Tag Archives: Marketing Consultant

7 things to look for in a Social Media Specialist

Social media is still the Wild West to some extent, and a lot of us are still figuring out the rules. One thing is clear: Social media is here to stay.

Therefore, your social-media manager or director is a critical and strategic hire who will be responsible for formulating and executing your strategy, as well as educating your whole organization and aligning it with that strategy.

But a lot of people who claim to be social-media experts are far from it. How can you sift the wheat from the chaff?

Below are the seven killer virtues of a social-media leader. There are certainly more, but not all are deal makers.

1. Passion

Passion for the job is an important characteristic of any employee, but it’s fundamental for a social-media manager. Many public relations and marketing folks use social media, but they aren’t passionate about it.

Social media goes 24/7, so you need someone who can live and breathe it without burning out. A good social-media manager will have the drive of a sales representative but has a light touch that influences people without appearing to “sell” to them.

2. Credibility

Social media is not a silo. You need to balance technical skill with business acumen. Research the candidate’s professional credibility in your particular industry.

The social-media manager will become one of the “faces” of your company, so you need someone with a broad business background and a grasp of marketing, sales, operations, P&L, product management, business process, and customer relationship management.

3. Strategy

Because social media is fun, many people can get caught up in using it without a clear purpose. If a social-media program is implemented companywide, it can become a big time investment.

Therefore, it’s vital that the social-media director provide leadership for senior management as well, ensuring that they buy in to the program and understand its goals. Strategic, big-picture thinking coupled with a willingness for shirtsleeves implementation is a must.

4. Service-orientation

Because social-media managers are the face of a company, they need to be relentlessly committed to helping people in social channels. Customer service should be part of that person’s DNA. Customer interaction is not a bother; rather, it’s something to enjoy, it’s the new marketing.

Customers, partners, prospects, and analysts will need help and advice around the clock, which puts the social-media manager in a unique position of acting as an advocate for the company and brand, as well as the community.

As an advocate for the community, the social-media director helps the company design better products and services, leading to happier and more-loyal customers. And when the products and services are better, the social-media director can evangelize on the company’s behalf in a more natural way.

5. Risk-tolerance

The social landscape is changing at breakneck speed. The social-media leader must be comfortable with constant change and course correction.

Because many social efforts are in uncharted territory, the perfect social-media manager will be the proverbial self-starter, a true pioneer, unafraid to head into the darkness.

The social-media leader can’t wait for directions from the boss, since the boss may not know as much about social media. And if there’s a failure, the social-media leader must dust off and start all over again.

6. Decisiveness

It seems as if there’s a new social-media product every other day. Social-media practitioners must keep their tool set full of sharp new tools, but they need the wisdom and experience to recognize which trends have lasting power and which are ephemeral.

It’s also crucial that they commit to social-media programs and stay with them long enough to evaluate their success or failure, yet be willing to jettison what isn’t working.

7. Action hero(ine)

As noted earlier, change is the only constant in the social-media world. To say that the social populace expects real-time action is an obvious statement.

Although creating quality content is important, it’s equally important to avoid “analysis paralysis” or get caught in an endless loop of approvals.

If you wait to publish a blog post or tweet, it will be yesterday’s news tomorrow. The social-media director must strike the right balance between perfection and action, with action being paramount.

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SEO and Page Rank

Someone asked me yesterday, “What do you think of PageRank?”  That’s kind of asking “What do you think of sunshine?”

Google is the 800 lb. gorilla.  PageRank is part of their “secret sauce” in determining how your site pops up in organic search results.  PageRank just IS – it’s part of the SEO game.

You might not agree with Google as to what is relevant; you might not agree as to what is timely; you might not agree as to what is popular; and you might not like sunshine.  However, what can you do?  You have to play the game if you want to be high in the search results.

The rules change all the time – on purpose.  Just as soon as you think you have it figured out Google will tweak their algorithm and you go from the #1 result to the #10 result.

SEO is the physical fitness of your site.  You can’t go to the gym once and work out for 30 minutes – then lose 30 pounds – and become the fit “Mr. Universe.”  SEO takes constant work (i.e. – working out). You have to keep tweaking your site and your strategy to keep up with the tweaks that Google makes in their algorithm.

Finding someone to help you with SEO and Social Media Strategy is like hiring a personal trainer to help you get fit.  In getting personally fit you can read a book and follow the diagrams and see some results taking place in your physique.  However, if you REALLY want to see results you hire a personal trainer who will take into account your body type, your diet, your goals and your budget (time and money).

So if you REALLY want results for your company find a certified professional who will take in to account ALL your marketing needs – it’s called Integrated Marketing – bringing all your “traditional” marketing channels together with all these “new” digital opportunities.

One size does NOT fit all – think of me as a digital tailor.

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Social Media Etiquette

Being an SEO and Social Media Consultant is like being a doctor – whenever you go to a party people pull you aside and ask you how to cure their ills.  It is “the Wild West” out there right now – a lot of “snake oil salesmen” profess to be experts and make promises that can not be fulfilled.

SEO and Social Media are the physical fitness regimens of your corporate marketing body.  You can’t get off your couch after years of inactivity and run a marathon.  You can’t magically start an SEO and Social Media Strategy and jump to #1 on all the search engines.

Let me give a quick overall answer to one of the questions I am asked most often – “What do I say on the Social Networks?”

Here’s is what happens:
Imagine the Social Media world as a big high school reunion/family reunion/neighborhood block party.  What would you think of someone who went around interrupting every conversation trying to sell anyone who would listen a “super magic drink?” People would tune them out and then before long run away whenever that person approached.

Social Media is like that.  If you are constantly trying to sell to anyone/everyone who might be reached by your Twitter Feeds, Facebook updates or blog, people will tune you out!

Here’s the general rule of thumb:
90% of your Tweets and updates should be informative and/or conversational – 10% should be self promoting.  Go back to the reunion/party theme: if you have interesting stories and helpful ideas people will engage you in conversation – your social networking is working.  If you ONLY talk about yourself you become a pariah.

You might ask – “What do I say? How often do I say it? I don’t know where to start!”  Like a doctor would say, “Stop by my office for an exam and we will run some tests. I’m sure you will be fine.”

So go to my contact page and it will send me an email OR call me – my phone number is right there at the top of the page.  Relax, now you have a professional “captain” to help you navigate the choppy seas of social media.

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Testing Your PPC Advertising

I wanted to share a powerful marketing tip with you today.  This is something that when done properly, can improve your results and increase your sales WITHOUT adding a single penny to your costs.

This may sound simple – but it is very important for your integrated marketing activities. Test, Test and Re-test!

Here is a simple example:

You run a PPC campaign on Google AdWords and you have one ad running. Let’s say you sell shoes, and here is the ad you were running.

Designer Shoes are Affordable
Women’s Designer Shoes
Big names, great prices

Now, let’s say your click through rate (number of people that click on your ad) is 4.2%.  You are happy, because that’s better than you’ve ever done before. What most people do is keep running with that ad.  What we want you to remember to do is Split Test.

All that means is create a second version of your ad, to compete against your first version and see who wins.

So, now look at version 2:

Designer Shoes are Affordable
Lady’s Designer Shoes
Big names, great prices

Do you see the difference?  Only one word (more about that in a minute).  In the first ad we have

Women’s Designer Shoes and in the second ad we have Lady’s Designer Shoes.

So, let’s look at the results.

Ad 1 – 4.2 click through rate
Ad 2 – 5.1 click through rate!

You just increased your response rate by 21.4%!  No extra costs, simply changing one word and getting an improved response.

Why did more people click on Lady’s than Women’s?  We don’t know, we may never know, but we also don’t care.  All we know is have now improved our click through rate!

Now are we done?  Not even close.  Now we take Ad 2, and create another ad to split test against Ad 2.  You can constantly test 2 ads against each other and incrementally increase your response rates.

What can you test?  Anything and everything!  Test your ads, test headlines on your site, test your pricing.

Test, test and re-test.

There’s so much more about testing that I could go into, but we’ll have to save that for another time.  For now, just remember these 2 important points…

1. Test EVERYTHING!

2. Only make one change in each test for accurate results.  If you were to change the headline and the middle text on Ad 2, you wouldn’t know which was the cause of the higher response.  So, take one thing at a time and test, test, test.

By the way, Google has a great tool (that is available at no cost) that allows you to set up these split tests easily.  Check out Google Website Optimizer!

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Ethical SEO

SEO is complex.  SEO is maddening.  SEO is confusing.  But more than anything  SEO is EFFECTIVE.

It is unanimously agreed that SEO is the top source of driving targeted traffic to sites. Everyone wants top SEO rankings.  The problem is, you look at the SERPs (search engine results pages) and you find sites there that you don’t expect to.  You see sites that are filled with spam, you see sites with no content, you see sites with no inbound links.

And worst of all is what you don’t see – YOUR site.

It makes no sense – you’ve done everything you can, followed all the rules and still your site is no where.  How are these other sites that don’t belong there holding on to your coveted spot?

The truth is, as smart as the engines are, they don’t catch all the garbage sites out there as quickly as we would like them to.  There are 2 things we can do to help eradicate this problem.

1.  Report any and all spam and garbage sites to Google (and the other engines you use).  This is not being a tattle tale, this is not going out for revenge.  This is simply asking Google to uphold the rules that they are asking you to follow.  It is saying, “I’m playing fair here, so level the playing field so my competitors that are “less-than ethical” don’t rule the SERPs”.  To notify

Google of a spam site, click here:
http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html

2.  The second thing you can do is follow best practices 100%.  Be aggressive, be proactive, but be ethical.  The more people insist on “black hat” tactics, the more sites we’ll see that are sneaking by Google.   Know that with active efforts Google is making daily to weed out spam – you have everything to gain by patiently, aggressively and ethically optimizing your site.

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Secrets of SEO

  

The Secrets Of SEO

 There is so much information floating around out there about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how to get some rankings. So much of it is contradictory and confusing.SEO Secret # 1: There are no secrets! 

The search engines make it all very public and clear what you need to do to get top rankings. The success lies in the details and proper implementation. But there is no top secret, proprietary technique for getting top rankings. secrets, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t information you need to know, such as:1) If you don’t optimize your site, you won’t get top rankings.
2) Your site structure matters!
3) Don’t just focus on small keyword list that is made up of the most popular and competitive keywords.
 

It really is that plain and simple. If the engines can’t spider your site and you don’t have links and strong content, you don’t stand a chance against the sites that do have all that in place. So many people don’t want to spend money on SEO, or are afraid to take the plunge but then they can’t understand why they don’t have rankings. So maybe there is a secret – maybe the secret is take action and get your site optimized! I can’t tell you how often people have said to me “I know my site is a mess, but I don’t want to spend the money fixing it, so can’t you just throw up some keywords and Meta tags and get me some rankings?” Ummmm, no, I can’t. Your site structure is your foundation. You would never build a house without a solid foundation, why would you build an SEO campaign without a solid foundation?  

You will be missing out on opportunities for great keyword phrases that convert really well. Expand your list. Include long tail phrases. They may have less traffic but they will convert at a higher rate and if you get enough of these phrases they will likely add up to be better than your original list.  

 SEO is changing and evolving so staying current on what the engines are looking for is important. Either hire a firm to get you top rankings or find a way to make sure you stay current with information you can trust.  

Social media and SEO go hand in hand – truth is there is a lot of competition out there for website traffic so why not use all the tools at your disposal? 

 Get out there and be social. You can optimize your site without doing social media, and you can do social media without an optimized site. But why would you? The two enhance and compliment each other. Focusing on SEO without focusing on conversions is a mistake. 

You are going to work so hard, or pay someone your hard earned money to get you top rankings. You can’t afford to ignore marketing issues. Make sure your site is going to convert all that great new traffic you are going to send to your site.  

Google Webmaster Tools and your web stats are a goldmine of information.

Make sure you take time to see what words people are actually using to find your site and see what people do once they get to your site. See how many people link to you and which of those sources are driving traffic. Find out if there are errors on your site. There is so much information to be analyzed; you just need to make the time to check it out.  

Successful SEO requires time, patience, skill, knowledge, persistence, attention to detail, knowledge of HTML, current information and an understanding of marketing helps too – then you can write the best possible text while using the keywords well, and it will also help you write compelling Title and Description tags….OR – the willingness to invest in a professional firm to get those top rankings for you.  

SEO requires time, patience, skill, knowledge, persistence, attention to detail, knowledge of HTML, current information and an understanding of marketing helps too – then you can write the best possible text while using the keywords well, and it will also help you write compelling Title and Description tags….OR – the willingness to invest in a professional firm to get those top rankings for you.  

SEO requires time, patience, skill, knowledge, persistence, attention to detail, knowledge of HTML, current information and an understanding of marketing helps too – then you can write the best possible text while using the keywords well, and it will also help you write compelling Title and Description tags….OR – the willingness to invest in a professional firm to get those top rankings for you. 

  

   

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SEO – Search Engine Optimization – Tip

Here’s a quick and easy way SEO tip to see what content your competitors (or even you) have for any given keyword phrase.  

Once you know how much content you both have, you can create an action plan to build more content and beat them out!

In your Google toolbar or the search box on Google.com type in:
 site:website.com Keyword Here

So for example if you wanted to search CNN to see how many pages refer to election you would type: site:www.cnn.com election

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SEO Results #1 on Google

How Clint used Search Engine Optimization to make
Mediaforce Productions the #1 result on Google
.

Terri Howard has a successful video production company in Plano, TX. but she “was lost” when it came to implementing SEO on her web site.  A former associate built the site but never made it “search engine friendly.”  Terri called Clint Hughes – SEO and Social Media Marketing Consultant.

Clint and Terri discussed:
1) What did Terri want her site to do for her business?
2) What did Terri want Mediaforce Productions to be known for?
3) How extensive of a complete SEO and Social Media Strategy was right for Terri and Mediaforce?

Continue reading

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