I’ve been telling my clients for years, “Don’t get too comfortable with your Social Media marketing, it’s going to change tomorrow.” You may have noticed Facebook’s recent plethora of changes. They’ve changed the newsfeed (again), added a timeline (questionable usefulness), and they’re reducing the value of the Like button. Wait… what was that???
That’s right. The ubiquitous Like button, which has become so much a part of our online lives, is evolving into more of a voting mechanism. In my opinion, this is great news.
So what does this mean to you? You’ve spent countless hours and maybe thousands of dollars, increasing your “Likers” on your Facebook business page. It always seemed almost ridiculous to me, that we as marketers should be practically driven into a frenzy of getting people to “follow” our brand. 90% of our messages get ignored anyway. This is why small business marketers say their Facebook page doesn’t work for them. At least not in the sense that it gets them any business.
Users will now have a way to “vote” on content. To me this makes a whole helluva lot more sense. It means the boring, all-about-me promotional content that we see so much of can now get voted down into oblivion, while the interesting cool stuff will get promoted to the top.
This is one Facebook change I can hang my hat on. From both a consumer’s side and a marketer’s side. From a consumer’s side I will no longer have to tolerate crap on my Fb feed. From a marketer’s side I will have a lot less competition, and my truly authentic and valuable message will clearly shine amongst the drivel.
Not that I think for a moment that the spammers won’t come up with some way of getting around it. Like hiring legions of $2/hr off-shore teenagers to Vote Up the crap content they post for their clients. Black hat will always exist, but somehow the brains behind the beasts (Google, Facebook, etc.) will continue to find ways to combat it. Good for them. And for us.
I invite you to read Mashable’s blog post, which was my source for this post, at: http://mashable.com/2011/09/22/facebooks-changes-marketers
Last year I was using Twitter to invite people to get a free account on Grouvia, our Meetup-like web site (long story). It worked fairly well, although I did get accused of being a spammer once or twice.
The way I had used it back then was to do searches for certain keywords, like clubs, small non profit group, group management software, stuff like that. I would find people talking about their club or group and send them a message about Grouvia and how it might help them manage their group.
I know, it sounds kind of spammy, but we did it in a very non-intrusive way. Technically it’s not spam, but that’s a subjective topic these days.
I hadn’t used Twitter in several months, so I decided to check it out again. I’d heard that there are a lot of new features, however upon visiting the site and looking around, I didn’t see all that much that was different from my last visit. At least nothing apparently mind-blowing.
I decided to do some simple searches to see if I could find people talking about my subject. I started with a specific local keyphrase: “internet marketing fredericksburg”. Nothing. I tried “internet marketing northern virginia”. Nothing. Then I tried “internet marketing virginia”. Three results. Aha! But none of them had anything to do with internet marketing.
Then I noticed a tab called “search tweets near my location”. Apparently it knows where I am. Maybe I told it at some point, or maybe it knows from my IP address. At any rate, I tried “internet marketing” and got 43 gazillion results. I clicked the location tab and got nothing again. Hm. Maybe it doesn’t really know where I am.
I felt like I was chasing a rabbit down a hole so I dragged myself back up for air and went back to standard searching with more specific keywords. I tried “small business internet marketing” and got a bunch of results, and started scanning. It was a long list of promotional tweets. Overwhelming to any user looking for useful information.
Then I tried searching for “small business marketing help” and got the same thing, a bunch of “click me!” type tweets. But I also noticed another odd thing… The same tweet text over and over again, by different people using different links. My guess is that it’s an affiliate thing and all these people are trying to sell some program because they get a commission. Egad.
Well, that was an hour of my life I’ll never get back. I did get a good blog post out of it though .
Conclusion: Twitter does not work for the kind of small businesses I work with. It’s just not worth the time and effort — the ROI (return on investment) is way too small.
But there must be other uses for Twitter or it wouldn’t be so popular. Any and all comments about this are certainly welcome!
In my last virtual workshop session, we were talking about search engine optimization.
One of my students had just been through a redesign of his company’s web site and they had put it on WordPress. WordPress lets you implement what’s called a “tag cloud,” which is a block of variable-sized words that visually represent the frequency of tag words as they appear on your site.
If you look at the bottom of this page in fact, you’ll see a rather ugly tag cloud (I know, I have to fix that.) It kind of looks like the image here on the right.
So my student asked me if this tag cloud feature on his new site would affect the search engine optimization of the site. Hm… interesting question! I decided to investigate.
I did some research on tag clouds and SEO initially read several articles and blog posts that completely conflicted with each other (so what else is new?). Then I found this video, straight from the mouth of Google’s Quality Search and Web spam team member, Matt Cuts.
Essentially what Matt says is “It depends”. The main criteria for Google’s spam team is “does this tag cloud seem spammy”? Of course they don’t come right out and tell you exactly how they determine this. But knowing what I know about Google’s intentions, it would be logical that the following things would be considered spammy, and might negatively impact your page rank.
Matt suggests it would be better to just have a side bar with links to your individual posts, since a tag cloud link essentially goes to a search results page, not a specific post page.
Anyway, watch the video and decide for yourself.
Recently it’s become popular to create group discussions on LinkedIn where people can post their Facebook page link. In theory this seems like a good idea, but the hard-core truth is that it’s just another spam invitation.
I discovered one of these last week and thought, “hey that seems like a great idea!”
What I ended up with was scores of people who “liked” my business page, just so they could spam it with a link of their own. My business page filled up with these promotional messages from all these non-relevant businesses.
What a waste of time.
I had to shut down all wall posting from anyone but me.
Anybody who writes a blog is familiar with comment spam. This is when spammers comment on your posts but are only doing so to get a back-link to their url. These people (sometimes they’re robots but let’s assume for now that it’s a real person doing it) are usually hired by so-called “SEO Firms” to get as many links for their clients’ sites as possible.
It’s totally unethical, but it happens all the time. If you’re a blogger this is not news.
I just had a brand new comment spam experience. The commenter said this on one of my blog posts:
The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you werent too busy looking for attention.
My first thought was WTF?
My second thought was “Seriously?” This person really thinks I’m going to approve this? Maybe you’re wondering, “So how do you know it’s spam? Maybe it really is a legitimate criticism of your post.” Hardly.
So my next thought was… Why? All the comment Spam I’ve ever gotten has been either innocuous (“thanks for the info”) or complimentary (“you’ve really inspired me”). This, in my opinion, is the best way to get your comment approved.
I know, some blogs don’t have an approval process and just let any comment get posted. But still… my question remains… why would a spammer bash my post instead of complimenting it? Why is that better? It seems to defy logic. Right, spammers aren’t too bright after all, perhaps there is some twisted thought process that went into it.
Anyhoo… Just sayin’.
EMarketingConnection.com is the place to go for support, community, and resources for your internet marketing programs.
Focusing completely on small businesses, EMarketingConnection.com is a membership site exclusively for those of us who understand the power of the internet and want to successfully leverage it to promote our business and boost sales.
With three membership levels (starting at free!) there is something for everyone at EMarketingConnection.com.
See you there!