"As Facebook Graph Search evolves and marketers begin to come to grips with the opportunities provided from the social graph, it becomes clear that a combination of both search and social media tactics are required if brands aim to improve."
"Facebook Graph Search is a great tool for local and small businesses, and it is now more important than ever for these businesses to be active on Facebook. Users searching for a particular product or service can now easily find those recommended by their friends. In order for businesses to take advantage of Facebook Graph Search, a local listing and a local following are essential.
Danny Sullivan explains this in more detail while discussing Facebook Graph Search’s “multi-dimensional searches”:
Another difference is the layers of searching or refinement that Facebook Search offers compared to Google. For example, a Google search can show you restaurants in San Francisco, a pretty much single dimensional view. A Facebook search can show you restaurants in San Francisco liked by your friends. Or further, those liked by your friends who actually live in San Francisco, as opposed to those who live elsewhere. Or those liked by your single friends, your straight friends, your gay friends, your friends who work for a particular company….
To prepare your Facebook Page for local optimization within Graph Search, consider the following:
If you have a location or a local place page, it is vital that you update your address now to make sure you can appear as a result when someone is searching for a specific locationIf you are in a niche sector such as hotels, restaurants, recruitment, travel and tickets, then you should be embracing Facebook Graph Search now
Does your blog have a content plan? You might develop your content plan this way.
1. Define your audience and the needs of your audience (or target audience). Let’s call this “the main subject.”
2. Break “the main subject” into smaller topics. There will likely be many smaller topics within the main subject.
3. You might just ask your audience what kind of content they would like you to provide for them. What worries them? What problems can you help them solve?
4. Analyze audience response to your existing content. Use your analytics applications and any other tools at your disposal to determine your most popular content, audience and what's interesting about it.
5. Make a chart of the topics you have identified. Indicate on the chart who will read content about the topic. Then expand your chart into a grid with every topic, audience segment, and audience need identified for each piece of potential content.
6. Identify and fill all gaps in topics, platforms, formats, etc. Ensure you have included every possible topic, message, call to action, and opportunity to communicate with your target audience.
7. Did you include communication media other than text? If not, go back and add columns to you grid for video, audio, images, PowerPoint presentations, webinar recordings, slide shows, etc. Add SEO and indicate who will write each piece of content.
8. Fill in all of the spaces in the grid. Decide how you will communicate with your audience about each topic. Consider all options.
9. Put the grid away, out of sight, for at least 24 hours. After that time away, review the entire grid with care. Review the connections, the messages, and the formats.Finally, add a schedule.
10. Start implementing your content plan. Follow your plan for at least 30 days. Then analyze the effectiveness of what you have done. Refine the plan accordingly. Implement again.
"Play it right and loyal, engaged customers will create high-quality content for you in a variety of ways on the web, without being paid."
"Turn advocates into content creating machines. Forget incentives or perks. Brand advocates recommend their favorite products because they’ve had a fantastic experience and want to help others. The key is to make it easy for advocates to generate content by giving them online tools to create the following:
Highly positive reviews that will increase ratings, combat negative word of mouth, and improve SEOGlowing stories and testimonials that will boost awareness and brand reputationAnswers to prospects’ questions that will increase sales conversion ratesTweets, Facebook posts, and comments that will drive positive word of mouth for your brandVideos, photos, and other multimedia content to boost engagement.
Amplify advocates. Once advocates have created a piece of authentic and compelling content for your brand, give them the tools to share the love via social sharing widgets for channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and email. To help boost ratings, enable them to publish their reviews on relevant third party review sites such as Yelp, Amazon, or TripAdvisor.
Leverage content. Advocate-generated content is digital gold. Don’t keep this treasure buried in your backyard. Display how you’ve created raving advocates by posting their recommendations on media channels like your website, Facebook and Twitter. Another powerful way to leverage this content is to put positive reviews or testimonials at each step in the consumer purchase path to increase conversion rates and reduce shopping cart abandonment."
For bootstrapped startups there are a number of affordable marketing channels to get started. Advertising is generally expensive and most startups overestimate advertising ROI, especially until they’ve gained some sort of foothold through other means. Some of the examples are free classified ads, organic social media, using your personal network to spread the word on your business, media publicity, sites
We are living in the age of the entrepreneur -- more people are starting up, and it's ever important to stand out in the crowd. We spoke to a handful of venture capitalists and startup entrepreneurs to get their top tips on how to put together the ideal startup pitch. Here are the best five tips we heard.
By Tasha Cunningham There is a wealth of free, or almost free, tools online to help small business promote their products and services on mobile platforms. If you read my column in Business Monday today you’ve learned about five of them.
With so many new websites and start-ups springing up every day, a high-quality, professional web site is no longer optional — if it ever was. If you want your company to be taken seriously, let alone stand out, you need to have a design that is both memorable and professional.
Gaurav Pandey's insight:
For me a good website design is essentially clean and simple. Peope make decisions about the credibility of a website as soon as the page loads. Some websites go overboard with colours, graphics and multimedia and lose their focus. A clean, uncluttered layout that allows easy access to information generally scores well. Another key element to a good website is a logical, neat navigation structure.
Online retailing is moving toward a new trend of specialist shopping, which is more focused on the latest trends and premium brands, according to Arthur Goldstuck, an analyst and managing director of World Wide Worx.
Goldstuck told Business Report this week that online shoppers would start to see more boutique-like online shops in the future.
Being social is not something every company can do well. In fact, according to a new report from the research firm Altimeter Group, there are companies that fit along one of six stages ...
...With a social media strategy, a company lays out the channels, platforms, and tactics that are used to support publishing, listening and engagement. On the other hand, in using a social business strategy, relevant technologies and processes are integrated into business values and practices in order to build relationships and cause conversations to happen both in the organization and outside. Both Li and Solis say it will create value and optimizing impact for customers and the business....
You don't earn the title of the ultimate social media marketer unless you have monster skills. What kind of skills are we talking about to become a social media monster? What kind of plans and strategies are necessary for success?
Gaurav Pandey's insight:
And, the world's greatest social media marketer takes a pause every now and then to sharpen his axe. Cheers!
It’s not access to capital, though that is a real problem in that it inhibits growth in some places where it shouldn’t. No, it’s not command and control management hierarchies, despite the contribution they certainly make. It’s not the problem of “the other” that plagues broad swaths of our society, though that is a close second. I contend the biggest problem is that each business has too few people looking after the whole of the business. This is not only seen in the concentration of power in the hands of the C-Suite and the Board, but also in the org charts that map an often too real silo like operational structure.
What’s the solution? I believe we need to fundamentally rethink the closely held tenets of business strategy, especially in light of the geopolitical and environmental situation we now face. To put it simply, it is time to for organizations large and small to adopt a holistic business strategy that empowers more employees to think about the whole of the business; to more fully understand the ins and outs of the product/service offering; and ultimately focus on serving their markets instead of serving the stock market.
According to a recent Forrester Research report, as many as one-third of U.S. companies surveyed were dissatisfied with their social marketing results. The report also pointed out that only 38% of those surveyed directly targeted their followers or fans on social channels. Bear in mind, search engines also consider blogs, websites and communities as social channels, so we are not talking just Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and similar social media sites here.
So what's stopping these businesses? I have tried to answer that question in this blog post.
Gaurav Pandey's insight:
Here's a new post from my blog. In recent times, I have been often asked whether SEO was dead. So I decided to write a post on where I think the SEO industry stands and what the future is likely to be.
As always, drop me a comment if you have anything to add.
"This lecture examines the pressure on philanthropic organisations to provide quantifiable short-term impact measurements
It is often said of private donors and non-profit actors that social impact is not something they set out to measure –– it’s something they set out to make. Along the way to making a difference, social investors often face questions about the alignment between their activities, missions and strategies, about the progress of the work that is funded through investments and grants, about possible course adjustments, and perhaps taking advantage of emergent opportunities. And of course all need to report to stakeholders and the public. So they inevitably end up monitoring, measuring, and evaluating programs and projects simply to generate the impact they want to make. For private donors and non-profit actors, measuring impact is not an end in itself. That said, when tailored to a purpose and demonstrably benefitting the communities we seek to serve, monitoring and evaluation and learning can play a crucially important part in effective philanthropy and social investment.
There are many good reasons for measuring and evaluating social outcomes and impact, each calling for a distinctive approach and possibly for different measurement tools. In a start-up social enterprise, for example, the chief aim could be to develop a viable business plan ensuring the growth and survival of the enterprise by monitoring costs, income, benefits, and outcomes. For a large mature organization, a robust impact measurement system could provide a helpful management tool for aligning activities with mission and strategy, and guiding internal resource allocations to the best intermediate users. For other organizations, it could serve chiefly as a learning tool, helping to improve practice by adjusting methods and activities to take full account of the lessons coming out of measurement. For others again, it could help to flesh out communications strategies by identifying the success stories that boards and the public appreciate.
The least good reason for measuring social impact is to meet the expectations of donors and funding agencies. And yet, in Australia, the strongest incentive for measuring social impact among service organizations today appears to be a perceived need to meet increasingly shrill demands from funding agencies and donors for quantifiable impact measurements as a condition of further funding. To complicate matters, in fields of community engagement where cooperation among service providers is a precondition for enduring social impact, funders’ demands for impact measurement stimulate competition among providers to beggar their neighbours."
Business plans are great, useful even, but the planning process and a growth oriented plan of action is where it’s at for the small business.
1) Ideal customer (IC) – How would someone spot our ideal customer? What do they look like, what do they think, where do they live, work and play? How do we locate them? What is their pain? Is there a behavior that signals they are ideal? What triggers their desire to solve their problem? What do they get when they hire us?
The goal of this phase of planning is to complete a picture of the ideal customer – one that values your unique approach. Look to your most profitable clients that also tend to refer business for clues.
2) Value proposition (VP) – Why do people buy from us rather than our competitors?This is a hard one for some companies to nail and you might have much better luck spending some time asking your customers why they buy from you, stay with you and refer you. Listen very carefully to the stories the tell for clues to your value proposition. There are a handful of proven value propositions, but the key is for you to find and commit to something that clearly differentiates.
3) Strategy Hourglass (SH) – Where are our gaps in customer engagement? I believe that process of growing a customer centric business lies in developing a mindset that focuses on the act of logically moving customers and prospects through seven stages of engagement – know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer. The Marketing Hourglass is a tool I’ve used with hundreds of business owners to help create a focus on customer engagement.
4) Primary objectives (PO) – What are our 2-3 highest priority objectives for growth?One of the things the derails growth most often is too many goals and objectives. Most business can only focus on a couple of initiatives at any give time. You must identify andcommit to no more than three priorities and then go to work on creating the projects and tasks needed to pull these off. And, you must say no to the idea of the week that shows up to knock you off course.
5) Revenue streams (RS) – How can we create more streams of revenue? There are only three ways to grow: add more customers, increase the average transaction size, increase the number of purchase per customer. It’s actually easier to sell more to existing customer than add new customers. What services or products could you add? What packaging, pricing or promotion could you realign? What new markets or segments could you enter?
6) Strategic relationships (SR) – What relationships do we need to develop? This is probably one of the greatest untapped opportunities for growth. What marketing partners could be motivated to promote and co-market your business? What joint ventures would allow you to tackle new work? What vendors or suppliers could help you grow? What competitors could become cooperative partners for new venture, markets or work?
7) Key indicators (KI) – What metrics impact our growth most? Most businesses can tell you how much revenue they did last month and how much money they have in the bank. By tracking things like % or leads converted, % or business via referral, cost to acquire a new customer and % of customers likely to refer you can take control of the things that actually impact your growth in near real-time. Here are 7 key indicators that I believe should be part of the picture.
Here's how Australia Post can help small businesses get online: Their simple content management system for online retailers called “MyShopInABox”. Uniquely, for a CMS, you can pick up a copy at your local Post Office!SecurePay – the Government backed online payment system bought by Australia PostClick and Send – easy way to create the documentation you need for sending parcels to your customers, as well as an easy way to organise and pay for deliveriesReply Paid Returns – a way of increasing customer confidence is to allow them to return goods to you free of charge. Online retailer StyleTread uses this to excellent advantage.Local business hubs – Post offices dedicated to helping their business customersThey also covered a bit about direct marketing, and their ‘lifestyle’ survey of householders.
Gaurav Pandey's insight:
Australia Post are a customer centric organisation and digitial media forms a big part of their future plans. They've been consistently rated as one of the most reputable brands in Australia. So if you are a #SmallBusiness, get on to the bandwagon, you might even get some early bird benefits!
Worried about how to fill out your meta keywords tag so your startup ranks best in Googleresults? Don't bother, the company says. Google search ignores it.
Here's a video that provides startups tips and suggestions about how to master search engine optimization in just 10 minutes.
The video features advice catered to small businesses with main web content on less than 50 pages looking to rank only a handful of related search terms.
From how to add the best keywords and including analytics code on your site to how to approach marketing in general, Google aims to make it easier for startups to get their brands ranked higher on search result pages
Regardless of the exact definition of social business, we’re talking business and thus inevitably people, processes and purpose, your third P if you so desire and like P’s. Social business pilot projects and smaller test cases are not only great ways to break through the clutter of the hype but also help making purpose and benefits tangible and understandable for those involved. They also result in know-how and lessons that can be used by the whole business for future projects.
Gaurav Pandey's insight:
Interesting article? What do you think are the most important factors to consider before launching your business?