A HIPPO Internet Marketing Training blog by Corey Creed

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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Eric Schmidt Comments on Google Plus

Thanks to TechCrunch, here’s an insightful recording of Eric Schmidt commenting on the success of Google Plus after just about one week of it being live.

The biggest takeaway for me in this is that Google is not just planning to incorporate Google Plus into all their properties.  More specifically, they are planning to incorporate the Circles concept throughout.

What does this mean to us as marketers?  (more…)

Facebook is Now Worth Using for Business

You know me.  I’m a small business owner, consultant, trainer, and entrepreneur.  I’m also an Internet marketer at heart.

But I’m also a stickler for not wasting time.  I feel very deeply that how you use your time is critical to the success of your business (and of your life in general).

FacebookGiven this, I’m not always the first to get excited about social media.  Facebook, Twitter, and other similar tools are fun and interesting.  But they can very easily be a total waste of time.  So it’s a constant challenge to know how much time I should spend with them.  (And by extension, how much I should recommend using them to my students and clients.)

Up until now, I’ve mostly spent a little time here and there in Facebook and Twitter just to be informed, experiment, and stay in touch with those that know me.  But with the new features in Facebook this week, I’m making some changes.

In case you have not heard, Facebook made some changes to the way Pages work.  Most of them were no big deal and mostly cosmetic.  My colleague (and Social Media Speaker) over at Social Fresh made a little video that shows you the 7 changes here.

What’s the big deal?

CaptureThe one change you need to note is the last one.  Namely, you can now use Facebook as a person (yourself) or as a page (brand).  This means you can now follow other pages and comment on them as your company or brand.

For those that have worked in Internet marketing for some time, you know this is huge, right?  For a year or two now, anyone that wants to build attention and get noticed online has realized that commenting on blogs absolutely rocks.  You can now do something very similar using Facebook.

Of course, writing in your own blog is important.  This is similar to creating and growing your business as a Page on Facebook.  Good idea!  Once you have followers, it keeps them engaged and coming back.

But if you are starting out, how do you get people to come to your blog? Advertising works.  But it costs.  SEO works, but it takes time and links.  So the magic bullet was to go find the relevant blogs in your industry.  Find the ones that already have the attention of your target audience and comment intelligently on those blogs.

Now we can do that on Facebook!  We know it works, because people have already been doing it.  You know who the people with the most followers and friends are on Facebook and Twitter?  The most active and interesting people.

Now, businesses and brands can do the same thing.

What should you do?

Game on, people!  If you don’t have a Facebook Page for your business, now’s the time to get started.  (Even just building something quick and easy gets you started.)

But the real trick is to “Use Facebook as your page”.  Then go “Like” the businesses that already have the attention of your target audience and start commenting intelligently on those pages.

Of course, if your page has a good call to action, you’ll get more likes too!

PS: If you are really bored, you can start a conversation with yourself as I did here.


Twitter – Why bother?

Today, Pew Research released some new stats about Twitter that might really make you think about how much time you spend there.  Their report says that only 8% of online Americans use Twitter.

When you do the math, 8% of online Americans translates into 6% of all Americans.  Then, only about 36% of Twitter users use the service with any regularity.  That gets us down to about 2% of all Americans.

Of course, 2% of all Americans is about 5 million Americans.

Here’s something to think about… 

  • If Twitter is only really being used by 2% of all Americans, how much effort should we put into it?
  • Then again, if there is an easy way to reach out to, and/or search the conversations of even just 2%…  Well…  That’s actually pretty cool, right?

Either way, it’s always good to separate the hype from the facts.  Keep that 2% number in mind as you plan your next marketing mix of time and money.

A Practical Social Media Policy Template – Steal this!

Looking for a Social Media Policy Template that you can steal, edit, and reuse for your business? 

Any business that has more than just a few employees really should document their social media policy.  This is how you not only discourage your employees from doing something really stupid. You also encourage them to do what’s right.

As a side benefit, you have more of a leg to stand on when you try to discipline those that do something stupid.

Many of my readers may not realize that I occasionally guest-post for Social Fresh.  So here are some links to a recent series I did.  The first two simply lead up to the last one, which is the one that will likely benefit you the most.

Need a Social Media Plan or Social Media Policy?

Social Media Policy – 5 Principles to Remember

A Template to Help Start Your Social Media Policy

PS:  If you like that third one, make sure to retweet it.  It’s been pretty popular on twitter.  It’s the one with the actual social media policy template on it.

Most Important Take-Aways from #Pubcon 2010

I’m currently on my plane ride home from Vegas.  Unfortunately, this plane does not have Internet access like my last one did.  So this is a good time to write out a bunch of my observations and thoughts from the conference I just attended.

WARNING:  This post is going to be long.  Feel free to just scan over the Bolded/capitalized headings and just read what you are interested in.

(You can also just read the very brief points at the end.)

The style of Pubcon is different than any other conference in my opinion.  Brett Tabke is a genuine nice guy that does this conference year after year.  Many of the speakers and attendees know him personally and speak positively of him.  The conference has an overall feeling of individuals helping individuals.  Everyone is not just friendly, but genuinely helpful.

Guys like Jerry West, Greg Boser, Brad Geddes, Christine Churchill, and countless others all rally together to learn from each other and to help newbies at Pubcon.  The whole event is very welcoming to newcomers.  This is evident not only in the presentations, but in the constant conversations between sessions.  Pubcon is mostly about search, but like most conferences, they delve into other areas such as social media, new media, etc.

For keyword research, several marketers are complaining about the Google AdWords Keyword Tool.  They are not showing all data as of just a few weeks ago.  It looks like many are going back to using WordTracker and Keyword Discovery for inventory data.  Another incredible tool to mine new keyword phrases is Scrapebox.  It’s amazing.

For Link Building and other SEO tools, it seems as if SEOmoz and SEOBook are the clear leaders. 

For SEO reporting, Raven Tools is quickly becoming the industry favorite.

I was surprised that more people were not excited about jumping head first into Microsoft AdCenter now that it is powering both Bing and Yahoo.  Rather, most everyone still focuses their energy on Google AdWords and simply copy what works into Microsoft AdCenter.

The strongest tips that came out of PPC were to focus more intently on negative keywords.  Several presenters encouraged using thousands of negative keywords.  Use tools such as Scrapebox to find as many as possible.

Some other good tips were to focus on Quality Score.  Improving your QS can have a dramatic effect on your spending.

Between the sessions I attended and the conversations I had, it’s becoming more obvious that using Facebook for marketing is really in its infancy.  Very few marketers are just STARTING to even try this, let alone see the potential.

The technique that many are using is to use targeted ads to drive traffic to custom built pages that engage and reward “liking” the page.  Hopefully, the viral effect kicks in.  If your audience engages, their friends see them and may join too.

The concept is that you then “own the audience” and can try to engage them on the page over and over.  You may choose to push them toward an offer on your website or just keep engaging them to the benefit of the brand.

Interestingly, if it doesn’t work, it’s easy to start over, give up, and try something different on a Facebook page.  So the general idea is to keep trying something until it starts clicking with your target audience.  Very little harm is done if you fail at first.  Just reiterate and move on.

It works.  People make very good money at it.  Search engine placement for the right keywords is money in the bank.  In fact, it is reoccurring money that keeps on coming in.

This is so true that those that are involved in successful e-commerce can’t help but laugh at those that are trying to make money in social media.  Both e-commerce and affiliate marketers look at social media and just smile, as if they know something the others don’t.  (It’s kind of amusing to watch, actually.)

Several of the attendees of Pubcon are clearly making good money and are happy to just pick up a few tidbits here and there and get to know the others that are doing the same.  There is much less effort into trying to “look cool” and “be in the forefront”, as is seen in the other conferences.

Search engine marketing combined with e-commerce and/or affiliate marketing is not a hobby.  It’s an income stream.  And it works.  It really does.  (But please don’t tell anyone.  Smile.)

In many ways, the future of how search engines will work is already here.  When you type something into Google or Bing, you don’t just get 10 links anymore.  Those days are mostly over.

You get what is called “universal search”, which means the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) shows videos, news, realtime (twitter), images, local info, and other things.  You need to take all this into consideration.

SERPS are also taking more “unstated signals” into account.  They try to determine where you are, what else you are already interested in or like, who your friends are, and what device you are using (PC, mobile phone, tablet, or even television).

Matt Cutts (the voice of Google) gave a presentation, but others spoke about Google as well.  Overall, I get the impression that Google is scared of Facebook because of the data they own and won’t share.  (What you like and who your friends are – often referred to as your social graph.)

Google also is very aggressively pursuing mobile and television.  (Duh.  It’s where the true growth and money is.)

Google is also admitting that spam is starting to increase within their SERPS.  Therefore they are soon going to start taking an even stronger attack against spam, buying links, and other inappropriate activities that they feel promotes the wrong sites.  They are already rewarding the larger brands over smaller ones.  Several noted this.

Matt specifically encouraged all webmasters and site owners to claim their site in Google Webmaster Tools and turn on the flag that allows Google to email them when they note something of concern.

This is a topic that I brought up to some very interesting people in my conversations.  It seems as if several in the “social media” camp believe that the two may eventually combine and/or social may start taking away from search engines.

In my conversations with several very smart people that know both industries well, there seemed to be agreement that this just plain is not true.  It won’t happen.

Social is good for hearing from and learning from your friends.  Ask your followers on Twitter what they recommend.  Check Facebook to see what your “social graph” likes, etc.  But when you want to do the research yourself and/or follow up to determine how you feel, you almost always end up back at Google.

I had this very conversation with Tim Mayer after his keynote on the future of search.  I also had a roundtable discussion (at a literal roundtable at lunch) with Brett Tabke, Warren Whitlock, Brian Carter, and a few others on this. 

After thinking a lot about this, I firmly believe that search engines are here to stay.  Social media is here to stay, too.  And although they may assist each other a little, they are never going to combine.  Nor are they ever going to cannibalize the other.  That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it – for now.

These are by far the two biggest and hottest topics in all of the Internet right now.  Period.  Both of these are much greater opportunities, easier, and more powerful online than anything else, including social media.

How’s that for a bold statement?

If you are not starting to create videos and are not at least staying informed of what is happening with smart phones, you are totally missing the bus.  The time is RIGHT NOW to get involved.  The wave is coming and it’s time to get in front of it.  No joke.

For the past six years, local marketing online has always been the next big thing and right around the corner.  I feel that it’s actually true this year.  The growth of mobile phones, combined with the effort both Facebook and Google are putting into this makes the claim more believable this year than ever before.

Then again, we said that last year, and the year before that, and the year before that…   You get the picture.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

(Sorry for the long post.)

1.  Pubcon is great.
2.  Go buy Scrapebox for keyword research
3.  Use more negative keywords in AdWords
4.  Don’t be afraid of marketing in Facebook
5.  Don’t let people know that e-commerce makes real money
6.  Realize that search engines show more than just websites
7.  Don’t bother trying to spam Google
8.  Learn how to market in both search & social
9.  Start jumping into Video and Mobile right now
10.   Local marketing is about to take off (maybe)

PS:  I have another post ready to come out of me about the true state of Search Engine Optimization and those that practice it.  More about that later.  Stay tuned.

Harris Teeter & iJustine in Charlotte, NC – The Story

Harris Teeter

HarrisTeeterAs some of you may know by now, Harris Teeter (headquartered in Charlotte) has hired me on contract to assist them in getting going with social media.  At this point, we’re just meeting together periodically to do the typical stuff, like building a social media policy and plan

To their credit, the main marketing guys at Harris Teeter are wanting to get more involved in social media and new media in general.  But like many companies, they are a bit hesitant and want to make sure they “do it right”.  That’s normal.  They have plans to get involved in Twitter, Facebook, etc soon.  (Stay tuned for more on that.)


IJustine-TwitterFor those of you that are not familiar with iJustine, you can check out her site here or learn more about her on Wikipedia under Justine Ezarik.  But to say that she is a web celebrity is an understatement.  Her primary YouTube channel has over 600K subscribers and over 111 MILLION total views.

The iJustine & Harris Teeter History

As Justine stated in her most recent video

“ …every year, my family and I, we go on vacation to North Carolina and there’s this grocery store called Harris Teeter.  And since last year, I started doing music videos in the store.”

Apparently, this year’s video is not her favorite as per her recent tweet.  Yet, within 24 hours, it has gotten almost 90K views.  (Then again, some of her others have gotten over 500K within a few days.)  Also, last year’s video about Harris Teeter got around 275K.

iJustine’s Thoughts on Harris Teeter

IJustineObviously, iJustine likes Harris Teeter.  (At least she likes making fun videos there.)  Last year’s video ended with a screen that stated in part…

I don’t know why I love this store but I do..

No this isn’t an ad
No they did NOT pay me to make this!!!

This video is in no way
affiliated with Harris Teeter at all.

Harris Teeter’s Thoughts on iJustine

NOTE:  I am in no way a spokesman for Harris Teeter.  Nor, am I authorized to speak in behalf of the company. 

Yet, I can confirm her comments above that she is not associated with them in any way.

Also, I know that the top marketing people in Harris Teeter have enjoyed watching the videos.  In fact, they find them rather amusing.  Obviously, they are happy to get the extra attention to their company and the Harris Teeter brand. 

I also know that they have tried to reach out to her in the past.  They would still greatly appreciate an opportunity to talk with her to thank her.

What’s next?

Personally, I think it would be great for Harris Teeter to offer to sponsor her to come visit Harris Teeter HQ and/or a local Charlotte event of some sort.

(Hint: They seem willing.)

Are you reading this?

CharlotteSo here’s my message to iJustine:

If you are reading this, please let me know.  Catch me on Twitter (DM) or any other way.  I’d be honored to connect you with the good people at Harris Teeter HQ so they can express their thanks. 

Charlotte is a great city.  We’d love to have you visit us.

And here’s my message to Charlotte:

If you’d like to have iJustine come visit, please mention it to her on Twitter (@iJustine).  Maybe we’ll catch her attention.

And for all you social media gurus:

I’d love to get some ideas from you.  How would you recommend Harris Teeter reach out to iJustine and show their appreciation for the extra attention she is bringing to their 192 stores in the southeast? 

Drop your ideas in the comments below.  If we use your ideas, I’ll be sure to get you the credit you deserve.

Brandon Uttley & Corey Creed Teach Social Media Marketing

How do you teach social media marketing?  I’ve got the answer! 

You find the guy that does it best near where you live.  Then, you ask him to create and teach a class on it

Brandon UttleyThat’s what I did about one year ago.  Brandon Uttley knows social media marketing.  He has a background in public relations and works for one of the smartest and best marketing agencies in Charlotte.  He lives one town over from me.

So as you can imagine, I was pretty thrilled that he was willing to work with HIPPO Internet Marketing to provide a repeatable class that teaches how to effectively use Facebook and Twitter.  He does not just teach how to build an audience.  He takes it to the next level and teaches how to market effectively to your audience.

Corey CreedThis is the only class we teach that has two instructors.  Now that we’ve taught it a few times, Brandon and I (Corey Creed) enjoy taking turns teaching.  I always enjoy it because I can always learn from Brandon.  I’m not kidding.  He knows his stuff.

So how is your social media marketing going?  Are you using it effectively?  Or do you sometimes feel like it is using you?

Our next class is coming up quick.  I hope you’ll join Brandon and I.  For two days, we’re not just using social media.  We’re going to teach social media MARKETING!

(Visit http://ow.ly/YkCr to register.)

Real Time Search Doesn’t Validate Social Media

As I mention in the beginning of all my Internet Marketing classes, Search Engine Marketing (both SEO and PPC) is a completely different form of marketing.  It’s different than most anything we’ve ever known.

Other forms of marketing and advertising tend to interrupt.  Television, radio, magazines, newspapers, and billboards all interrupt in one way or another.  They all blast their message at you, whether you want it or not.

Search engines are different.

With Search Engine Marketing (SEM), the customer blasts us.  They tell us what they want.  It is reverse broadcast marketing.  We just need to be at the right place at the right time.

To illustrate, Search Engine Marketing is more like farming than hunting.  If you build good sites and links, your customers will come to you.  You don’t need to find them and hunt them down any more.

What about Social Media?

It’s different.  It’s more…  well…  social!  Many compare it to being at a party.  People may mention that they are wanting something.  They may even ask others for advice.  But that is just a small part of what they are saying.  They don’t expect to be directly sold on something.

Along comes real time search!

So now, Google is taking content from Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and putting these comments into search results.  Does that mean that if you want to do well with Search Engine Marketing, you need to be all over social media?  It may seem so.

But not so fast.  Let’s think about this.

For WHICH results is Google showing social media results?  If you type in direct queries for services or products, what will Google show?  Typically, they will show their paid and natural listings.  Sometimes they show local or news results.

But for services and products, they will seldom show real time (social media) results.

When do they show up?

They only show up for subjects that are being talked about a lot.  Don’t believe me?  Over the past few weeks, real time results show up for “Tiger Woods Mistress” and “Google Nexus One Phone”.  They typically won’t show up for “Charlotte Dentist” or “Wii game” or “Internet Marketing Training”.

Sorry Social Media Experts…

I believe in using social media.  After all, I teach a two-day class with Brandon Uttley on it.  But Google’s real time search does not validate the value and need to do social media.

Use social media to network, build awareness, and communicate.

But don’t expect Google to send potential customers to Twitter or Facebook.  They’d rather have your customers click on the Google listings (especially the paid ones).

2010 Prediction – The year of GIANTS!

In just a couple weeks, everyone will be coming out with their predictions about 2010.  I’m jumping the gun and getting mine out today.  I’ve been thinking a lot about this, so I’m ready early.

I predict that 2010 will be the year of the online Giants! 

The Internet and technology in general will have some major players that will dominate stronger than ever.  Everything else will be much, much smaller.

The two biggest giants are going to be Microsoft and Google.

But they both had excellent years in 2009 and are just now starting to erupt in growth and power.  These two biggest giants and will clash constantly and powerfully.

Interestingly, these two did not start out as enemies. 

Microsoft was the big corporate software company, but they are much much more.  They will be the 2nd place search engine (with no other real competitors).  They are already putting constant effort into catching up to Google.  What started out as a software company is now a giant in mobile phones, online advertising, video games, browsers, e-mail & more.

Google started out as the friendly “do no evil” company.  But those days are already over.  They are a corporate giant and will try to compete with Microsoft in every way.  Their goals of “Organizing the World’s Information” is only eclipsed by their desire to put ads on all of it.  Seriously, 98% of their revenue is in AdWords.  They are now in software, operating systems, mobile phones, browsers and everything else.

These two giants will spend 2010 clashing, positioning, growing, and acquiring other businesses as fast and powerfully as they can. 

The only other company to come anywhere close is Apple, but they will not (and don’t even want to) gain the market share that Microsoft and Google do.  Apple prefers to have the overpriced hardware and software that feels exclusive and expensive.  (The stuff the “cool kids” want.)

What about online content?

In a physical world dominated by content from News Corp & Disney (ABC), the two online equivalent giants will be Time Warner & Yahoo (if Yahoo can get their act together).

What about Social Media?

It’s official, Facebook and Twitter win.  Which one?  Both!  Will another come along?  Perhaps, but I doubt it.  These two have officially won and will dominate 2010.  It’s hard to imagine another giant gaining the power these two have.

What about Ecommerce?

The Giant is Amazon.  Ebay used to be right there with them.  But they are just plain falling into the toilet.  Amazon is the clear winner and I don’t think there is a 2nd place.

The 2010 prediction…

None of the above is all that shocking or surprising.  In fact, all of it is already happening.  However, these giants will grow, gain strength, and overpower anyone else that even tried to gain on them.  These companies are strong and will be extremely difficult to topple, especially as the economy starts to improve.

My prediction is that the distance between these giants and anyone else will only grow.