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Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Grow Your Blog Audience Through Social Media

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

We all know that a blog is one of the best ways to move your content up in search engine rankings.  But without promotion, a blog has little chance for exposure and, thus, little impact on SEO.

Social media is a logical first step.  Many businesses have already established social media profiles.  Use all of them to promote individual blog posts.  If you are an individual blogger, set up social media profiles specifically for your blog; in particular, develop a Google+ profile that links to your blog.  Google is ramping up its recognition of “authors” of content in their search algorithms.

Blogs and social media were born to thrive together.  Take a look at how GT Radial Tire (a JTMarCom client) is promoting their talkin’ tires blog on their Facebook page.

A great place to start is to share your blog post on Facebook.  Upload an interesting and relevant photo, write a headline and paste a link.  Photos perform significantly better than links on Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm which determines which posts are prioritized on fans’ news feeds.

Use LinkedIn as well.  Join some LinkedIn groups that fit your target audience and post your blog in the discussions section.

Post a link to your blog post on Twitter with a catchy introduction to grab people’s attention. Add hashtags when appropriate on keywords.  And don’t forget to leave room in your 140 characters for people to share with a comment.

Marc Pitman, writing for Social Media Examiner, suggests posting your whole blog on Google+. To do so, paste the blog link and a photo will appear. Choose the thumbnail you wish to display and then paste the whole blog post in the text section. This will take advantage of Google search, especially if you use relevant keywords in your blog.  Share your blog with all relevant circles.

Tumblr, Delicious., and Pinterest are other great platforms for sharing blog posts.

Also, expand your audience and increase your credibility by sending your blog to other sites, such as publication websites or blogs that reach your audiences.

You can also post comments with your blog link on other users’ Facebook walls, Tweets, etc. The key here is to avoid spamming by posting links in non-relevant places.  Keep in mind that few people will want to click on your link if your message sounds like a sales pitch.  Teeth whitening anyone?

Finally, use Google analytics to determine which social media sites are bringing the most, and best, readers to your blog.

I would love to hear about social media tactics you use to promote your blog.

Truck Manufacturers and Social Media: The Good and Not So Good

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Last year at the Mid America Trucking Show, a keynote speaker dismissed social media as a marketing tool. One year later, all of the major truck manufacturers have jumped on board with social media, with varying levels of success.

 

Freightliner and International are successfully using Facebook and Twitter to engage with their audiences. Freightliner spotlights a truck and its driver on a weekly basis and shares relevant information about its brand including news stories, features, contests and polls that provide incentives for participation. Freightliner’s Facebook page features information and contests related to NASCAR (Freightliner is the official hauler of NASCAR), a great strategy for expanding Freightliner’s audience beyond the trucking world.

 

International frequently shares relevant photographs of company-related events and of its trucks around the world on Facebook. During the 2012 Mid-America Show in Louisville, International made its company historian available for questions via social media.

 

International began tweeting about Mid-America long before the show began and was active on Twitter throughout the three-day event. International often provides rewards for Twitter engagement and is good about keeping its Tweets interesting, Tweeting about holidays and other topical news.

 

Several truck manufacturers are successfully using YouTube. Freightliner, Kenworth, Mack and International all have done a good job of posting videos of new trucks and their features. Freightliner and Mack have featured truck owners and their stories. Freightliner has shared its history and videos of classic Freightliner trucks. International frequently shares driving tips with its owners, and it provided great coverage of MATS, from show set-up to a recap of events. International and Volvo used YouTube to discuss the causes in which the companies are involved.

 

Some truck manufacturers certainly have room for improvement in their social media marketing.  Mack and Peterbilt do not have Facebook pages or have long deserted them. Kenworth is on Facebook but not consistently.

 

Here are some insights into areas that truck manufacturers could improve on in social media:

 

  • None of the truck brands are using the Milestone feature on the new Facebook Timeline format. Posting Milestones would be a great way for these companies to share their brand heritage, especially considering that many truck manufacturers have long and interesting histories.

 

  • Every brand would benefit from engaging consumers and the press on Twitter. As I mentioned before, International provides a great example of how a company can use Twitter to converse with users rather than simply promote itself, and its variety of content makes its tweets more effective. Kenworth, Mack, and Volvo Trucks could benefit from posting more content on Twitter and making the content more varied.

 

  • Google Plus is an up and coming social network with over 100 million users. We recommend that truck manufacturers claim their pages and start using this site for promotion and networking.

 

  • Regularly posting high quality videos on YouTube that cover a diverse range of topics can help increase brand awareness and give fans more to talk about. Kenworth and Western Star could benefit from more diverse content and a higher frequency of video uploads. Because it does not have a YouTube channel, Peterbilt is missing a great opportunity to promote its brand.

 

 

 

I look forward to seeing how truck manufacturers develop their social media strategies in the future as the industry becomes more connected through social networks. Social media is a great opportunity for truck manufacturers to continue to build their brand image and connect more directly with customers and fans. Because the truck industry has a high level of brand loyalty and interest, truck manufacturers can greatly benefit from effectively using social media.

 

YouTube is not just acrobatic kittens and dancing babies

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
YouTube is not just for Dancing Babies and Cute Kittens
We talk to a lot of business people who don’t use YouTube because they think it is all about shocking scenes and cute videos with dancing babies and acrobatic kittens.  While it’s true that truly entertaining videos have the best chance to go viral, YouTube can still be a tremendous (and free) resource for any business.  
According to CitySearch.com, a customer is twice as likely to visit your store if you have a video of your store on your website.  Seeing your store and employees on a video, or a customer testimonial, builds customer confidence and increases the chances that the customer will come see you.
Click here to see a video customer testimonial for Alliance Tire Americas (a client of ours).  Nicely done, and it did not require an expensive camera or production crew.  An effective YouTube video can be shot on a $75 Flip camera.  YouTube audiences are not expecting a slick piece; in fact, this is often a negative.  Make it genuine, but also make it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).  And get to the point; attention spans are not what they used to be.
So how could tire dealers, for example, effectively use YouTube?
– Show your showroom and interview a few employees.
– Interview satisfied customers for testimonials.
– Shoot educational videos on how to winterize your car, getting ready for summer, etc.
Check out the Sullivan Tire YouTube channel.  Great job!
Using YouTube is easy, but there are some techniques and best practices that can help you use it effectively. Shoot me a comment and I will send you our YouTube white paper which takes you from A to Z.

Foursquare – Super-Charging Word-of-Mouth Through Social Media

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Christine and I went to one of our favorite restaurant/pubs in Green Hills recently.  She checked in to Foursquare, told about 200 of her local friends about the great hamburgers there and got tips from them on other menu items to try.  How cool is that? For the restaurant!

The restaurant was benefiting from one of today’s hottest and most promising social media platforms and didn’t even know it.  What if they were smart enough to actually incentivize Foursquare users to check in?  How cool (and profitable) would that be?

The idea behind location-awareness social media like Foursquare is that people will use the GPS capabilities in today’s smart phones (iPhone, Android, etc.) to check in, tweet, review . . . let their friends know where they are.  Foursquare, currently available worldwide, is self-described as – “50% friend-finder, 30% social city guide, 20% nightlife game.”  Sound silly? Maybe, but Christine is “mayor” of a convenience store in Bucksnort, TN, and is in hot competition with another Foursquare user.  Every time we go by Bucksnort on I-40, she checks in and I buy an ice cream bar.  Not good for my waistline but great for the convenience store!

From the business perspective, think CRM (customer relationship management). Many small businesses have little or no way to track customer behavior. A coffee shop may have a patron that comes in daily for years, but they have no way to track anything. They can capture emails.  They can supply loyalty cards.  Foursquare goes far beyond all of this. The loyal coffee shop patron can be tracked through Foursquare and even incentivized to get a free cup of coffee for every tenth check-in. This is so much better than a loyalty card because it super-charges positive word-of-mouth through social media and provides valuable data on customer behavior.

Like all good social media platforms Foursquare understood the need to integrate with platforms that others already use. Foursquare users have the option to tweet or add a Facebook status update every time they check in. What this means is that a Facebook user with a few hundred friends might expose your business by way of a Foursquare check-in to thousands of Facebook walls.

There are other services that have tackled this basic function, such as Loopt, Brightkite, Gowalla and My Town, but Foursquare turned this activity into a social competition; a distinction that has led to its current role as a leader in this evolving space.

So how much does this all cost?  Nothing right now.  You can visit the Foursquare business page to register your business. The company is still developing its business model – focusing on the infrastructure, expanding the user base (one million as of today) and developing a database of locations.  While it is free for now, charging businesses to become members and providing them customized programs will most likely be the primary revenue stream for Foursquare in the future.

Tasti D-lite has been using Foursquare for some time now. Patrons are encouraged to register their loyalty card (the Tasti TreatCard) online with Foursquare (and Facebook and Twitter) to earn extra points.

Taco Mamacita, a Nashville eatery,has been using it for about six weeks.  If you check in and prove that you are the mayor of Taco Mamacita, you get a free guacamole.  This is amazing stuff!  For the cost of a few pounds of guacamole, Taco Mamacita has people competing to be mayor and telling hundreds or even thousands of other local people about the restaurant’s great menu items.

Should your business join Foursquare? The answer depends on your type of business and demographics of your customer.  Taco Mamacita fits the profile perfectly.  They are located in a trendy neighborhood  (lots of geeks around) and they pride themselves on their authentic Tex-Mex fare and margaritas (plenty to talk about).

Local consumer-oriented businesses that depend on foot traffic will get the most out of Foursquare, especially if your customers are gadget-friendly, smart phone owners. There are a lot of retailers that fit this category – coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, pubs, nightclubs, apparel stores, spas, hair salons, art galleries, etc.  Don’t be deterred, however, if you are operating a rather “boring” business.  Owner of a dry cleaner store?  Offer an incentive (like dry cleaning coupons) and Foursquare just might work for you.

4 Sites to Get You Started in Social Media

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

There are so many great resources to help you get started with social media it can be very overwhelming. Below are a few places that I like. What are your favorites?

Mid-America Trucking Show Got Social Last Week

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Of the different segments that make up the U.S. trucking industry, which ones are more rapidly embracing social media?  Some insights were revealed at last week’s Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville.

First, an interesting record was achieved at MATS – the largest ever gathering of women owner-operators in one place at one time.  Twitter played an instrumental role in getting the word out before and during the show.  This leads us to insight #1 – there is a solid base of owner-operators and drivers using Twitter and Facebook, and this will only grow through word-of-mouth.  These two social media platforms provide a great way for truckers to stay in touch with their families and with each other.

As is common these days at conferences and trade shows, a Twitter hashtag was set up for MATS and provided a great way for Twitterers to share information, make connections, etc., at the show – not to mention Twitterers interested in MATS but unable to attend this year.

Insight #2 is that a growing number of manufacturers are increasing using social media as an extension of their marketing programs.  Companies such as Michelin, Cummins and Arvin-Meritor Tweeted about their products and events at MATS.  Look for manufacturers to continue using social media to get the word out but also to begin capitalizing on the true value of social media – creating conversations with customers and potential customers and energizing an army of brand advocates.  Check out Peterbilt’s Facebook Fan Page.

Finally, fleet professionals are increasingly using LinkedIn and Facebook but have been slow adopters of Twitter.  Adam Ledlow — http://twitter.com/AdamLedlow — of Truck News magazine had an interesting insight – with more and more drivers using social media, fleets should be employing it to snag qualified drivers.  What a great recruitment tool!

It’s A Google World!

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I was in Chapel Hill, NC, the other day visiting my Tar Heel daughter and was reminded of the importance of Google rankings for tire dealers (or any retailers for that matter) – not that I needed reminding.

My daughter’s very reliable Nissan Sentra needed an oil change and state inspection.  I was in a hurry.  I Googled “best value in tires in Chapel Hill, NC” and called the dealer that ranked first in the non-paid search.  Never heard of them before.  Didn’t look at any other options.  I called them, booked a time and took the car in.  I know a thing or two about tires after 20 years in the business, but again, time was short.

If you’re a tire dealer, you need to rank high in Google, preferably on the first page.  Consumers are in a hurry.  In a low involvement category such as tires, most consumers are not going to spend a lot of time surfing, reviewing one website after another.

So how do you achieve the high ranking?  You can pay for it of course, but more and more consumers are becoming savvy to paid searches and prefer to patronize businesses that earn their Google rankings by having an SEO-rich website, by answering questions on Twitter, by recognizing their customers on Facebook, receiving testimonials on Yelp, etc.

Once you get them in the door you still need to provide good old-fashioned customer service, which by the way, will help your Google rankings because social media super-charges the power of word-of-mouth.  This dealer, by the way, provided excellent service and had a couple of Mac computers  in the waiting room ready for surfing – nice touch!  They will be at the top of my list next time I’m in Chapel Hill and need tires or auto services – that is, if they keep their Google ranking up.

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I’m Dumber Than I Thought.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I have always believed that the essence of a good leader was to recognize what you don’t know and hire people who are smarter than you.  I still believe that is mostly true.  However, I learned  this past year that  my lack of detailed knowledge hurt me and my ability to give clear and precise directions to my vendors.

My New Year’s Resolution is to change that.

Tamara Weinberg just gave us (for her birthday) a great list of the Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009 and I am methodically re-posting each article on the JTMarCom Facebook FanPage. As I do that I am reading all the postings.

One posting from Louis Gray is:

40 Key Elements to Getting Started In Social Media

Tip number 5 is where I am starting.

1. Familiarize yourself with the basics of web-mastering. If you have not already done so, learn how to use FTP.

2. Learn the basics of HTML, and  the basics of  DNS how to configure it for your domain names. (How to Guide)

3. Learn how to configure a POP email account, and how to take a screen shot and edit and resize images.

The less you have to rely on someone for these basic tasks, the better off you will be and you might even save some out of pocket expenses.

I know you may know most of this but as I go through these list I always learn that I am not as smart as I think I am.

What do you want to learn or re-learn this year?

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I stalked Chris Brogan:)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

T-shirtThis is an image off of a t-shirt my husband John bought me as a joke from Despair.com. I thought it was pretty funny.  It captures  brilliantly the three behavioral disorders propelling the continued phenomenal growth of today’s most widely-trafficked social media sites. And the personality dysfunctional forces of Narcissism, ADHD, and Stalking  that reside today’s in the fast growing area of social media.

As a social media practitioner I freely admitted to the ADHD, (not a bad trait for a multi-tasker). Narcisissim not so much, but I must admit I do like it when my posts are re-tweeted. ( I call it being informative.) But I didn’t get the Stalking category.

I do Now. I am a big fan of Chris Brogan and read his blog eagerly every morning as I drink  my coffee. When I heard that his book “Trust Agents” needed a launch push and he offered to be a speaker for anyone willing to buy 200 books. I jumped at the chance.  I pulled out my credit card and bam, I had 200 books.

Then the shock set in. How was I going to move 200 books? Well the Nashville tech community came to the rescue.  Lynn Bennett at Stage Post Studios offered to host the event. Social Media Club of Nashville (who JTMarCom is donating some of the proceeds to) has helped promote the event with Jessica Murray and Georgia Cross of SMCNash helping any way they can. And most of all, Chris Brogan and his great mother Diane Brogan have helped pull this all together.

Below is our press release: Three days and counting. I am nervous and excited. We could not have done this without many fine people involved.

It’s not too late to sign up HERE for the live portion of the event and if you live elsewhere please tune in HERE to the  Free Video Web Cast provided by Author’s Way.

RELEASE

In their new New York Times best-selling book, “Trust Agents” co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make the case that the Internet has made it easier than ever to reach your customers.  It’s less likely, however, that they’ll listen.  Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.

In the video streaming webinar, Brogan will discuss how social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than a company’s marketing messages ever well –unless your business knows how to harness them.  He will provide valuable insights on how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan contends that trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or salespeople; they’re digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.  As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business’s reputation.

During the first two hours of the webinar (10 a.m. to 12 noon EST), Brogan will discuss how to build profitable relationships with trust agents and his six basic principles for becoming a trust agent yourself.

During the final hour of the webinar (12 noon to 1 p.m. EST), audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to Brogan  via phone, Twitter and email.  He will respond to as many questions time permitting and will sign books for these individuals.  Brogan’s book and a DVD of the webinar will also be available for purchase to all audience members through Authorsway.com.

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Common Social Media Mistakes

Monday, June 29th, 2009

By Erik Qualman, Search Engine Watch, Jun 29, 2009

A lot has been written about what to do within social media (this column included). As a refreshing change of pace, let’s look at some things to avoid.

1. Not Every Company Needs a Big Social Media Presence

Every social media tool isn’t appropriate for every product or service. Most of the common mistakes are happening within Facebook and Twitter because of all the media publicity these platforms are receiving. Executives think, “Wow, all I hear about is Twitter and Facebook, let’s make certain we get on those ASAP!”

But, as has been discussed in this column several times, sites such as Digg, Delicious, and YouTube may be more appropriate platforms or best first steps for companies, rather than the latest media darlings.

A good reality check: not too long ago, Technorati, Friendster, and MySpace were about to conquer the world. Today, you’d be hard-pressed to find any news about these companies at all. That should show you the fickleness of online media.

Companies sometimes go for the latest “shiny object” because the younger personnel within agencies and companies have fun designing programs within social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

While it’s fun for the employees to implement these initiatives, it may not make the most sense from an ROI standpoint. Almost every under-30-year-old uses Facebook every day, and hence they have an affinity to do a program with something they know. Not every 20-something knows how to adjust a Wikipedia entry, set up a company LinkedIn profile, or use Delicious.

The shiny object syndrome is illustrated by this example, when I saw an advertisement ingrained on a table within the food court of a mall in Cambridge, Mass. This table was some prime offline advertising real estate, and promoted that the mall now had a Facebook Fan Page.

Why on earth would I want to be a fan of a mall? If anything, I’d want to hear from the merchants in the mall — Apple, Anne Taylor, Taco Bell, etc. My guess is the mall FEARed (False Evidence Appearing Real) they were going to be left out.

2. Companies Overinvest Rather Than Keeping Things Light

Social media is changing faster than you can say swine flu, and it’s tough to spot the trends, even for the experts. That’s why it’s important to keep your investments as light and as nimble as possible.

Imagine if you’d invested heavily two years ago in MySpace development. This might be a little unnerving because MySpace just laid off 30 percent of their U.S. employees and more than 60 percent of their international employees. However, if you invested light and fast, then you aren’t in such a precarious position.

Even take a look at Facebook. Just a few years back, companies had to pay Facebook $150,000 for a sponsored group, which Facebook then changed to free fan pages, which then again were changed earlier this year to fan pages that resembled profiles.

3. Companies Believe Social Media Efforts Must Tie Into Existing Systems/Databases

This relates to keeping investments streamlined, particularly scarce internal IT resources.

I recently worked with one of the world’s largest cruise operators. And for their singles cruises, people wanted to meet before they departed. The cruise operator had hundreds of cruises that went to similar destinations at different times during the year.

Their internal system had the ability to identify which passengers were on which cruise, based on the assigned trip number and if that passenger was listed as single. Hoping to help reduce cancellations, they wanted passengers to meet prior to their cruise and the passengers also desired this “meet-up” functionality.

The cruise operator thought it would be best if their social media applications tied into their existing backend systems by this trip number. There were three main problems:

  1. Customers often didn’t know their trip number, hence this was a barrier to entry for the social media application.
  2. The system could only tell 90 days out who was specifically on which trip.
  3. It was going to be costly and time-consuming coding to allow the various systems to speak to one another.

This forced the cruise line to do what they should have done in the first place: think creatively. Companies don’t hold all the answers/information anymore. Hence, the cruise line simply allowed the travelers that were interested in meeting singles to tell where they were going and when they were going.

Some simple coding within the social media application then matched the travelers up. It also allowed travelers to see everyone going on the “Greek Paradise” cruise throughout the year, not just those users on their particular ship. This type of creative thinking saved the company time and money and delivered what the passengers wanted.

Everyone should “do” rather than “deliberate” in social media, by making light, smart investments that allow for flexibility. At the same time, make certain that the social media strategy is right for your particular company, not because everyone else is doing it. One size doesn’t fit all.

Submissions are now open for the 2009 Search Engine Watch Awards. Enter your company or campaign before July 17, 2009. Winners will be announced at SES San Jose.