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How Facebook Improves Your Search Ranking

  
  
  

Facebook is the #2 Web site in the world.

In Summer 2009 Facebook was #5 or #6, then they moved up to number #4 just before Christmas. Now they are #2. Can you guess who’s first?

Of Facebook’s 400 million active users, 50% log on to Facebook on any given day, and then spend about 55 minutes on the site daily. Of those, about 35 million people post a status update, and more than 3 billion photos are uploaded each month–making Facebook the largest photo-sharing site on the Web.

Why is this important to you? Because when Google ranks Web sites, it takes into account the PageRank and value of other sites linking to yours. With Facebook as the #2 site in the world, no other site besides Google has the power to lift your search ranking as much as Facebook. That means every link from Facebook to your home page or blog lifts the value of your blog. Are you beginning to see the possibilities?

Facebook is a popular marketing tool not just because it has large numbers of users and niche marketing possibilities, but also because its indexed and ranked into Google’s proprietary search algorithms.

For these reasons, small businesses are increasingly making Facebook Fan pages their primary hubs on the Internet. I don’t recommend this, because I still think Facebook users prefer entertainment to business. But, for those without a lot of marketing resources, Facebook can be an attractive choice. It’s easy to set up, it has a captive and loyal audience, and it’s relatively easy to manage. But if you go with Facebook as your hub:

  • Tie your page to one or more promotional campaigns and get your first few hundred fans quickly.
  • Stay focused on the goal of converting visitors to fans.
  • Offer incentives and rewards for becoming a fan.
  • Engage with people on a regular and consistent basis.

Are you leveraging the full power of Facebook in your online marketing strategy? Let me know if you’d like a worksheet to help move your pages from “static” to FANtastic.

And for the current list of Top 500 Global Web sites, visit Alexa.com.

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6 Pixels of Separation

  
  
  

Came across this video and I really like it. It talks about many of the same things I’ve been talking about. Plus, it gives a nice synopsis of the strategy behind social media.

The Q & A format works. And it’s a good discussion about the strategy and process of social media. Nice tie-ins between his answers and content you’ll find in the book. Mitch Joel really gets going 3-4 minutes in. Good stuff.

I agree with the idea that relationships in the digital world need to follow the same theoreis as relationships in real life, and the process of building community will be a SLOW process.

Favorite quotes:

  • “If you only have a couple hundred people reading your blog, and three of those people become your clients, then that’s a really good day at the office.”
  • “I offer value and insights to the community.”
  • “Hopefully we’ll be top of mind and they’ll call us.”

That’s what it’s all about, right?

We know this guy is hip because he’s dressed all in black. And we know he’s successful because he’s sitting in a really nicely decorated living room. We want to be like him, right? Just kidding.

Somehow Mitch Joel seems very similar to Gary Vaynerchuk, but less loud and less New York. Perhaps the West Coast version of G.V.? Is that intentional?

I found this connection in the book’s Publisher’s Weekly review:

“A digital marketing maven who parlayed a podcast into a thriving career, Joel extends the notion of human interconnectedness by six degrees to the virtual world. With abundant Internet social networking sites and mobile texting, we are all intrinsically connected, he argues in this accessible primer to capitalizing on connections to increase brand awareness. New breeds of entrepreneurs are being created daily, he asserts, using free publishing tools available on the Internet to create brands and develop audiences on a scale that rivals the biggest firms in the world. Joel cites such success stories as Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library, who transformed his parents’ New Jersey liquor store from a $4 million business to a $45 million one in five years by connecting to Facebook and Twitter and creating a video podcast to lure customers. More than a mere collection of inspirational case studies, the book offers practical advice, from choosing a catchy blog name to tips on Web presentation. Joel has created an eminently readable guide to harnessing the various tools available across the virtual landscape.

In truth, this is a well done promo video. I like the length. It’s a bit long, but good for the subject matter. The only bad thing is the slamming door in the middle of the piece. Slightly amatuerish on an otherwise good production.

The book? Yeah, I intend to buy it. The 41 reviews on Amazon are highly positive and seem to really inspire action. Plus, I love to read about this stuff.

You? If you’ve already bought the book, let me know what you think!

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Adapt or Die, Says Advertising Age Columnist, Author

  
  
  

Changes in the way news is collected and reported isn’t just going through a phase, says Advertising Age columnist and author Bob Garfield, it’s changing the media and public relations industry in irreversible ways.

“It’s an actual revolution yielding revolutionary changes including, but not limited to, the disintegration of the media and marketing infrastructures that have worked in perfect symbiosis for almost four centuries.”

Garfield is author of “The Chaos Scenario,” which chronicles the disintegration of old media and offers ideas for what to do next.

Garfield’s remarks were reported in Public Relations TACTICS following a Nov. 11 luncheon. Garfield cautioned PR professionals that they better “shut up and listen” or the industry would be doomed. He refers to the business of listening as “Listenomics.”

“Every institution that has formerly dictated from the top down must begin treating its constituencies not as the anonymous hoi polloi, but as genuine stakeholders and partners,” Garfield said. The fundamental change in corporate culture and business practice is to LISTEN.

I think the TACTICS write-up shows PR professionals are recognizing the value of social media and will increasingly use it to improve relationships with stakeholders. And this will distinguish online public relations from online sales in 2010.

PR professionals will use social media to enhance and build authentic relationships and support all business-related functions, not just sales.

The opportunity for PR pros, therefore, is to showcase the value in ‘relationship-centered’ campaigns, which will increasingly define the the future of online PR campaigns. Since the core of each sales transaction is based on trust and credibility, PR pros will need to support a growing number of diverse relationships for their company’s brand — relationships that will help support the company’s sales, investor, employee and business development goals.

Garfield pointed to Lego Mindstorms as an example of an online community that volunteered to work with company executives and helped turn the product into the most profitable product lines in Lego history. It wasn’t because the company reached out to the group with the intention of making more transaction-based sales, but because Lego reached out to the group for their advice in developing a better product. The volunteers reinvented the brand, and the entire company benefited.

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3 Ways to Find the Best Twitter Profiles

  
  
  

Everyone has their way of deciding who’s worth following on Twitter and why. Here are three ways to judge.

1. Ratios. These are wonderful ways to compare one aspect of a Twitter user to another. The most reliable ratio is “Followers” to “Following.” Divide the number of Followers by the number of people Followed. At a minimum, the number should be greater than “1″ and I prefer numbers closer to 2 or 3. Typically, the greater the number, the more influential the profile. Most news sites have higher scores. @abcnews follows 68 profiles (Jan 2010) yet has more than a million followers (14,700:1). TV news profiles get followers from widespread media exposure. Same with well-known authors, screen personalities and so on. Spammers will follow large numbers of profiles, knowing many of those profiles will follow back. Spammers almost always have low ratios of .985 or less because they are selling products and seminars. For them, the number of followers is all that counts — more followers = more sales. You can use ratios of 0.985 or less to gauge how likely you are to be “sold to.” Low numbers = more sales pitches; higher numbers, less sales. On average. Truly worthwhile “experts” will have ratios of 10 or more. That tells me they are getting lots of publicity through events, radio, seminars and are delivering outstanding value to their followers.

2. Quality of Followers. You’re about to pay $75 for Social Media traing when you decide to look at your speaker’s profile on Twitter. Do they have a large number of foreign followers? Particularly from India or Russia? This could be a sign they are paying sites to generate large numbers of “fake” followers — empty profiles used to pump up the numbers. Are a lot of the followers young, attractive women soliciting their companionship? Or are there lots of profiles selling vitamins and skin cream? Be wary of social media “experts” who excel at attracting spammers. Ask yourself, “how many of this profile’s followers are like me?” The more in common you have with the other followers, the more relevant the content will be for you.

3. Engagement. How often does a profile engage directly with their followers? I want to follow people who are reaching out to other people. I want to follow conversations. I want to see how people respond to content, and to each other. Some profiles have a policy of not following anyone, using their feed to strictly disseminate news. That might be fine for some, but it gives a profile an “old media” personality, the old-fashioned “one-to-many” model of so many newspapers. It’s like going to a cocktail party and having a guest just sit there and blather on and on about themselves. Isn’t the purpose of conversation to bounce ideas off of other real people?

How do you evaluate Twitter profiles? What tricks of the trade have you learned? Leave me a Comment to share what’s working for you.

Protect Facebook Privacy

  
  
  


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2010 Prediction: Rise of Video

  
  
  

E-Marketer published a list of 2010 predictions for social media today. Among them, unpaid articles and those generated by word-of-mouth will play a larger role in how public relations and marketing departments measure the value of online campaigns. Until now, metrics have been largely advertising-based, but as public relations moves into the social arena, managers will expect more ways to measure outcomes. You can read the full report at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007410.

Another prediction is that digital streams of video — such as those found on YouTube, UStream and other user-generated sites — will find an easier path into living rooms and television sets. Personally, I’m making the prediction that the upcoming Apple tablet computer, due out April 2010, will be the transformational device to make this connection. I predict tablet computers will be the bridge between streaming video and broadcast television in daily lives, similar to the way iPhone brought the Internet to our pocket.

Since video is going to play an enormous role in the success of 2010 marketing and public relations campaigns, now is the time to begin adding video to your Facebook page or blog.

For best results, limit clips to just 60 to 90 seconds. Make just one key point per video and encourage sharing by using YouTube or UStream.

Twitter Tips from Twitter Pros

  
  
  

Linda Sherman Gordon @LindaSherman) interviewed top Twitter users at 140, the Twitter Conference, in Los Angeles last month. She shared her video via YouTube today. These are some really great tips if you’re just getting started on Twitter.

I especially enjoyed the tip of looking for a user’s @ replies in their stream before following them. If a Tweep is not engaged in the conversation, then they don’t matter.

Don’t feel obligated to follow everyone. It’s not the number of followers you have, it’s the quality of your content. Make sure authentic conversations are part of your content. Oh, and follow me @lkinoshita!

Facebook: Proof that Relationships Have Changed

  
  
  

Many people reading the above cartoon will say, “Ain’t this the truth?”, but they are missing the social ramifications Facebook is bringing to society.

At 1,000 “friends” a person who is involved in Facebook is engaging in personal branding, whether they realize it or not. With a network of 1,000 a Facebook profile reaches a tipping point. Statistically, about 20% will open a link or read communication, because they have prior experience at receiving something valuable from that person.

The ability to have conversations with people who self-select as being interested in you and your ideas is a powerful advantage in life, both personally and professionally.

More people would benefit from Facebook if they could confront the fact that social connectivity is changing. I realize many are uncomfortable with this idea for personal and philosophical reasons. Cartoons like the above reflect a deep-seated cultural opposition to this trend.

But regardless of mainstream social conventions, changes in society continue the same way they do every decade. The survivors — those who will be relevant, meaningful, compelling and engaged — will discover new opportunities, identify and respond to new trends and ultimately enjoy a more enriching experience of lifelong learning than those who do not participate.

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