Tag Archives: Social Media Events

Research your online marketing vendors

As I peruse the internet, I see more and more companies offering SEO, Internet Marketing, Link Building, Social Media Strategies and other online services to help you increase your page ranking, link juice and followers.

This is the digital age of snake oil and while there are many legitimate firms that are out there to help your online and social media presence in a very real and legal way, there are also the scammers trying to separate you from your marketing budget.

The reality is you should do your due diligence when seeking a provider, you should research everyone from your designer to your agency and if have someone handling social media check him out as well. This will ensure that you get the best people to handle your online presence.

Also be leary of your brother-in-law’s cousin who designs web pages, or your neighbor’s nephew. While sometimes it is good to hire people that you are acquainted with or receive positive feedback on, for the most part this can work against you and you will probably have a bigger problem on your hands in the long run.

I normally check out a person’s pass work and business relationships. I do not count a relative or one of their personal friends as a reference since who would give their buddy a bad review?

They should have bonafide business relationships and samples of worked performed or services rendered that show their competency as well as their ability to deliver. So that I can shorten this post here is something to remember when you hire a person or team with a real and proven track record, you will most likely achieve or receive the outcome you would be looking for.

If you cut corners and go with people that promise or say that they can achieve your outcome without any real research on your part, most likely you will end up losing money on a effort that was futile to begin with.

So do yourself a favor and research your vendors, in the long run it will save you time, money and frustration!

Click here to read an article from seomoz, a leading site on Search Engine Marketing and all things SEO related. Seomoz is now Moz and the little robot below is Roger their mascot.

Roger from MOZ

 

New ways to learn the skills that you need

Today’s learning is far different than when I went to school but I like the instant access the web has given us today for learning and grasping new technologies. With that in mind there are now a number of websites that you can sign up on and learn programming languages or even take business courses. These new ways can even be a factor in developing a skilled workforce from within your organization.

The following ones are great for entrepreneurs, business owners, front and back office personnel:

  • Udemy – They provide online learning for a number of different things from the arts to the humanities and everything in between. As far as learning is concerned it seems to be the most well-rounded set of offerings available on the web to date for continuous learners and it includes both paid and free courses.
  • Codecademy – More focused on the programming languages used on the web, JavaScript, Python, Ruby and XHTML (HTML) and CSS. This is a great site since you do not have to buy any additional software and the site uses various learning techniques to help you learn programming, to date one of my favorites and free for the most part.
  • Udacity – Mostly programming courses, very structured and intense, this site is currently offering a very limited set of courses but very intense and definitely for those who want or yearn higher level learning, not just the standard web development stuff, comes with homework and quizzes.
  • Gurushare – You can learn some of the older school technology here, like Crystal Reports XI and FreeMind, two programs that I use for business but it lacks many of the new applications and while I like it personally, I am not sure that it can sustain itself amidst all the other platforms for learning that are being develop and that are supported by stronger and younger communities.

These are great for learners of all ages and literacy levels:

  • Khan Academy – This is the grand daddy of the learning sites, Khan Academy site has one of the strongest communities available, it is free and the video lessons are used by brick and mortar schools all over the country. Lessons can be viewed on YouTube and iTunes alike and they can also be downloaded for later viewing using a Bit Torrent client. Their official Bit Torrent client is utorrent which can be downloaded for free (Check for system requirements, but as of this post, only available for windows). Mostly used by schools but math and knowledge of concepts will benefit you, no matter where you find yourself.
  • GCFLearnFree – This is probably one of the oldest ones on the web and probably still one of the most well-rounded ones in the whole bunch. The Goodwill Community Foundation, has one mission and that is to make people employable, so I give this site thumbs-up for their mission statement and the combination of text/images and videos makes this one of the most user friendly sites for all ages as well as for most literacy levels available. This site also includes learning social media and can be viewed on mobile devices as well.

There are many other learning sites out there, some are worth a look others are not. Google or use the BingĀ  search engine to seek out free learning sites and take a look at the different ones available, many follow similar styles of training others are almost nothing but text and images.

There are plenty of paid sites available which do offer good training but before you make the investment in time or money, check out the free ones first. What I learn is that online learning while good does not work for everyone, but before you make a monetary investment try it out for free first and that way you can determine if this type of learning works out best for you.

Keep in mind that if you are an employer, this could be a viable option for your employees. Many have laptops and can easily access these during their lunch hour. You can also set up rooms where after work they can logged in and take courses to increase their productivity, increase their skill levels and help them to qualify for higher paying positions within your organization.

Sincerely,

Eric

 

SES Conference – What did I think?

ses-newyork2012

In March I attended the SES conference & Expo at the Hilton Hotel in Manhattan. I have to say there was plenty of information being dispensed by means of express clinics (1+ hour learning seminars) to small groups and much larger venues with panels of speakers to appeal to bigger audiences.

First of all, if you read any of my post you probably noticed that I do attend many trade shows and expos dealing with marketing both traditional and online. However, in this day and age online marketing seems to be the big thing that individuals and businesses seem to focus on. The only traditional marketing trade show that I attend is the annual DMA (Direct Marketing Association) show which this year is to be held in Vegas and I probably will not attend this year.

The downside to online marketing is actually the medium itself, it constantly evolves, new standards are rapidly created and web development is constantly changing. It is like trying to hit a moving target that moves at lightning speed.

In order to stay afloat with your online programs, you need to learn new jargon, track new technologies, learn coding and understand formats. There is a need to constantly review the programs that you implement like SEO/SEM, social media, adwords, keyword placements, per-per-click and e-mail campaigns.

Many shows that I attended in the past, fell short of this idea since their focus was on grabbing new business and not truly educating the business person on what he needs to review and his ROI in relation to investments made in online intelligence (I consider all online marketing practices as intelligence). This is where SES comes in:

Most of the SES events this year covered the following:

  • How to design search engine-friendly web pages
  • Constructing a business case for your board to encourage a greater investment in search engine marketing
  • The basics of building links and why they are important to rankings
  • How to select an agency if you decide to go down this route
  • Manage your pay-per-click campaigns and analyzing your return on investment
  • Building an analytics package into your business and interpreting the results to build greater success
  • How to convert more of your visitors into buyers with refinements to landing pages
  • Better integrate search with your other marketing channels
  • Produce and optimize web video and audio content on your site
  • Tap into traffic from local search listings

I have to say that as far as SES goes it delivered, many of the companies that exhibited provided good overviews of their product and where they fit into the marketing mix. I thought that Microsoft had a great presence since they gave me a good explanation about the Bing Webmaster tools that I have recently begun using.

I also enjoyed my conversation with a company named Visistat who developed a GEO-IP based analytical and web capture software for online sales and marketing teams, BTW I started to use it as a result of trying it at the show and it had a tiered pricing structure based on usage and page views that even very small mom and pop firms could afford.

The downside to SES, many of the companies exhibiting were still catering to larger Fortune 500 companies with huge marketing budgets and many of the web applications were enterprise level programs attached to enterprise level pricing so many of the online programs were way out of our reach to use. This alone makes it difficult to keep going to these shows and finding suitable vendors with reasonably priced programs for small to medium size businesses.

Other than that I will attend next year since I did receive good information and hopefully I may try some new online programs next year if their pricing structure goes down!

Sincerely,

 

Eric

Social Media Strategies – What will work for you in 2012?

 

SEO Strategies in 2012

Search the Internet on Social Media and you will get clobbered by a plethora of options and suggestions as to how to go about your social media strategy for 2012. I will not tell you what you need to do but I will tell you that in this day and age, any business that does not have a plan in mind will suffer in the long run.

Today, all companies need to include some social media marketing into their mix, like it or not, it is here to stay and will only evolve over time. Of course not everything is created equal, for instance I manage the social media outlet for a medium business that provides services for other SMBs (small and medium-size businesses).

Their demographics or universe is quite small as compared to a consumer-based outfit that may cater to individuals on a global or regional scale. So Facebook for them is not an option because 90% of their traffic comes from industry-specific portals. These are the sites that most business people go to for specific products and services, for the most part they know where to look!

When I visited one social media trade show and let me tell you, I have been to quite a few, it amazes me that most of the attendees are still smaller outfits vying for the market on selling deals in localized markets, home goods, mom and pop shops, software, phones, magazines, books, music, foods, downloads and the list goes on.

Do you get the point, while social media trade shows provide some good information, even many of these events do not cater to markets where the need for social media may not be so clear. So it calls for you to do your due diligence and research areas where social media can be implemented effectively to increase your presence to your target market.

Let me provide one very basic example and I mean basic! For instance let’s say that you represent or work for a firm that strictly deals with HR, so for you researching LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Monster may be a start. Why, because you know that these sites or portals received huge amounts of traffic from possible candidates that fit your need or meet your business model.

I neglected to say Facebook because while they have apps that can be used to cull out business profiles from one’s Facebook account, it is still an app and many more conservative business professionals would not want to share a site with their 12-year old. Facebook is still primarily a social networking site for friends and family. See the NY Times article: Sifting the Professional From the Personal.

Of course this is my personal opinion and I feel that Facebook will eventually go the way of Myspace which is now rarely spoken about by most young people that you meet.

Enough of Facebook, the point is do your research find out where the traffic you want is going, build a company page in LinkedIn, don’t stop there, start a blog, go to WordPress, Tumblr or Blogger and write about employment issues, get links from sites that you want to build strategic partnerships with.

Adwords are good but these programs can get pricey, learn before you burn cash in any PPC program. Remember there are a lot of SEO, PPC and social media charlatans on the net, if you do decide to go the route of an agency check them out thoroughly and check their references out as well, make sure that the reference is not a brother-in-law or someone who benefits from their business other than getting quality work and good traffic.

As I said before you need it but start out small, learn as much as you can, there are plenty of websites designed to teach you about social media, just go to the marketing links on this site and you will see plenty.

Understand where your traffic is going and remember the only way to win it is to be in it!