads you can pay for.  Facebook ads can be very effective because you can laser target your offer to their likes and interests.

Just make sure you educate yourself on how to do it.  People have wasted a lot of money on paid ads by not knowing the ins and outs.

What Are You Waiting For?

These are just a few ways to get started with driving traffic to your social media.  They can be really powerful when done right and done regularly.

Building A Bond With Your Reader

Day 14 Of
The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that I got it in just under the wire.  But what you might not realize is even though it seemed like I didn’t really have anything to write about, there was still a strategy behind the post.

Now, keep in mind, everything I wrote yesterday was 100% true.  I really did scrap the piece I was working on and started over at the 11th hour.

But I could have muddled through the original post and got it done.  If I really forced the issue and sat myself down to concentrate, it would have come out just fine.

You’re Well Served
To Have This Quality

I had two reasons for doing what I did with yesterday’s post. First was, of course, that I had nothing else.  Second was I had a golden opportunity to be completely, unashamedly and brutally honest with you.

Nothing bonds a reader to a writer more than being completely honest.  People respect honesty as much or more than any other quality I can think of.  People can really feel it when you have the guts to be open and honest.  On the other hand, being dishonest can kill you.

The golden rule of business is this: People do business with others that they know, like and trust.  Honesty is the glue that holds all that together.

Honesty With
Common Sense

I believe honesty is always important.  But when it comes to marketing and brand building, sometimes honesty can kill you too.  In the world of social media, for some strange reason that truly escapes me, people feel they can do and say things they might otherwise have the good sense not to do.

Things move at lightning speed in the Socialverse.  The moment you hit that button, the entire world knows about it.  And once it’s done it cannot be undone.

Honesty forces us to take a stand.  It forces us to pick sides.  These are so important to creating great content that will connect.

Yet, honesty can certainly be taken too far.  Businesses must maintain a professional demeanor.  Last thing you want see on Facebook is pictures of your doctor drunk at a wild party the night before he’s going to do open heart surgery on you.

We’ve seen some bone headed feats of honesty in social media recently.  Honesty ended Anthony Weiners career pretty quick.  Common sense can go a long way.

In his blog, Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image said “Brands and popular individuals have done a great job of mucking up their reputation via social media.”  If you say something too honest and it gets you in trouble, you should probably check out his blog post: How to Recover From Social Media Blunders.

Imagine That?

Honesty can also be misunderstood.  John Lennon was honest once with his audience that people seemed to care more about The Beatles than they did about Jesus.

The result was a backlash against the band.  People thought he meant that The Beatles were better than Jesus.  People burned Beatles records or what would be today known as, extremely valuable collector’s items.

 

 

If you want to build a lasting relationship with your audience, come out from behind the company image and be honest.  Write with an honest voice.  But always think it through.  If you wouldn’t say it to your grandmther, you probably should think once or twice whether you should say it at all.

Once something is out there, it can’t be made un-out there.  Handle with care but don’t be afraid to be you.

Footnote: My good friend whom I’ve already written about, Jason Silverman, talked me into scrapping today’s post to talk about yesterday’s post.  He felt talking about honesty in content was an important lesson.  So here I am again writing content to be published on a tight deadline.  I’ve got another networking event tonight for a Chamber of Commerce and you can bet I’m going to get this done before I head out for that.

The Lost Art Of Letter Writing – Blog Writing Secret Tip

Day 12 Of The Thirty Day
Social Media Challenge

When’s the last time you wrote a hand written letter?  If you can remember, congratulations on being one of a few.  And if you’ve done it recently, you’re a rare breed.  If you do it all the time, you’re on the endangered species list.

It is something we as a culture used to do all the time.  Today, when we want to communicate with another person, we email them.  If they’re really in our inner circle and we want true intimacy in communication, we whip out our Iphone and text them.  LOL!

Think about it; when is the last time you pulled a hand written card or letter out of your mail box?  Maybe during the holidays?

And I’m no saint here.  I love modern technology.

Even when you receive something that looks like it was handwritten, it might not be.  I have an online system that allows me to send real greeting cards through this companies system that uses my personal handwriting font.  When I hit send, the card prints at this company and they mail it for me.  Here is a blatant affiliate link for it… it is pretty cool though.

Very convenient
But hardly personal

Technology has turned us into this.  It’s no wonder the postal office is struggling along like a wounded Brontosaurus.

I think that writing by hand always brings out the best.  It’s raw, visceral and real.  You cannot get any closer with your writing than writing in this way.  Hand writing a personal letter is by far the best way to become intimate with it.  And aren’t these emotions what we want for our social media audience to experience through our writing?

What Can World War II
And Clint Eastwood
Teach Us About Writing?

Did you see the movie “Letters From Iwo Jima”?  What a great movie by one of my favorite actor/directors of all time, Clint Eastwood.  (I feel macho just saying the man’s name.)

The story is about the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II. It is told from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers both through their actions and letters they wrote home to their families.  Of course these letters would not find their way to their loved ones until they were either captured or dead.

The men who defended Iwo Jima knew that they were probably going to die there on that island.  The emotion that went into those letters they wrote was gripping.

Spoiler Alert

I am about to give away the ending.  You might want to skip this if you haven’t seen it.  (This is the part where I’d be saying “I know how World War II ends!”).

The movie opened with a team of Japanese excavators digging in a cave on Iwo Jima in present day.  At the very end of the movie, the team finds something buried.  They carefully lift a bag from the cave floor.

As the bag is raised, it opens from the bottom and hundreds of letters fall out onto the ground.  As they collect there on the cave floor you hear the voices of the men who wrote them.  It was very powerful.

End Of Spoiler

You just don’t get the same emotion from writing on a computer.  The act of writing and even reading a hand written letter is just different.

If you’re in direct response marketing and want to guarantee your mail piece gets opened; hand write the envelope.  Most people sort their mail over their garbage cans.  They toss everything that looks like a sales letter.

But a hand written letter, that goes into the must open pile.  And if the letter inside is hand written, you can bet your bottom dollar it is read too.  Up until they realized they’re reading a sales letter, that is.  LOL! (Woops, went back into texting mode).

Now You’re Really
Making A Connection!

Think about the process of writing a letter to someone close to you.  A parent, a child, a best friend.

In your letter you would tell them in a direct way what was happening in your life.  It likely will not be literature.  It might be conversational; the way you speak.

This is one of the best ways, in my humble opinion, to write.  When we speak, telling a story, we generally follow with a certain natural structure.  This is the way I like to write.

Use This Concept To
Create Your Content

So think of your audience as your parent, child, best friend.  You’re simply writing a letter to them every day.  Sharing with them things you think they should know about your business, brand or company.

If you’re struggling to unearth new things to write about each day, imagine yourself in a cave in a far off land about to give your life for your country.  All you have is a pad, a pencil and your raw emotions.  I bet you can create something to write home about.

GBFN! That’s text slang for Goodbye For now.