Category Archives: Social

Is Social Media Really Useful?

like 300x195 Is Social Media Really Useful?If you keep up with trends on the internet then you’ve probably heard so much about social media that you’re sick of hearing the term.  Everyone, from marketers to major corporations, are turning their attention to social media.  The biggest problem, however, is that social media ROI is still nearly impossible to calculate.  This begs the quest of whether or not social media is actually useful or if people are just dazzled by the latest shiny object.

Is there an ROI?

Companies all over the world are spending significant amounts of money trying to break into the world of social media.  Ordinarily, a marketing strategy would need to prove its positive ROI before such large sums of money are allocated to it.  Social media, on the other hand, insists on being supported without proving itself in any solid way.

The biggest catalyst behind the debate about social media ROI is that some people are benefiting much more than others.  Unlike traditional forms of marketing, you can’t simply throw a lot of money at these platforms and expect to see a real return.  Social media actually requires a deep understanding of customers and readers as well as an ability to think creatively.

One reason that many companies aren’t seeing much of a return from their efforts, no matter how much money they spend on it, is that they’re stuck in the old way of thinking.  Social media truly is something new in the world.  When you really think about it, nothing like this has ever existed.  Operating in an old fashioned way yet expecting to dominate something brand new is a recipe for failure.

How to get an ROI

With this in mind, you might be wondering how to actually get a return from social media.  The key here is to get creative.  You need to break free of stale, old, marketing concepts and begin to look at things from the perspective of the typical user.

This is actually easier than most people think.  Nearly everyone with access to the internet is on one social media platform or another.  These accounts are often not related to work in any way.  People go on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr for fun.  They’re looking for something interesting, entertaining or informative.

The real secret to social media is getting your readers, fans, followers to share the things you post.  This can be planned for if you think about the type of things you share on your personal accounts.  People are unlikely to share advertising or an obvious marketing article but the love sharing anything humorous.  Stylish images are also popular because people feel as if the imagery helps define their personality.

A new age

This is a new age and social media is a bit of a wild frontier.  It’s also an even playing ground because a home business can, very easily, launch a more successful marketing campaign than a Fortune 500 corporation.  The best way to understand this new world is to spend some time in it.  Stop thinking like a marketer or business owner and start thinking like someone who is turning to the internet for entertainment.  Before long, you should begin to see a number of new strategies that can often be very effective while not costing very much at all.

FanBox is a combination of the best attributes of Facebook, Etsy, eBay, Blogger, PayPal and many others. However, unlike Facebook, you actually earn from your content.  Visit the official Fanbox Google+ page

 

Using Indiegogo & Boost GoGoFactor

slide16logo 300x240 Using Indiegogo & Boost GoGoFactor Indiegogo is a great resource for anyone who wants to promote an idea and get it crowdfunded into existence. The site features over 9 million different users who are all more than willing to invest in projects that interest them. While the website is great and it has an incredibly loyal following, many people may not know how to maximize their experience with it. If you’re like me and just now heard about the gogo factor (the algorithm used by Indiegogo to determine your campaign’s page rank and exposure) then you need to get moving now! In order to boost your campaign you’ll need to rely on some expert assistance. This allowed my project to get the most exposure while freeing up my time to manage the campaign more. People new to crowdfunding may not know that BoostGoGoFactor.com is their best choice for professional marketing assistance if they are using indiegogo. They can cover all your bases by focusing on boosting your campaign’s gogo factor score.

While there are a whole slew of different marketing products and services that are out there, none compare to the specialized help that boostgogofactor is capable of offering people on Indiegogo. There unique service can really help to take your indiegogo campaign to the next level. It is easily one of the best choices for anyone looking to get their Indiegogo project out there and into the public eye. What makes the service so great and so crucial to a successful crowdfunding campaign is its ability to boost a project’s gogofactor. This gogo factor is what determines how much exposure a project gets on the Indiegogo platform and it allows more people to see the campaign. Their whole team was also there every step of the way to help me with whatever I needed. Their help was priceless!

Now, its important to learn that when a project has a greater gogofactor it gains more exposure. You need to know this! More exposure means more potential backers. And more potential backers means your project and your dreams can become a reality. In a world where many people have difficulty reaching their intended audience and earning the proper funds to finance their ideas,  BoostGoGoFactor solves this issue once and for all. They are a much needed and refreshing addition to the crowdfunding community, especially seeing what the alternatives are. There is no reason that a campaign will have to suffer ever again by lack of exposure. I found that even the most inexperienced marketer can rely on this service to provide them with an incredible amount of support and assistance.

Another major advantage thatBoost GoGoFactor gives us is the potential for your project and campaign to become featured on the main page of Indiegogo. This is a huge advantage that can cause funding to skyrocket. Whole projects can become fully financed in no time thanks to this incredible opportunity. Even more obscure and niche projects can still benefit from this service. Because of the fact that BoostGoGoFactor.com helps items to rank higher in the pages and be seen, campaigns with a limited appeal can still hit their target audience and catch their interest. This is really good for people that want to make something close to their heart even if it might not have a whole lot of mainstream appeal. Their past clients range from large campaigns with hot new gadgets to community projects that support a good cause.

BoostGoGoFactor.com is a wonderful and fantastic tool. It can make all the difference in the world for people trying to get funded on Indiegogo. Using this service allows projects to develop a loyal following and secure the funding that they deserve without difficulty. It saves on time and frustration, allowing people who are developing the project to focus on getting out their dreams and making something that is revolutionary. They do the heavy lifting for you and help manage your campaign. This expertise saves you time and makes the whole crowdfunding experience less of a maze. This helped us get the funding we needed to launch or first line of 100% Vegan Cookies (google: Best Vegan Cookies!). Now go out there, boost your campaign and get the exposure you need too!

Remember, as Steve Jobs says: “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.

-Vicki G.

Head Chef and Co-founder of the best 100% Vegan cookies in the world! icon smile Using Indiegogo & Boost GoGoFactor

Which SEO Strategies Will Work in 2013?

page rank 300x195 Which SEO Strategies Will Work in 2013?

Okay, I’m a little late jumping on the boat with this one as we’re already two weeks into 2013, but I thought I’d share the techniques I think will be working for search engine optimization, and a few more predictions on the world of SEO in the year to come.

Loads and loads of content.

For a while now the amount of content needed to rank well has, in general been increasing. Posts of 300 words would have ranked once upon a time, but not anymore, and though in general it is said that 4-500 words should be your minimum, I’m of the opinion that in most cases, more content is better. I have noticed in recent weeks and months when doing keyword research that one aspect has seemed to hold more weight than all others when it is being decided what rises to the top, and that is the amount of content. The other day I was doing keyword research for a new article for my travel blog. The highest ranking result had a partial match domain, a Page Rank of 0, and wasn’t a huge site, but the page itself had TONS of content, videos, text and photos, it is obvious to me that this is why it was deemed good enough to be Google’s top dog.

I’m not saying that writing a really long post on a brand new blog guarantees it top spot, and a 1,000 word post on your 2 week old blog probably wont outrank a 500 word post on the Huffington Post, but content should definitely underpin your SEO strategy.

Quality over Quantity Links

This isn’t new, really, and recent updates from the big G have definitely worked towards trimming the fat regarding poor link profiles. When I started trying to rank sites I would write on any article directory going, but this is not the case anymore, one high profile site putting your article online with a dofollow link will be far more effective than 20 links on spammy article directories. Directories aren’t to be discounted, but if they are relevant, they can be quality links too.

Social

I’m not the only SEO enthusiast who talks a lot about social, and I do believe that the social aspects of the internet already hold a lot of weight, which will continue to grow as time goes on. Social sites go far beyond Twitter and Facebook and expect Pinterest, Scoop.It and many more similar sites to become more powerful as time goes on. Of course, it makes sense that Google Plus holds a lot of power for obvious reasons.

In summary, I’m going back to basics for 2013. I’ve heard an awful lot of success stories from people doing little to no back linking. Although I will aim to get some high profile guest spots, my main focus is output of quality content (and lots of it). People talk about natural looking link profiles, well what better way to achieve a natural looking link profile than to make sure it actually is created naturally? Stick your white hats on and strap in for the long haul.

Finally, a bit of recommended reading for you over at Spencer Haws’ Niche Pursuits, in which he talks about a lot of these techniques and how he is ranking two new authority style sites:

http://www.nichepursuits.com/another-niche-site-another-500-a-month/

 

Building Backlinks to Squidoo Lenses

I owe a lot to Squidoo, it is probably the main thing responsible for getting me into online income and the idea of making a living out of my writing and blogging skills. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this article you know a little about Squidoo already, but for anyone who doesn’t, you should know that it is a publishing platform which rewards their best articles with affiliate commissions and revenue share payouts, these payouts work on a ‘tiered’ system and you get paid more depending on how well your own articles (or “lenses”) rank within the system.

The best way to get higher rankings and more income on Squidoo is traffic, and as you probably know already one of the best ways to get your hands on this traffic is to rank well on Google. Organic traffic is key, especially if you have a lot of Squidoo lenses – you’re not going to be in a position to drive the traffic via social networks and other methods without investing huge amounts of time. Squidoo has a lot of authority meaning that it is respected by search engines, and the on page SEO is going to be pretty good as long as you follow their guidelines, but getting to the top of Google isn’t easy, but the two main areas are keyword research backlinks, as I’ll talk about today.

Building Backlinks to Squidoo

In my experience, it still takes a few backlinks and a chunk of time to see results on the first page of Google, and sometimes I don’t even reach it then. If you search for “How to get my music out there” or “How to get out there with my music” one of the top results is a lens by yours truly which pulls in a lot of traffic, but if you search for a term such as “what is the best way to drink whiskey”, this isn’t quite there yet (if you’re reading this after January 2013 I hope it is, but you get the gist). So what should you do in terms of backlinks to give it a boost?

  • Do some inter-linking. Send people from one lens to another if you have a lot.
  • If you have articles on the subject elsewhere on the internet, ping them to your Squidoo lens.
  • Put your Squidoo profile and lenses on any social profiles, or even make a social profile for them such as “lensmaster Ben”
  • Bookmark them to Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon etc.
  • Be proactive on Squidoo Forums.
  • Utilize any free WordPress blogs or Tumblr/Blogger/Livejournals to send a link their way.
  • Use Squidoo Lens tools, people make specific sites where you can bookmark your Squidoo lenses, the site has an active community and therefore lots of spin-offs like this.
  • AVOID SPAM: Okay this is quite a big deal for Squidoo, I’ve heard a lot of people say that Squidoo can handle Spammy links, but do not risk it, you could get your account banned and Google still might not put your lens high up on their results, they don’t value spam and it has no real benefit!

 

As with most SEO techniques I talk about, a lot of it is Social, with Squidoo you’re at a distinct advantage to if it were your own brand new blog because the site is so well trusted and highly regarded, a few social links and a bit of love in other parts of your internet empire may be enough to catapult your lens to number one on the search results (IF you have done your keyword research right).

Benefits of Squidoo

Squidoo is basically an online publishing platform, allowing users to create what it calls “lenses” covering certain topics in the same way they might write posts on a blog. It is very different to the likes of Ezine articles in that it has a cool user area that is almost like a game, offering points rewards for certain activities and achievements and encouraging a rich community surrounding the website, which it certainly has! Squidoo is a revenue sharing website and rewards the best content published on their site (which it ranks in its own internal system) with cash payouts every month. Lots of people love Squidoo and use it for many different purposes. I’m going to cover some of the key benefits of Squidoo here.

Making Money on Squidoo

One of the key benefits of the site is that it can be a great way to make money! They pay you for hitting the top rankings or ‘tiers’ of their site, which you achieve by creating good quality content that gets good traffic, and the best ‘lenses’ can make up to $50 a month. Not bad for one ‘article’ I’m sure you’ll agree. Many people would be publishing their work elsewhere if not on Squidoo and not making cash, so any money that can be made from the site is a real bonus. The money aspect of the site means there is a whole industry around buying and selling lenses and some people even make a full time living publishing on the site, or at least use it as a spring board for other online ventures.

Backlinks from Squidoo

Squidoo can provide some really high quality links back to your website. By creating a lens that ranks well and gets linked to around the site, you can leech off the site’s authority and Page Rank. I’ve seen individual lenses hit up to PR6 on the site, which is undeniably a really powerful link, and a better way to spend your time than creating spammy articles for directories. There are a few other sites where you can do the same thing and effectively leech off of their authority like this, which is a good technique for building QUALITY links to your website, something we should all be focusing on.

The Community

As I’ve already stated, the Squidoo community is thriving! Their comment system as well as spring off forums mean you can share advice, techniques and other information. Having a community ethos can really help you to drive on and become successful on the site, the people are really great and will happily share some of their techniques, so you can learn from the best Squidoo-ers out there!

Easier to Rank

It could be argued that a Squidoo lens is easier to rank than an article on your own website. The authority that the site already has means that items it publishes are highly thought of by the search engines and they trust them enough to rank highly, whereas your own site might mean you have to build that trust from scratch.

Should You Buy Online Marketing Services on Fiverr?

fiverr-logo

Fiverr has swept the world over the past few years. The online platform to buy and sell services for the princely sum of five dollars is something that has been embraced the world over, allowing people to buy services or even products for an extremely affordable price and also allowing people to make money selling their expertise or services.

For service providers, their items for sale (also known as “gigs”) are usually not extremely time consuming, which allows them to sell on bulk and therefore provides a financially viable business model, so they don’t end up working for a pittance. This model also works well as a form of outsourcing, as for people providing their services in places such as india or parts of asia, $5 can be a lot of money.

Is Fiverr Good For Online Marketing Services?

Some of the most popular type of gigs on Fiverr are related to online marketing. People offering their service promoting your website or online presence. Below I’ve listed some of the more popular ones, and my advice on whether or not you should buy them:

  • SEO Services. This includes website reports, social bookmarking and fiverr link building services. I’ve listed this one first as you need to be really careful with it. Google have hit a lot of different types of link building recently, and if you want to rank highly, it is really important that you take care of the links pointing back to your site. Perhaps the kind of care that somebody looking to build links on bulk wont be willing to. If you have a lot of sites and you don’t mind if one of them tanks, by all means experiment, but as the old saying goes “you pay peanuts, you get monkeys”, and nobody wants an ape building their links.
  • Article Writing. I’d recommend this service in a lot of cases, but make sure you check out their reviews and that they have a lot of happy customers. Paying $5 for an article can be a great way to get new content for your sites or to submit to article directories or as guest posts for a good solid backlink. A slight risk, but find the right gigs and you’re well on your way.
  • Social Networks. This one can be really hit and miss, and depends on how genuine the service provider is. You’ll find gigs offering loads of new followers, or to sponsor a tweet to their followers. If you find a relevant and targeted audience in this way you might well find a degree of success, but you may also find that people are selling you access to fake followers and spammy profiles. Beware.
  • Video and graphics. Video and graphics are both a cool way of marketing, and if you find someone who is good at creating these for a fiver, and are happy to publish it on your own networks then it can be effective for marketing and SEO. Again there is a slight risk involved, but less than the other services mentioned. To get a logo for your blog for $5 is also an amazing benefit of the site.
  • Traffic. Okay, as a rule of thumb, I’d suggest that you never ever ever buy traffic. It won’t convert if you’re trying to sell a product, it won’t make you money out of advertising and it will probably be spammy and automated. You do not want your site associated with this and even if there are some good traffic services out there, it simply isn’t worth the risk.

There are some other more creative online marketing services on Fiverr, and people are always thinking of new gigs to sell. A lot of finding out what works for you is experimentation, but hopefully the above list is helpful when deciding where to go with your online marketing.

Why Build a Mailing List?

mailing list

I’ve been blogging for some time now. I wish I started years ago, but there’s simply no time for regrets, right? In that time I’ve not really focused on one of the key aspects of blogging, and I think that I can move my sites up to the next level by doing so. What am I talking about? Mailing lists. So why the change of heart? Why decide to focus on my list now?

I’ve had a mailing list since I started this blog (same for my other sites) and I always give people the option to sign up, but it has always just been a footnote really.  A small sidebar link with the odd ‘don’t forget to sign up’ here and there. Getting peoples email address never used to be a priority, but I’m beginning to see the merits of them (hence this post on why build a mailing list in the first place).

The Money Is in the List

The money is in the list, or so they say. Money isn’t my only motive for blogging, but we’ve all got to earn a crust. This saying is circulated a lot in internet marketing, but why?

  • People don’t just give their address out willy-nilly. Think of the last few times you chose to give out your email address, you either got something for doing so, or you really wanted to make sure you stayed in the loop, right? That’s what I want; to make it easy for people to stay in the loop by trusting me with their email address. I don’t spam people, I don’t send emails just for the sake of it, and I do so to build my community, and make sure people don’t miss out on what I’m trying to deliver.
  • In case google can your site. This is one of my key reasons for building a list. At the moment, a lot of my traffic comes from Google, and that’s great (pretty much every blogger and site owner wants this), but I don’t like relying on Google. A list of devoted fans who I can reach directly takes Google out of the equation and means if for any reason my site falls down their rankings, I still have an audience.
  • Second contact. I don’t want people to just see my site once and never come back, especially not if they like it! I know I go to sites I like and then forget to ever visit them again. This way, people can make that contact and I know they will see me again, giving me a chance to deliver more value and hopefully build up their trust before I stab them in the back with my spam (just kidding, no spam, remember!)
  • It’s just sensible. If people are seeing my site and willing to give me their address, I might as well let them, I can then utilise this however I see fit in the future.
  • Guaranteed Visitors (almost). If I have a mailing list of 10,000 people (I can dream) and a click through rate of 20%, I know that when I put out a new post and send it out in a mailshot I will have around 2,000 people see it. That’s a big boost for any blogger, and I would love to be in that situation in the future. It doesn’t mean I’ll just email them for the sake of it, but it will be nice to have created that audience for myself.

 

So, get off your butt and build a list! Whether you use MailChimp (like me) or AWeber (like a lot of people), you’ll be able to reach loads of people with your newly formed list! Remember though, NO SPAMMING (I really am passionate about that).

Coming soon: A post about building your list!

Why Twitter Messaging Doesn’t Work for Marketers

twitter-logo

Millions of people use Twitter to great effect every single day. It is an amazing way to grow a following, reach out to people, connect and market. Whether you’re marketing a product, a service or a blog or website, Twitter can be great, but there is one aspect of the social network that wont do anything at all for your blog. Twitter messaging. It doesn’t work, and here is why…

Don’t get me wrong, I like the way Twitter messaging works in general, and in principle it is a great way to connect and chat, but it hasn’t worked out like that since Twitter launched in 2006.

Every website has its spam problems, and Twitter is no exception, though you get a lot of spammy tweets and profiles, they’re kind of easy to ignore, but the main area associated with spam is the messages section. People have in the past built auto-responders to send out messages to everyone that follows them, or they have physically go in and send a copied and pasted message asking them to like a product, check out a profile, read a blog or any of the other actions marketers want you to do. I’m here to tell you it quite simply does not work.

The fact of the matter is, the system is abused. People don’t exactly think ‘oh this guy would like my new photography blog, I’ll message him’, the photography blog owner is just looking for any clicks they can get, and who can blame them, but ultimately the inbox of a twitter user is full of these type of messages, and they provide no value. The best way to connect with anybody is to offer them value, through information usually, and by just begging for a click in a message, you’re not doing this at all.

On top of that, the amount of spammy links you see in a Twitter inbox, most people stop even visiting their inboxes. I wont even use twitter as a way to connect with people I already know, because I know that they will have lost their patience with the messaging system long ago.

Twitter has loads of great uses, and amazing ways that you can promote your site, brand or product/service, but please, don’t add any more rubbish to the messages feature, you wont see any benefits of doing so, and neither will your target audience.

Why Do People Blog?

why_blog

With the boom in the internet over the last 15 years or so, we have seen the invention and exciting development of a concept that almost everybody is now familiar with; the blog. Figures thrown out there about the amount of blogs in the world are usually between the 100 million and 200 million mark; that’s a big chunk of the world of hyperspace! Whether we like it or not, and whether we write or even read them, blogs are most definitely here to stay. Which of course poses an interesting question; Why do people blog?

20 years ago a Blog wasn’t even a thing – certainly not as we know it today. So how is it that it has become such a key part of modern society? You can begin to get an idea of the huge amount of reasons behind peoples desire to keep an online journal by the shear quantity and diversity of the blogs out there in the world. From Sports blogs to fashion blogs, educational blogs to funny blogs, blogs by 6 year olds to blogs by 92 year olds, photo blogs, music blogs, happy blogs and sad blogs. All exist for a reason…

  • To keep track of something. Maybe you’re studying for an exam, and a blog would be much more fun and easy than a set of study guides, plus you can share it and make it interactive. Maybe you want to keep track of something more public, such as an ambition or goal (an athlete blogging about a journey to the olympics, or blogging about the tribulations of college).
  • To promote something. Blogging can be a great way to build an audience and promote things such as a product launch, a book, a band or artist, a film, a service…the list is endless. By creating a bunch of interesting content, you can gain new fans and even shift a product and make some money.
  • To let it all out! Blogging is a great way to share your emotions and feelings, and get things off your chest, whether you’re expecting people to read it or not. You can even stay anonymous so as not to offend or get yourself in trouble.
  • To make money. Ooh yes, there’s money in blogging, whatever people say, for every scam ‘get rich quick’ scheme there’s a genuine story of somebody making a living blogging, and it definitely does happen. That doesn’t mean its easy, but it can be done and is definitely a reason.
  • To build a community. To have a blog can make you the epicentre of a community or a certain ‘niche’. This can build your reputation or help you to network and make friends.

The “Why is My Blog Not Getting Visitors?” Dilemma

visitors

Most of us start a blog in order to share something with the world. We might want to make money out of our blogs, promote a service, or simply say what we feel we need to say, but the one thing almost every blog has in common is that it was made on the assumption that people would visit it and read it. Of course, it’s not always that easy, unfortunately. There are literally millions of blogs on the internet, and the competition for virtually any niche you want to write about is huge. That’s not to say nobody cares about your blog though, and I’m a firm believer that the best content will shine through in the end, so how can you make sure that you get the visitors you deserve?

Well first off, you need to make sure your blog is optimised for search engines such as google. This is where a huge amount of your potential audience is probably going to go for the information you’re providing, and if you’re not obeying their rules and regulations, you may well get left behind. It doesn’t have to be that complex, though. Check out the awesome wordpress plugin ‘Yoast’. If you’re using WordPress as your Content Management System, then I would recommend a plugin such as this to get your site ticking the right boxes. I wont start a sermon on SEO, but suffice to say that some link building, guest posts and social bookmarking for your site will go a long way.

Of course, the content you are writing has to be good too. General consensus says that over 400 words and below 1000 words is the ideal length of a post for Google to respect and rank. You should write with enthusiasm and make sure you include plenty of keywords that people are looking for on Google. If you’re not sure which to target, check out Google’s very own Keyword Tool.

Be Social, and be everywhere. One of the best ways to drive traffic is to engage on social networks. The only down side is that the traffic is not residual, but if you join in with the conversations already existing on social networks, you can start to build a name for yourself as an authority on a subject. Traffic, and followers, will come.

Finally, my number one golden nugget of a tip is to BE PATIENT and STICK AT IT. You wont get there overnight, you just wont. This post itself is targeting a top spot of google, sure, I’d love to be on the first page, but it wont be there straight away. Google takes time to rank things, and once you’re on the proverbial ladder, you still have to climb it. Social networks will take a while to build up followers, and overnight success is non existant in the brutal world of blogging. Do it out of passion and set long term goals and success will (eventually) follow.

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