Does the New Facebook Make You Miss the Old MySpace?

Privacy Concerns
Facebook’s privacy shuffle is not quite done as founder Mark Zuckerberg reveals that new settings will be coming very soon. Great, just what we need!
Facebook’s integrity may be unraveling as many users are angered by privacy violations, profile bugs, and Zuckerberg’s pompous behavior. A recent source reveals that Zuckerberg called users “dumb f****” when a friend asked why users would trust a stranger with their information.

Profiles Lacking Personality

Privacy is not the only thing that Facebook user profiles are lacking – what about the personality? Remember when you could make your interests “unique”? Maybe you enjoy ‘music to sleep to’ or some other obscure band or activity. Thanks to the site’s new feature, you can’t even add something you’re interested in to your profile unless it already has a presence on Facebook (via Group, Page, Community etc.) On top of that, adding an interest to your profile instantly connects you to other users who like the same thing, whether you like it or not.

Now everyone is stuck with a boring, generic profile layout and you can’t even add an interest that Facebook doesn’t like. Remember when you could add your favorite song to your MySpace profile or change your background layout to match your mood? No, we aren’t talking about the obnoxious animated gifs. What if you just wanted to simply change the background color and font? Not possible with Facebook. Although my MySpace account has been laid to rest many years ago, the new Facebook makes me miss it sometimes. Facebook’s features seem to be getting more problematic and restricting. That’s not to say that MySpace didn’t have privacy issues of their own… but still.

What’s Next?

Thousands have already pleaded to commit social suicide and quit Facebook by May 31st, will you join? I’m also looking forward to Diaspora, an alternative to Facebook, which is set to launch September of 2010.

Appealing Ideas from Social Media Guides

Lately, I’ve been inundated with newsletters and downloads about a “definitive” guide to social media. Although these are helpful, there is a lot of repetitive info about getting the process started. They explain what Twitter and Facebook is and the different functions, but what about some realistic tips that is helpful for everyone who aren’t newbies? How do I grow? How can I branch out and attract people? Here are some interesting ideas that I’ve come across. I hope it’s more interesting than generic recommendations out there.

  • Presentation and document sharing. .docstoc is one of many document sharing websites that allow businesses and professionals to spread their know-how. If your content is helpful, others will be willing to link to you as a resource!
  • More commenting. Nowadays, a lot of sites and blogs enable comments by signing into your Twitter or Facebook account. I like this feature because you skip the hassle of filling out info fields. It also gets rid of spammers and others who don’t have relevant comments to share. It’s a good way to increase your brand awareness on high traffic blogs like Social Media Examiner.
  • Photosharing on Flickr. As Rohit’s article discusses, photo sharing can be a great way to engage customers. With the right content, this indirect method is exciting and will tie back to your site/blog/business in the end.

I’m always on the look out for interesting tips, so don’t be afraid to share. Feel free to also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook!

Reviewing 3 Twitter Tools

Twitter Analyzer

If you like seeing stats displayed by fancy 3D doughnut graphs, this is the tool for you.
It’s useful if you like to see how many of your followers are retweeting your Tweets. You can also enter the Twitter handle of a friend or competitor and see how their stats compare to yours. Things I learned: 78% of our followers are male and 23% of our followers are entrepreneurs.
No need to sign up, so why not try it out?

Tweet Stats

Sweet. More graphs! But Tweet Stats also shows a tag cloud of your  most frequently used phrases. It also gives you a density analysis that gives you a look at the times you Tweet most frequently. It’s easy to use but I definitely think it’s more informative than useful.

Twitter Counter

First, you need to allow this tool access to your Twitter account. Like Compete, you can compare your profiles with 2 other users of your choice. The graph displays are easy to read and you can even sign up to a weekly update of your progress. You can even go back as far as 3 months and see your stats from there. I think Tweet Stats is my favorite out of the three tools.

Do you have any other handy Twitter analysis sites you like to use?

How To Connect on Twitter

Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.

A Better Way to Circulate

Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.

Find Relevant Followers

If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.

Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.

It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.

Email’s Not Dead

The topic of yesterday’s webinar was social media and email marketing presented by Peggy Hatch with Blaine Mathieu. With the emerging world of social media, email marketing efforts can easily get left behind. While there are problems with email marketing, the solution may lie in combining it with social media efforts.

The Problem with Email
My favorite point that Blaine brought up was the email is the first form of social media. Remember how excited the world was when email peaked? Who could forget the classic, You’ve Got Mail? After all, when we want to share something with friends or family, a majority of us jump to email. According to marketing studies, only 22% of internet users use social media sites to share, while a majority still rely on email. When utilizing email for marketing campaigns, marketers have problems knowing where to start and how to properly integrate email into their overall efforts.

Social Media Sharing is the Answer
According to researchers, social media is not slowing. the growth of social media is not slowing. In fact, 8 out of 10 marketers agree that these sites are a great place to extend their reach. Why not create a dynamic duo of social media and email marketing? In a simple but effective example, Mabel & Zora sees sharing opportunities in their email campaigns. In all their emails, they provide social sharing opportunities where users can share with their friends. Maybe this means posting a coupon deal on their Facebook. In turn, their friends can share with their own network via Twitter, blogs, etc. As this webinar showed, the reach of email is wide reaching. Marketers can benefit from incorporating social media efforts in their emails and users will get an enhanced experience.

Tweet for Tat

Social Media” are the buzz words of 2009. What used to be the online playground of undergrads pulling all-nighters in their college dorms, has now turned into a marketing phenomenon for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike.

However, what a lot of professionals with decades of marketing experience tend to forget when dealing with social media platforms is that they are “SOCIAL” media platforms – arenas to engage other users and build relationships. Meaning, you can’t create an account on Twitter, sign in once a month, and expect to see results. Remember, it takes two to tango, and posting tweets for your business without bothering to read, follow and interact with other users is tantamount to lecturing your teenagers while they’re playing Guitar Hero World Tour on Wii. Futile.

According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa research, nearly two-thirds of marketers do not monitor their social media accounts. Think of all the missed opportunities to join conversations, learn what potential clients (or competitors) are saying, and to just get the word out there that your company exists! Behave in social media communities the way you would normally behave in live, face-to-face interactions: be interesting, don’t talk only about yourself, ask questions, be a source of useful information, have a genuine interest.

Not only will your fellow Twitterers appreciate the valuable content you contribute and feedback you provide, but you’ll soon find that your company is well on its way to achieving its social media marketing goals.

Simple Steps to Ensure Your Website is SEO-Friendly

If you’re like me, easily influenced by pretty shiny things that flash in my general direction, then you may be designing your website with aesthetics as your number one priority. That’s all well and good if you’re an established fashion label with ten years of Vogue and Vanity Fair creds. But, chances are, potential clients will be depending on search engines to find the type of services or products your company offers, without knowing that your exact company exists. Following these simple tips when building your website can lead to a more SEO-friendly design, giving you the search engine ranking and exposure your company needs to be on its way to becoming a household name.

Tip #1: Age Matters
Search engines want to “see” commitment. Websites that have been in existence for 5 years as opposed to 5 weeks will rank higher. When your website shows longevity, a search engine will consider it as a trusted and authoritative source.

Tip #2: Title Tags are Golden
Don’t make the mistake of titling your web pages with inside jokes only your frat brothers would know, or using overly simple titles like “My Website Page 2.” While this may make your life easier or more comical, it does zilch for search engines when they crawl your site for content. Use your most competitive keywords in your pages’ title tags, as they are the most important pieces of text on your website for SEO purposes.

Tip #3: The Pen (or QWERTY Keyboard) is Mightier than the Sword
You can toss out the notion that “a picture is worth a thousand words” because in the world of SEO, a picture is about as valuable as Enron stock. Rather than focusing on graphics, make sure that your homepage includes searchable content. If you plan on linking to other pages from your homepage, use text links rather than hyperlinks contained within an image. When search engines read a link that uses text (e.g. “Bulldog Puppies For Sale”) and it actually links to a page that has relevant content in the text of the title/URL/header and body copy, this builds your site’s “trustworthiness” and “authority” status putting you on the search engine’s honor roll.

Search Engine Friendly Web Design Tips

We tend to get asked this question many times throughout the week:  What is search engine friendly web design? I’d like to clarify this for our readers.

So here’s a quick list of things you should be considering when creating search engine friendly web design:

1.) Loads quickly (no heavy flash loading files or quick time movies)

2.) Have clean code (programming on the back end – click view source in your browser to view the programming of a web page – some programs throw in a lot of code that slows your page down)

3.) Have a site map (at the bottom of every page should be a link to your site map that has all the pages of your site listed)

4.) Have proper headings (clearly name your pages and use sub headings as well to break up your content)

5.) Have good content that talks about your services and/or products (search engines love content – give the search engines relevant content)

6.) Make sure to name your images with the ALT tag (this is how you’ll label your images in the html – you can do this with text editors or with programs such as dreamweaver or frontpage)

7.) Make sure you have different title tags for each page on your site (the title tag in the html looks like this:
<title>Page Name Here</title>

8.) Lastly I’d spend some time going through the Google Webmaster Guidelines to get familiar with how the largest search engine out there wants to see your site.

Good luck!

Matt Cutts SEO Tips On Blogging

Well if you’re reading this chances are you’ve heard of Matt Cutts but if you haven’t, he’s a rockstar in the search marketing space. He’s also know as the spam czar at Google. He heads the spam team at Google and speaks often about SEO and “whitehat” techniques. Whitehat is a term in the search marketing space that refers to tactics that are permitted by the search engines and blackhat refers to ways people try and trick the search engines. This video goes into ways you can do SEO through your blog with whitehat techniques. I’d recommend staying on top of Matt Cutts blog.

I’d love to hear some feedback on this video. Please feel free to comment.