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Digbert's World

Social media marketers, here is my top pet peeve. Designing content is difficult, agreed, but at the very least, the content should do something for the reader other than extol your products’ awesomeness. A lot of the current social media content appears to be based on the old school thinking that typically follows the three steps.

  • grab attention, get reader to notice
  • include a call to action, somehow, even if it seems forced
  • pimp products/services or brand, hoping for a purchase

This works well for the typical print advertisement and has even carried over to email marketing and sometimes television. This works for certain approaches but almost never on social media. It has already been noted and shown multiple times that advertising on social media does not work. Several noted experts have mentioned that we need to do stop thinking about “pimping out your stuff on social media.” Yet, hundreds of posts across dozens of platforms do just that.

Pause for a moment and contemplate this from the point of the receiver. What type of content do you want as a social marketer. Content that aggravates or frustrates like advertising, or content that I, the recipient, found so useful that I want to share it with my ‘friends’ and my social peeps. Social media content does not necessarily need a call to action, this is not a magazine and you are not creating an advertisement. So, social media marketers,

Stop thinking about “will you buy this” start thinking about “will you share this”

  • gain attention
  • tell a brief story on something that the reader wants to share
  • make it easy to share

Still boils down three steps with nothing force fed. Instead of hawking out your products proud attributes, talk about its different uses or a story about how some people have used it that is of value to your community. Create a how-to post, write about how your employees use the product in their daily lives, or feature a departments role in getting the product to the consumer.  Use it for recruiting, use it for storytelling, use it for almost everything except to just pimp our your products. Content that is share worthy is just all around you, you just have to look.

Inspiration for post: This post was inspired by my involvement in a rather long term social media research effort that I am attempting to share socially. This is the result of several rounds of interviews, content analyses and number crunching.

This question has probably been asked about a million times and answered a few hundred thousand times only to come up every now and again. Lets quickly roll through what you could have done to improve your SEO. Assuming you have done the most important basic items, a) create original content, b) make content interesting, share on social media and on other sites then you probably are waiting patiently for the PageRank to change. What you have done thus far is something that is necessary and obviously something you should be doing on an ongoing basis. However, remember that PageRank is primarily concerned about links and their quality. there are three main reasons why your PageRank has not changed.

1) PageRank is primarily interested in the number of unique links from external sources that link to your carefully created content.

2) The quality of those inbound links is even more important for PageRank to change.

3) Lets say you have done the basics and satisfied conditions 1 and 2, remember that PageRank is updated only once a while, usually in conjunction with large scale Google algorithm updates. So it may be several months before you actually see a change.

So, keep doing the right things and keep at it. PageRank success will follow. Matt Cutts explains this very clearly in a recent video attached below that you can review. a summary of the recommendations he provides before you start worrying about PageRank is below.

1) Make sure the structure of the website is very well designed. Matt suggests a clear tree like structure

2) Within this structure, make sure to highlight static links to the most important pages (content perhaps) within 1 or 2 steps away from the main page.

3) Emphasize the original content and make sure to let other people know of the content’s presence (presumably through social media and newsletters etc)

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Hummingbird & SEO. What does it mean for you?

On October 11, 2013, in Internet Marketing, by Raj Murthy

hummingbird seoThe new Hummingbird update from Google has set the SEO world atwitter. Understandably the tweets and the blog posts and the stories are starting to make it look a worse than it actually is for the industry. If you have asked yourself what is Google’s play here, what are they up to now? All you need to look at is the last paragraph of the Google Hummingbird update blog post.

We’ll keep improving Google Search so it does a little bit more of the hard work for you. This means giving you the best possible answers, making it easy to have a conversation and helping out before you even have to ask. Hopefully, we’ll save you a few minutes of hassle each day. So keep asking Google tougher questions—it keeps us on our toes! After all, we’re just getting started.”

Which in regular English speak actually means

Google is trying to return content that is relevant to the query without prioritizing content that just happens to use the exact same phrasing. By being smarter about how they pick results they improve their understanding of the context within which the search is requested. Context and conversational (voice) search will get better and will give you more usable results.

Its nearly as simple as that. Given that so many more people have started to search using natural language such as “Who is Raj Murthy” or “What is the height of mount Everest” Google is now trying return the most accurate and appropriate content and not just anyone who fits the bill and just so happens to (by SEO design of course) use the same exact phrasing. With the rapidly rising group of consumers using voice based search this becomes even more important to return better results the very first time. Its all part of what I now see as Google’s larger scale integration and incremental updates.

So what does this mean for your SEO efforts. Absolutely nothing. Nothing has changed, you will still need to continue creating the best original content that engages users. The SEO industry is safe and SEO is not once again dead, party on.

sminfluenceSometimes you just want to be a number….said no one ever. Just in case you do want your influence to be boiled down to a number then read on. KLOUT along with KRED and PeerIndex are three distinct social influence scoring sites that all claim to measure your influence across several social networks. KLOUT and KRED in particular appear to have gathered the most attention and anecdotal reports have indicated it has been used in job interviews and even in scoring assignments. If you understand the way in which all these scoring algorithms work undoubtedly there will be very logical ways in which you could increase your score.

KLOUT itself proclaims that “The best way to increase your Score is to create content that people want to share and respond to. For the most accurate Score, be sure to connect all of your social networks. The more that others engage with your content such as through retweet, mention, like, comment, etc, the higher your Score will be. Learn more about the Klout Score here: http://klout.com/corp/kscore

Insightful information indeed. But how exactly does one go about getting those coveted retweets, shares and messages. Here are some unofficial tips that I have tested out both personally and for a research project I was involved in earlier this summer.

Its who you know, not what you know

1) The obvious way to increase your score is to find and engage with an Internet celebrity (look for their KLOUT scores) and engage with them on Twitter. Engaging with influencers in your area will not only make for a better social experience but also in the process likely increase your score.

Take a page from someone’s book

2) Literally, as in find quotes that are extremely appropriate for your target group or your audience members and spread the word. Quotes are easy to understand, they are often retweeted and also engaged with especially if you can find one that fits your area. For e.g. I work in academia and often attend meetings. By far the favorite quote I have come across is….’Rome did not build an empire by having more meetings, they did it by killing anyone who disagreed with them’.  This is a sample of a quote that can be easily identified with by members of most communities.

Join a Gang

3) Community building is an important effort no matter why you do it. Building a strong community around you in any one platform (A blog for instance, or LinkedIn) provides you the opportunity to speak with a small but tight group of people who can help you amplify the reach of your messages. Your personal network and community are the ones who are most likely to share your posts, retweet you or engage with you. The larger your community the better your chances.

Play favorites or Pick a Fight

4) More specifically start a discussion around a topic. Interaction is a facet of attention and attention is gained by either providing valuable content or by starting a discussion and encouraging others to chime in so they may have their say. Ask for input on a topic that is familiar and important to your community. Participate in a Twitter chat and defend your position. Start a blog club similar to a book club and discuss away one day of the week.

Pigeon Hole Yourself

5) Identify some niches (notice I say niches, not just one niche) where you have expertise and where you can add valuable content and comments. Interactions here help you gain followers and traction for your posts. Members of a niche community, even in the fringes, are looking for your voice to be part of the conversation. Here are some tips on how to select words that get you retweeted or quoted from Dan Zarella via BruceClay.com

Double Dip

6) KLOUT should be connected to several of your networks. The more networks that you connect it to, the more likely your score remains stable or higher. This is important even if you are not quite as active across the different media. Connecting several networks allows you double dip on the attention your posts, blogs and tweets get. It may be helpful to tweet about your blog posts, post about your YouTube video on Facebook and update LinkedIn with some content from your Tweets. Cross pollination also helps with your fragmentation and scheduling times. Perhaps your tweet goes unnoticed in a sea of other tweets but your LinkedIn community may yet find that fantastic post on your blog through a LinkedIn update of the same post. It also helps to space out or temporally distribute these updates to get the maximum effect without having your repeat the same information several times.

Put it on the Planner

7) Use a scheduling app, I use Buffer. It helps you schedule your posts so that you can send out your updates at the most opportune times. A higher frequency is often correlated with higher scores but do it without angering or annoying your network. Tweeting more could possibly increase your score or it may just annoy your current audience so much that they decided to leave you.

Well, there you have it, my unofficial advice for you to increase your influence scores and achieve social media stardom. Remember its not the size that matters, except apparently in social media influence scores.

instagram150millionToday is a significant day at Instagram, the company announced that it had reached 150 million active users with more than 50 million of these active users joining in the last 6 months. A blog post from the company reveals this milestone and its global reach.

Most users and experts alike had speculated that Instragram’s business model for making money would include some form of advertising but a Wall Street Journal post (via @evelynrusli) indicates that the company is carefully considering options unlike Facebook that just jumped into too many things at the same time. Maintaining the ‘coolness’  of Instagram while implementing a seemingly non intrusive monetization strategy is indeed going to be difficult. Instagram much like Pintrest is a user driven community with all content actively being created and curated by its users. Some possible business models include

1) Advertise brands tagged or automatically found within pictures.

2) Featured content that companies are charged for and promoted (ala sponsored content on Facebook)

3) Ability to do a twist on affiliate marketing where viewers can click on photos to purchase the item found on the picture in an m-commerce transaction.

None of these are going to happen without backlash from the user base. 150 million is an impressive number but history suggests that aggressive efforts often frustrate and anger users. The one thing going for Instagram is that they are not under pressure like Facebook to reveal a full business model.