There is No Such Thing as Social Media Marketing!

social media marketing and seoThis title is a bit of exaggeration, but it sure got your attention, right? Let’s continue.

There is no such thing as SEO. There is no such thing as Online Branding. There is no such thing as PR. I can go on and on.

While a few years ago such statements would be absurd, now we need to look at a bigger picture. All those marketing disciplines still exist, yet they shouldn’t be considered as stand- alone strategies anymore. They all are a part of digital marketing, and can be effective only when working together.

Let’s review a few examples.

Social Media Marketing and SEO

Google states that social signals are not important factor in gaining first page position in SERP. It’s a myth. There is no correlation between strong social signals and rankings. While this may or may not be true (I would advise you to take official statements with a grain of salt), the fact is social signals do impact SEO, at least from the indexing point of view.

If search spiders do not “live” on your client’s site, and only visit it occasionally, the easiest way to get new page indexed within minutes is to reference it from influential social media account (doesn’t matter whether it’s Twitter or Facebook). This is not a theory. We’ve done it thousands times.

PR (public relations) and SEO

You might wander what public relations have to do with SEO. Until recently there was a clear sequence – SEO experts helped to optimize press-releases to rank better in SERPs, then after a mass-distribution through PR aggregators, those press-releases generated a massive array of inbound key-word targeted links which helped the overall ranking of a site and specific pages.

Theoretically both departments could work as stand-alone units without the necessity to be in constant contact with each other. Not anymore.

Enter the era of Google penguins otherwise known as killers of duplicate content. Google frowns upon massive press-release distribution that generates a lot of duplicate content. And while it might benefit your company from PR perspective, there is a good chance your search rankings will be negatively affected at the same time. Today press-release creation and distribution requires a careful balancing between PR objectives and the realities of search ranking.

Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

While PR department doesn’t have to collaborate with SM department during the development of PR campaigns, PR advertising and branding dollar will stretch much further if these campaigns are coordinated and supported by related social media activities.

If you’re seasoned marketing executive, I am sure you can easily think of at least dozen examples that support this point of view. Your comments are welcome.

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The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing That Hurts Local Businesses

the biggest local marketing mistake

What is Local Business?

First of all, let’s clearly define what type of business can be classified as local business. Business can be called local if its customer base is limited to a local area.

Local area could be a town, a county or even state (in some cases). Local business services should be available within a reasonable driving distance from its customers. Usually local businesses sell tangible goods and services rather than digital products. Generally, such services are not suitable for shipment to other areas.

While people could go online and shop worldwide for a huge variety of products and services, it doesn’t make sense to search, for example, a barber who is located father than 30 minutes drive away from your house. Other examples of local businesses:

  • Beauty salons and tattoo shops (if your wife wants to do manicure or pedicure, she usually wants it now), and you won’t fly to another state to get a tattoo too (pun intended).
  • Restaurants and bars (you have to be physically present to eat. Sure, you can order the food online, but still it should be within a short driving distance, you wouldn’t want to wait for Chinese takeout for more than 30 minutes).
  • Dentists and other doctors (need medical help? I don’t think you would be inclined to drive far away to find someone who can ease the pain.)
  • Martial art studios and yoga instructors (want to get in shape? You have to train at least several times per week, so remote location is out of the question).
  • Roofing services, handymen, electricians, plumbers, landscaping services (umm, let me picture this: you need to fix your roof or your toilet, and you’re searching online for someone thousand miles away…yeah, that’s not going to happen).
  • Auto dealerships (while you can buy car online, you won’t go in another state for an oil change or regular car maintenance services).
  • Real estate agents (unless you want to buy in another state or country, you would want someone who knows local real estate market).
  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • The list goes on and on.

I think you get the picture. All these products and services are important for comfortable life, but they are not easily transferrable outside of local area.

Here is the good news for local businesses: due to the very nature of local services, they have less competition. Local business owners don’t have to compete in the world market, all they have to do is stay ahead of competition in their local area. Instead of competing with millions other similar businesses they just have to outsmart a few dozen of them.

Here comes the bad news: the majority of local businesses have rather vague understanding of online marketing, and even those of them who have a website tend to promote their business using traditional methods – newspaper ads, local business listing, local business directories, yellow pages, etc.

The return on investment on this kind of advertisement shrinks every year, yet business owners are still clinging to these outdated promotional methods because it’s hard to embrace, let alone understand “the other world” – the world of digital marketing.

Of course local owners have heard about Facebook and Twitter, may be even about Linkedin or Google Plus. But hearing about these social networks is not the same as making them work.

The Biggest Mistake about Local Business Marketing

The biggest misconception that drives local businesses to the ground is that they think that they have to hire someone local to help them with their marketing problems. Unfortunately the folks in their neck of woods might not have expertise required for increasing marketing ROI (return on investment).

Here is how my initial conversation starts with more local business owner than I care to count: “Yeah, you know a lot about all this new media stuff, and probably could do something for my business, but you’re in New England, and I am in Texas/ Colorado/ North Carolina/ Arizona/ UK/Australia /Fill-in-the-blank/…, so you can’t help me”.

Dear local business owners, local business marketing does not have to be provided by someone from your town. Yes, your services are limited to your local area, but the choice of marketing consultants is not. All this online marketing and new media “stuff” is in the cloud, and it can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

Your social media profiles can be created, optimized, and even managed from any city in the world. The same goes for your website, and your mobile site or app. You just need to find the right company that can take your current monthly advertising budget, and use it to steadily increase your revenue, bring more clients and customers for your business by utilizing the cutting edge online marketing strategies, tools and resources.

Speaking of the “right company”, for a limited time I offer free 15 minute marketing consultations for local businesses (local as in businesses serving location-specific customers, not in local – limited to my current location). So click the link above to reserve your spot, and bring your local business to the new level!

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The Difference Between Social Media Marketing Persona and Buyer Persona

The Difference between Social media Marketing Personas and Buyer PersonasBuyer Persona or Marketing Persona

It’s important for companies to create buyer personas in order to fine-tune marketing message, diversify and improve sales channels, and create supporting content marketing strategies. Personas can help company to boost the overall results of online marketing campaigns.

Marketing or buyer persona is a schematic profile of the specific segment of company’s buyers that share the same or similar demographic data, job responsibilities, goals and challenges, etc.

Depending on the segmentation dynamics of a particular industry it could be required to create anywhere from 3 to 5 buyer profiles which serve as a detailed representation of company’s customers. Each profile is developed to better understand needs, wants, desires, fears and values of the specific group of customers with common traits. To make personas more effective, they are often portrayed as real people with pictures, names, genders, household incomes, certain number of kids, education, etc.

Buyer personas are created to better understand buyers, personalize marketing, branding and customer service experience and ultimately increase revenue by offering products that better suits the needs of particular buyer markets.

Social Media Marketing Persona

While marketing or buyer persona concentrates exclusively on buyers, the social media marketing persona has a broader task.

The purpose of social media marketing is not only to contribute to immediate and assisted conversions, but also to increase company’s brand awareness and grow online community.

As a result social media marketing personas should include buyer personas with addition of at least two more personas related to social interactions: industry influencer persona and engager persona.

Both are crucial for the success of social media marketing campaigns. Influencers can help to quickly build brand awareness and engagers are the core of your online community.

It’s crucial to develop such personas, because they can help you to discover the venues and social networks where each group is the most active.

Social Media Marketing Personas and Social Tribes

While developing influencer and engager personas it’s helpful to also identify social tribes that these personas might belong to. Social tribes have their own highly developed hierarchy and diligent tribal  research can reveal other hidden sources of influencers and engagers that are not evident from the main stream.

The definitions are still evolving for both social tribes and social media marketing personas. Yet even now it’s obvious that the best results could be achieved by thoroughly analyzing and applying both.

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