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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Monitoring Online Social Media Mentions

Dancing ... I mean Listening to Yourself
It may be six months or a year before your blog begins to develop traction. Your initial goal as a marketing manager was to “move the needle” in terms of your company, product, brand, solution or even CEO and create online talk through the various online social marketing vehicles. Let’s take a long look at the top six free tools that will give you a cauliflower online ear or the ability to see if you have a presence within online social media chatter. Do not be disappointed if you do not and do not be disappointed if management is expecting tangible, measureable metrics. These old quantitative measurements do not exist within online chatter. The intrinsic return on investment is through presence, shear volume and then by interaction. Your goal or rationale to corporate needs to be built with this in mind or you are setting yourself up for failure in their eyes. Remember that the internet represents a new collective, many new paradigms in terms of intimate customer feedback and the potential for expeditious solutions. The older methods of measurement or even quantitative results must be discarded.

Good Old Google - Google Blog Search
The top dog or number one tool is Google blog search. Google web search is going to present you with hundreds or thousands of useless and often unrelated web mentions. The Google blog search will pick up more specific online chatter which could be positive or negative (in either case, you want to be aware.) This tool gives you a chance to not only locate and listen but also the opportunity to create and comment. Remember that interaction with the intended customer is the bane of web 2.0. You'll find Google Blog Search under more when you are on the Google main search page. http://blogsearch.google.com/?hl=en&tab=wb

Google Custom Search
The second tool is a little more covert and that is Google custom search. You can set up your own personalized search engines that weeds out and dedupes the tremendous and unwieldy results of a bland Google web search. It is very fast to set up and leverages the largest search mechanism on the web – Google. Custom search is located here - http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en

Let them come to you.
You simply perform a Google blog search (under the more tab when you are on the Google search page) and begin to set up alerts that based upon your predetermined set of words “Redmond Media” or “redmondmag.com” in my case. You can set up Google blog alerts or Google web alerts and these will be delivered to your email in box. You can also determine the frequency. I have mine set up to come in as soon as the Google search bots receive a match which usually has a latency factor of about sixty minutes.
http://www.google.com/intl/en/options/


Tweat, Twit and Twitter The fact that Twitter is almost as powerful as Google in terms of overall audience and usage is amazing. Twitter basically came out of Silicon Valley as a start up with virtual anonymity and in eighteen months. Unlike Google, Twitter leverages the hell out of mobile devices and the growth patterns for this service look very strong. Also, Twitter is also highly addictive. Your customers are venting their frustrations with growing frequency on Twitter, and corporations have their twitter ears on. The good news is that if something such as a brand or company name is mentioned on Twitter, you will be able to locate it. Simply dive in, use twitter with a few well connected friends and learn the search aspect of the service. There’s an advanced search and you can have the relative tweats come into your in box or into your RSS feeds that you have set up on your browser’s main bar (look up top.) Create an account on twitter (thirty seconds) and you'll see the search page icon.


Google has yet another tool – Google Reader. You could spend weeks, long nights and unnecessary time trying to track down every initial web mention concerning your brand, company name or CEO and find a dead end. Google reader gives you the ability to centralize your preselected search phrases in one place and one time through RSS feeds. You set it up, kick back and monitor. Occasionally you can come in a tweak (no, not tweat) the settings. You will actually start to see a pattern of the same blogs and if you wish, you can go into these blogs and begin the interaction process. Google reader is an excellent free tool to help you centralize your monitoring of social chatter. http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&source=en-mmm#overview-page

Ciao – Technorati
Technorati should be part of your online social networking ear The newly, fully refined, Technorati is an excellent free website for the tight and relevant brand searches or even competitors. The tool is very specific, more blog oriented than any of the tools mentioned above and just a little harder in terms of usability. If you are spending two to three hours per week with a social monitoring initiative, use Technorati with the tools above and you will be ahead of 75% of your competitors. http://technorati.com/
JD Holzgrefe

Monday, March 23, 2009

Social Networking - Jump in and Swim



The majority of marketing managers, whether in information technology, training and certification or for that matter, any other business, would agree that the primary platform to their company’s performance and success is based on relationships with their customers. Strong customer relationships that include known preferences, open communication, interaction, creative criticsms, product feedback and needs lead to future transactions and referrals. That is paramount in business. An existing customer is much easier to maintain and cultivate than locating a new customer.
The popularity of social network channels is changing how marketing managers should treat the internet as well as their customers. Marketing managers now have a chance to receive expeditious and invaluable feedback from their most trusted customers. This is real time customer speak given without pressure or premium and that is a tremendous edge over the competition. If you listen closely enough, you can determine your competition’s weakest points and leverage that information in your marketing efforts along with arming your sales force.
Through mechanisms like Twitter, DIGG, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., marketing managers can work on customer relationships and product enhancements in the most efficient ways ever presented. What’s keeping so many marketing managers on the sidelines and out of a potential windfall from such a distinct competitive edge? Two basic reasons affect the conversion rate. The first is the executive management reluctance factor. The C level management layer doesn’t see the merit. The second is the fear of technology or specifically, what platform(s) should be used.
Perhaps the best cure for executive management reluctance is citing examples of the competition utilizing social media for marketshare gain. There is little that compares to deploying the “fear factor.” Be ready to support your cure with a clear set of goals and objectives that will be obtained yet be conservative. Most social networking programs start on a granular level.
The fear of technology is actually the fear of failure and part of human nature. Let’s use swimming as an analogy to propose a solution … jump in. First, remind yourself that failure is going to happen with construction of social networking platforms. What you do next is vital to success. You, as a marketing manager, need to listen and watch what your peers are using and doing. Tools such has Technorati, Google blog search and Wiki Space search will greatly assist you with the learning curve. At the same time, work on your purpose and objectives so that they are tangible.
The right social network platform(s) is for long term goals. They take time, care and proper maintenance. New technologies like social networks have not changed the basic concepts of a successful marketing. They have given us the ability to improve our relationships.
JD Holzgrefe

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Facebook to Grow your Blog


Working with Facebook to Populate your Blog
With more than 150 million people actively using Facebook, carving out a 36.03% marketshare of all social network vehicles and most importantly, showing a gain of 23% of new creators/critics and commentators aged 35 and over,Facebook is a force to be leveraged* *http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/reporting/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=215900415



Using Facebook to promote
About two months ago, after entering a social networking class, I took the plunge and signed up for Facebook. In that time, it has been great to catch up with over fifty people that I see occasionally at trade shows or on business trips. The people (connections) via Facebook seem endless, and there’s no doubt that once Facebook gets a total strategy together, they will be able to leverage their population with geographical and mobile advertising campaigns. Currently, I am amazed by the entrepreneurial efforts that are flooding Facebook by individual users – business owners.I have received e-mails with open houses, a marketing “how to” newsletter, and the Richmond, Virginia advertising ad club Spring meeting. These entrepreneurs were looking to expand their network by searching location and personal interests, and sending out emails based on it.

This is where Facebook comes in handy, simply post what you’re doing with your blog address (everytime) and utilize the email side of Facebook and you are using yet another social media platform to grow your blog. Yes, some might view the Facebook email as an annoyance but the effort will help grow your blog’s following over time.


PS: Keep your Facebook profile very basic and simple and ensure that your blog address is clickable and highly visible.

JD Holzgrefe

Monday, March 16, 2009




Free and Simple Proven Methods to Grow Your Blog
Growing your blog traffic doesn’t happen overnight and occurs only with a careful plan. Patience is a virtue so give yourself three months or six months before you expect to see a return on your time investment. With the tremendous selection of terrific blogs out there, you need to be patient and dedicate time on your blog. Here are three tricks which can help you grow your company's blog. You can work on these at launch time or add them into your existing blog efforts.


1. Content is an Oligopoly yet Practice Makes Perfect
Build your blog, add four or five posts and make sure that you have the communication tools in place. Specifically, enable a DIGG, Delilous or Technorati (all if you can) tag so readers can tag you with these services. This will improve your search ranking. Make sure that you have an RSS feeder built in near the top. The readers that follow you are your evangelists and represent one of your best components for marketing.


2. Do I Post Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Daily?
What is the second most important part of a blog after content? The answer is frequency of posting. Put yourself in the shoes of your readers. When they return they expect two things; new content and feedback on their comments. Determine your posting and response frequency and stick to this. Daily massaging may be impossible for you yet that is acceptable. Stick with a routine and your readers will grow accustomed to it.


3. Utilize the Other Social Media Platforms
You’ll hear me preach this in almost every blog entry. Interact with friends and creations of like by commenting and ensure that your blog is part of your signature.
What’s a signature? The end of your comment. To give you an example, mine would be JD Holzgrefe, Blog Consultant - http://jds5ps.blogspot.com/ This is viral marketing at its best. The more you practice this word of mouth viral advertising, the more exposure your blog will receive. Some people will delete your comments but do not take this personally. Simply move on and continue the process.
So let us review the three best practices; Content, Establishing a Frequency of Posting and Utilization of Other Social Media
JD Holzgrefe

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What the Hell is Twitter and How Can I Maximize It












Tweet, Tweeting, Tweeted and ReTweet. The buzzwords of a new social media platform. For those of you that are not familiar with Twitter (roughly 85% of the U.S. population and almost 60% of B2B marketing managers), here's a primer for you.

Twitter was launched as a communications vehicle to let people know what you are doing, how you are feeling, your thoughts on a given subject, tonight's locale of the watering hole all within 140 characters or less. This platform was a natural extension of SMS (short message service) placed into a community frame in which you select your friends, accept twitter followers or who to follow. Additionally, a perfect match for mobile devices that are "always on" thus providing a higher share of voice than messaging on desktop and laptop PCs. The ease of joining and then sending "Tweets" can cause addiction.


"Neighbors and fences."

Just as with any social media, a person that you have as a linkedin connection doesn't necessarily mean that you would select them as a twitter connection. The variance of all of the social media is starting to show some distinct differences in chosen population. Dive right in to all forms and you will be ahead of the curve.

If one takes into consideration "neighbors and fences" when building a twitter community to enhance brand resonance on web 2.0, you'll reach a higher success rate. Let me give a specific example. You visit a trade show and catch up with two members of your biggest account. One is the CIO and the other is that person's right hand ... the system administrator. The latter is probably the better candidate selection for "tweets."

The true muscle of Twitter is found when it is used in a carefully blended cocktail with other social media after careful planning and understanding of your target audience. Here's another example for you. The additional point of engagement through Twitter could bring about an increase in your company's blog if the aforementioned system administrator receives a "tweet" about an interesting security topic that you finished posting on your blog or perhaps your linkedin community.

Take time and align your objectives, learn the similarities and differences of the various social media, think through the population propensity towards the various social media and use them together in an integrated fashion. President Obama used a simplistic twitter drive to web site campaign and the rest is history.

JD Holzgrefe

Saturday, March 7, 2009

growing your blog

video



If you are a blog parent, it’s very likely that you are not leveraging the full brunt of search engine traffic that is available. Audience development by Twitter is in second place. For now, let's take a look at three SEO tips to help you grow your blog.

It takes time and most bloggers believe building a blog and adding a few posts is enough. The lack of a specific and targeted search engine optimization plan is one reason many blog parents stop trying to make money with affiliate programs and simply give up. Actually blog parents either want to give out beneficial content or they attempt to make money through the banner ads appearing on their blog hence the constant need for a larger audience or in blogspeak – followers.
Let’s try to boil down search engine optimization to three few simple tips for every article you post and so you can take advantage of free (yes … free) internet seo traffic.
The big first tip is to ensure that each of your post links are SEO optimized. With a blog platform like blogspot this is already done. If you’re a WordPress customer, then you’ll want to go into options and set your permalinks so that your blog creates search engine optimized url’s when you write a post.
Specifically, go to the Permalinks tab, and click the button next to custom field. Next you’ll put a percentage sign followed by the words postname. Right after the words postname, put another percentage sign. Now all your blog post will have maximized SEO urls.
The best tip to optimizing your blog is to put your main keyword in the title. Think long and hard about the selection of your keyword and you can change it. Let’s say you’re writing about losing weight, then use these keywords in the title of your blog and your blog post. What you don’t want to do is put unrelated keywords in your blog’s title. The clutter will diminish the Google, Yahoo, Ask bots (see earlier posts) ability to categorize your blog and content and each respective post. If your blog is Poodle Manicure and you name your poodle manicure blog, then you’ll rank higher than if you name it something totally unrelated.
The next step is to optimize each post’s title or tag. If you’re trying to get people to click on your post about using Ped Egg to trim a poodle’s claws, then your post title should have those specific keywords in it. Avoid terms such as filing dog nails, cuticle canine repair, etc. – be specific. The lack of tag clarity prevents each search engine bot from determining what your post contains and correctly categorizing it, so you can forget about getting free traffic. If you’re using Adsense which populates your blog with banner advertising and allows for potential revenue, this is a very important tip to get targeted traffic for high paying keywords.
These three basic tips will separate your blog from 90% of other blogs on the net and there are millions. By making this time investment in optimization, the search engines will rank your blog higher and that is the key to success.


JD Holzgrefe