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Top 30 Business and Marketing News Sources by Forbes

Top 30 Business and Marketing News Sources by Forbes | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

 

 


Via Robin Good
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Here's what Robin Good (the original curator) has to say about the article, so you know why no 1 is missing from the list. He's spot on, I'd say : 


Robin Good's insight:

 

Michael Brenner has put together a useful list of the top 30 news sources you should be following if you are interested in online business and marketing news.

 

Useful, resourceful. 7/10

 

 

P.S.: In my humble opinion, this list is tainted by the author placing the magazine he writes for (Forbes in this case) as the top one in the list. As a curator this is something I suggest to avoid like the pest as it instantly taints your supposedly impartial collector skills with a way too evident marketing effort, which dents significantly into the credibility of the overall list and the on the reputation of the writer.

 

In my effort to help others recognize effective curation from simple-minded content marketing efforts I feel quite important to highlight such small details, as even though they may appear of no relevance to some people today, they will have enormous importance - in my opinion - in the near future.

 

 

Full list:http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2013/02/27/curate-this-30-sources-to-keep-you-updated-on-business-and-marketing/

 

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SEO ROI: All You Need To Know

SEO ROI: All You Need To Know | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is one of the most widely used methods of attracting relevant visitors to your website. If implemented properly, it can be extremely effective in converting prospects into paying customers since most of the people who visit your website would be interested in the products or services on offer. However, if your SEO campaign is not effectively targeted, it could end up being nothing more than a waste of time and money.

 

It is important to measure the success of your SEO campaign in order to figure out whether your resources are appropriately allocated. Using services such as Google Analytics, you can sift through various data to analyse traffic patterns, revenue deviations, etc. to understand the efficiency of your online marketing methods.


Read more: http://www.gauravpandey.com.au/small-business-consultant-in-melbourne/

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7 Top Brand Monitoring Tools

7 Top Brand Monitoring Tools | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Monitoring your brand is important.

If only just to ensure that you can effectively manage your brands reputation.

It’s difficult offline, but it gets a lot easier online.

When people have a bad experience with a service some bring they might blog about it or maybe share it on social media – that’s if it’s been extremely bad.

That’s why you need to have a system in place that will allow you to react to these situations quick. If left untended they can quickly spiral out of control and create a PR nightmare for your business. 

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

If you are not monitoring your brand online then you are leaving the door open for a potential PR nightmare. Use these brand monitoring tools to stay informed.

An excellent list! I think Fresh Web Explorer from Moz deserves a mention. Any others? 

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Why Creativity Matters More Than Passion for Entrepreneurs

Why Creativity Matters More Than Passion for Entrepreneurs | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

What is the most important quality of an entrepreneur? Many would argue it is passion — an overwhelming love of what one is doing, and the drive and determination to see one's dreams realized. Others might say leadership — the ability to bring a team of people together and guide them toward a common goal. But some believe that creativity — a boundless imagination that is constantly innovating and seeing the world through a different lens — is the ultimate key to business success.

Phoebe Cade Miles, daughter of Gatorade inventor Dr. James Robert Cade, is one such believer in the power of creativity. She watched her father work tirelessly to invent a product that, five decades after its introduction, is still used by athletes around the world. Today, Cade Miles is working on her own entrepreneurial project, The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention. The museum, scheduled to open in 2015 to commemorate Gatorade's 50th anniversary, explores the history of the famous athletic drink, and highlights the crucial role creativity played in its invention.

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PPC Advertising Best Practices (Gaurav Pandey Consulting)

PPC Advertising Best Practices (Gaurav Pandey Consulting) | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

For bootstrapped start-ups there are a number of affordable marketing channels to get started.

Advertising is generally expensive and most start-ups overestimate advertising ROI, especially until they’ve gained some sort of foothold through other means.

So before you try paid advertising explore options such as free classified ads, organic social media, using your personal network, media publicity, sites such as Gumtree and Craigslist.

Assuming you’ve done all that and are ready to invest some money on paid advertising, here’s what you need to do to optimise your PPC spending:

PPC advertising is becoming increasingly competitive. Across the board CPCs are going up and CTRs are dropping. And on top of that there’s no direct correlation between clicks and actual conversions.

 

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Affordable PPC Advertising Services for Small Businesses. Gaurav Pandey Consulting. Call today 0426 282 382 / 03 9972 7794

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Do You Have it in You?

Do You Have it in You? | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it
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?
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Gaurav Pandey's curator insight, August 4, 2013 11:17 AM

And, the world's greatest social media marketer takes a pause every now and then to sharpen his axe. Cheers! 

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Optimising For FB Graph Search

Optimising For FB Graph Search | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article:

 

"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

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

FB Graph Search continues to expand and it's probably time to optimse for it. Last heard, FB engineers continue to intervene to make sure the end results are up to scratch and the company deserves a pat for that. 

Graph Search holds great promiise for SMBs.

It enables businesses to better target their audience and will make ad targeting even more specific.

With the quality of results directly impacting FB's advertising revenue, we can expect them to put in more work to improve the quality of the results. 

 

Read More: http://searchengineland.com/facebook-graph-search-optimization-meets-social-sharing-157710

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Gaurav Pandey's curator insight, June 6, 2013 7:33 PM

If you want to explore more, here's an excellent resource on FB Graph Search. http://whatisgraphsearch.com/

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The New SEO

The New SEO | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

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:

Hello, 

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. 

Drop me a comment if you have anything to add. 

Please feel free to share. 

Cheers, Gaurav. 

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Your Best Advertisement

Your Best Advertisement | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article:

 

"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."

 

Full artilcle here: http://onforb.es/12LMAq0

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

An article every marketer should read. Deborah points out why it's important to identify and nurture the best assets of your business – your brand advocates.

Simply put, brand advocates are satisfied customers and they bring you two of the most sought after elements for any business – repeat business and word of mouth publicity.  I'd like to add to the article by elaborating on how to reward your brand advocates to ensure they stay happy and feel they are being looked after.

 

1.     Build a Database:  Firstly, a business needs to develop a strategy to manage such clients. And the first thing you should be starting with is a database of customers who have praised your services in the past or rated their experience with your brand highly. Make sure you get their details down and keep in touch.  

 

2.     Reach Out and Engage: Open new lines of communication by researching which online platforms these clients are active on and make an effort to engage.  Think of it as talking to a friend, don't make it about your brand, sometimes listening and holding back is the best way to encourage conversation. If you do it regularly enough these conversations would magnify into an excellent self-supporting advertisement mechanism for your brand.

3.     Give them VIP Treatment: Find authentic ways to reward brand advocates. It's important to make them feel special so they stay on your side of the fence.  If you think about it there are many ways of doing this. How about an exclusive offer they can share with others? Or even an occasional email thanking them for their patronage.  Make sure your best staff looks after them when they drop into your store, or perhaps the owner can walk up to them to welcome them.  Another way is to give them access to exclusive content before others. I reckon you get the idea.

 

4.     Don't Shoot Yourself: I'll end with a word of warning: Stay away from any direct monetary compensation. This approach will come back to hurt you in most cases as it dilutes the quality of their recommendation if others find out they've been paid to post glowing reviews for you. Transparency is the word when dealing with your customers. 

 

Have something to add? Drop in a comment. 

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7 Steps to Business Growth

7  Steps to Business Growth | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article:

 

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.

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

John highlights some good points in the article.  Anyone who has been seriously involved business strategy would agree with John on all counts. However, each of these points can be explained in details and further elaborated upon. As it is, the article is succinct and would serve as a good prototype to any business interested in developing a detailed growth strategy.  

I would like to add/highlight a few points which I found missing (partly or entirely) in the article.

 

1.        According to me, among the most important factors that affect a business' growth are planning and implementation. While this may sound pretty straightforward, it is in fact a lot more complex. Planned growth comes about as a combination of several factors, such as timing of expansion, not losing sight of the organisation's strategic focus and assessing in an unbiased manner the if the organisation in question is ready to absorb the impact such an expansion may bring.  

The second part, i.e., implementation involves identifying the stresses that growth normally puts on an organisation's processes, controls, people, cash flow etc. Effective implementation involves being prepared in advanced for any negative fallout that may result from the incremental nature of growth. The best way to grow is to consider all the aforementioned points and place safe bets and avoid large risks. 

 

2.       The next point I'd like to mention is how important it is to embrace new technologies (for most businesses). Let's take the role of a Business Development Manager for example. This seemingly well-defined role has seen so many changes over the years, not so much in the end result you are trying to achieve, but more in how you go about getting there. With digital media having exploded as it has, there are potentially many more avenues for a Business Development Manager to reach out to people, generate leads and use their time much more efficiently. The balance that had previously existed has all but gone and today one of the biggest prerequisites for such a role would be social media savvy and a willingness and ability to embrace new technologies. Of course, this was just an example and similar notions apply for other roles as well. A twitter-friendly CEO, staff who are aware of their responsibilities when on social media etc. This is the new way business is done and companies which take these into account while hiring or expanding tend to reap the benefits by gaining a head start over those who have yet to jump onto the bandwagon.

 

3.       The third and most important point is Customer Centricity. John's touched upon the subject in the article but I'd like to go a little further especially in context of growth plans we are talking about. Whenever an organisation decides to grow it either targets new customers or builds upon its existing customer-base. If the growth plan involves creating a new customer segment, the company needs to redefine its Customer Value Proposition specifically targeted at its new audience. Also, due-diligence in choosing your market and identifying the right customer –product mix is the key to a successful venture. On the other hand, if the expansion strategy involves a company's existing customer base, the focus should be on creating brand advocates and ensuring they are treated well and have a say of some sort in the expansion strategy.  These customers are your biggest assets and their feedback goes a long way in ensuring your future plans include ideas which have worked for you in the past.

 

(I plan to write a blog post soon elaborating these points in more detail.)

If you have any comments and questions, please feel free to share. Cheers! 

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Gaurav Pandey's comment, May 20, 2013 8:15 AM
Thanks for sharing, Dario!
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Be a Content Generation Engine

Be a Content Generation Engine | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

From the article: 

 

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.


Read more at http://www.business2community.com/social-media/effective-social-media-marketing-strategies-need-a-powerful-content-plan-0468474#tIrqqMzR0eYUMIdo.99

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

It's a good post, especially for the greenhorns of the content creation world.

 

As someone who's tried out various content generation methods and strategies over the years, I'd like to share my personal experience.

 

First things first, there's no escaping the manual work involved in content creation. Most of us. even online professionals like myself, don't really have that kind of time, especially for personal blogs. But, even if you do come up with the time and put in the effort to optimise it for SEO, spread the word etc, it's very likely someone somewhere has already said that. This essentially defeats the whole point of the exercise. 

 

This was until I discovered content curation, which I find more attractive for a variety of reasons including ability to source the best content, adding your insight - something that allows you to showcase your knowledge and encouraging dialouge by choosing to agree or disagree with the author.

 

However, even effective curation requires manual work. Yes, there are tools which make your task a lot easier but again no tool is perfect and you'll have to do a lot of reading and manual sorting if you intend to provide your audience with something meaningful consistently.  That said, curation is still less time consuming and provides greater value to your readers. Of course this doesn't mean you should stop publishing original content altogether but it certainly helps you contribute regularly with amaging content which brings your audience back to your site time and again. 

 

Similar rules apply to curation as well. It's important to ensure you have a plan and a strategic focus that the article talks about. And yes, an editorial calender will make your life much easier. 

Also, don't underestimate the importance of categories and tagging. And finally, the big question - What pain point are you solving for your customers? What is your CVP (Customer Value Proposition) or USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? 

 

Remember it's all about adding value. Ask yourself dispassionately if your content is valueable to your audience and you'll know if you are on the right track. 

 

I'd appreciate if you share your thoughts. Cheers!  

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The Future SEOs

The Future SEOs | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Rand Fishkin shares his take on the shift from "SEO" to "inbound marketing" and what the future holds for our industry at large. 

 

 


Via Antonino Militello
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Interesting article!

The SEO industry is changing fast and must adapt itself to offer solutions beyond just search rankings. Especially, if you consider the impact Social Meida has had on SEO and updates to Google algorithms it's clear that SEOs will have more on thier plates going forward. 

That said, traditional SEOs can't be expected to suddenly gain expertise in  social media and marketing etc. Infact, it's can well be the other way round and traditional marketing professionals, especially those into social media and online marketing, may find it easier to add SEO skills to their repertoire. I see this reverse trend more likely as most online media professionals tend to have a basic understanding of SEO, whereas hardcore SEO professionals have traditionally focussed on  their 'specialisation'.  

Going forward we will see a lot of overlap between the two roles and traditional PR and marketing skills could well be basic requirements for an SEO role. Therefore someone who is equally at ease with SEO and Online Marketing is probably the prototype of the modern SEO or Inbound Marketer, whatever you choose to call them. This could affect a lot of SEO people used to working in the background, often from overseas. 

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David Pangione's comment, May 11, 2013 7:14 PM
I have found that there are tons and tons of strategies to SEO. Some beginners that enter are just bewildered by the amount of information they feel is needed to be learned.
Gaurav Pandey's comment, May 11, 2013 7:35 PM
Hi David, I feel it's the same for marketing, if not more overwhelming. However, going forward we will see a lot of overlap between the two roles and it's probably not going to affect those who are really good at SEO, but a lot of people with intermediate-advanced knowledge who call themselves SEO pro's will surely come under the pump as a marketing expert could acquire intermediate SEO skills if he has to.
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Why You Need a Social Policy

Why You Need a Social Policy | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it
Social media blurs the lines between personal and professional communications. As millions of Australians use social media every day, this presents substantial risks to workplaces particularly for those with no safeguards in place.

 

Some of the negative impacts social media can pose on employers include:

defamationharassmentbullyingdisclosure of intellectual propertymisleading and deceptive comments from third partiesunfair dismissal situations



Read more: http://www.womensnetwork.com.au/blog/social-media-policy-essential-in-the-workplace#ixzz2SnnqNqLM

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Perhaps not the most exciting part of social media strategy, but social media policy is important. From the employer's perspective, a small mistake can result in a lot of negative publicity and require months of firefighting.

 

While no two businesses are the same and there's no one size fits all approach when it comes to social media policy here are some broad rules for companies looking to develop a social media policy:

 

Esssentially a good social media policy:

 

1. Involves participation from the employees and the top management.

2. Comprises of a clear set of implementation guidelines.

3. Includes frequent checks and impact assesments.

4. Covers the organisation's privacy policies and confidanciality obligationns. 

5. Focuses on building awareness among employees. 

 

 

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Don't Whore Out Your Brand

Don't Whore Out Your Brand | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

The biggest mistake by far that I have seen comes over as a desperate attempt to obtain likes and shares, plusses, retweets and the works.  

 

Whenever you “ask for likes” or “pressure people passively” for likes you will find that;

a) You are being perceived as “desperate for likes”

b) You are cheapening your brand integrity

Most people in life are followers. People are seeking for some strong figures to follow, to help them define their own “identity”. A Brand that is asking for likes like a desperate prostitute will not be perceived as a “strong” brand.

 

Read the full article here: http://bit.ly/10m4dk1


Via Cendrine Marrouat - www.socialmediaslant.com
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Instead of falling for senseless numbers game, organisations should try to gain organic followers by providing real value to thier stakeholders and customers. 

 

Social media is a great platform for organisations to display their professionalism and customer centricity. Sharing content which is relevant for the viewers is one of the ways of providing value to customers.

 

Needless to say, it takes effort and sincerity to crave out an effective position online. This is the only way to generate genuine engagement on social media.  Remember it's quality and not quantity that counts. 

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It's Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results

It's Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it
Anyone who follows Google knows that nothing it creates is immune from elimination. Like so many efforts before it, Authorship is fading into the sunset.
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LinkedIn Opens Blogging For All!

LinkedIn Opens Blogging For All! | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

 

Excerpted from the original LinkedIn blog post:

"We believe in giving our members access to the business knowledge they need to be great at what they do. To put that simply, we are making a commitment to our members: the time you spend on LinkedIn will make you better at your job today.

The valuable Influencer posts and the wide range of professional content from millions of publishers that we currently aggregate on LinkedIn are powerful, but only the tip of the iceberg. Combined, our members have extremely valuable and varied experiences; however, their knowledge and expertise has not yet been captured and shared.

Starting today, LinkedIn is opening up our publishing platform to our members, giving them a powerful new way to build their professional brand. When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. Members can continue to share their expertise by posting photos, images, videos and their original presentations on SlideShare."

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Opening up its blogging platform will provide plenty of incentives for content creators to come up with original content. It  will not only enhance their own personal brand but also prove to be valuable for the readers. LinkedIn connections are very industry specific and the content shared within a person's network is likely to make a bigger impact. This was perhaps the idea behind Linkedin Groups, but they had been losing their value due to the lack of control on what goes onto those discussion forums. 

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Small Business Digital Trends

Small Business Digital Trends | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the artile:

"It's a new year and with it comes a cautious view of the year's economic growth, regulatory changes across a variety of industries and continued development in the reliance on the Internet for personal and professional connection and communication. It's an uncertain time for many businesses, but especially susceptible to falling behind the curve are the many small businesses and mom and pop shops with already strained budgets and resources.

So how can small businesses go from struggling to thriving? In large part, it comes down to understanding the opportunities and trends that will present themselves in the coming year. Small business owners know it isn't a game, it's their livelihood. It's time to get serious about understanding and implementing plans to maximize business opportunities in each of the following areas:

• Going digital: It seems elementary that we live in an Internet-driven world but a recent Web.com survey found that only four out of 10 small businesses had a dedicated business website. That means six out of 10 small businesses are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers at the most basic online level -- through a simple business-focused website. In 2014, expect to see an increase in small business Internet presence, both at a basic website level and in social media channels. Small businesses are beginning to recognize the strong consumer demand for online interaction and will take strides to address this need. It's a no-brainer, and small businesses that don't have an online presence will be in danger of falling behind the growth curve.

• Local is where it's at: The percentage of online search queries focused on local businesses continues to accelerate, with an even greater growth in local search via mobile devices. It is imperative that small businesses stake their claim now on basic local channels, like Google Places, and populate those sites with the types of information consumers are most likely to search for -- products and services, hours of operation, contact phone number, physical address, etc. These basics to being found locally go a long way to ensure that a business leads the way in local search results. With the right search engine optimization (SEO) in place, a small business' information can easily appear highly ranked on local search results.

• It's time to partner up: A nephew or neighbor down the street designing and maintaining a business website as a favor to the owner is no longer enough. As a small business owner, focus should be on the business -- not IT and online marketing. To better increase business results this year, small business owners must look for a partner that understands their digital needs, provides resources to save time and helps achieve success online -- all within a tightly prescribed budget. By looking for an online marketing partner with a broad range of expertise, small business owners can focus on what should be their primary goal -- making the business successful.

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2013: What You Read

2013: What You Read | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it
Ahh, December. The best time of year for bloggers. The one month at the end of every year where we take the time to look back over the last 11 and - you guessed it - make lots of lists.
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Let there be great content.

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Strategy: Have You Got it Right?

Strategy: Have You Got it Right? | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article: 

What’s the biggest problem in business today?

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.

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

One of the best articles I've read in a long time. Chris has highlighted important points we've all heard and read.

Businesses with thier heart in the right place are invariably the most successful.

Till now, this probably was a bit of an "open secret" which business strategists and consultants chose to conveniently overlook. Others though aware of the importance of value creation, trust and engagement still failed to put it all together into a succient actionable document. 

Successful organisations focus on developing a culture of engagement and learning without losing sight of the larger picture. They follow what's described in this article as holistic business strategies where business culture, processes and behaviour models are aligned to work together in harmony. 

Today when businesses have the knowledge and the tools to reach out to their customers in a more direct, personal manner, there is no excuse to not have a holistic business strategy in place. 

 

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How to Hire Right

How to Hire Right | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article:

 

Usually, employers rapidly scan the resume of each job applicant looking for relevant education, skills, and work experience. They select 10 candidates for telephone calls, invite three in for interviews, and hire the one they like the best.

This is a bad way to hire because at best it gets you nice people.

You don’t need nice people.

You need good people.

Good and nice are not the same thing. The opposite of good is bad. The opposite of nice is unlikeable.

Nice people care if you like them; good people care about you. Nice people stretch the truth; good people don’t. If you tell a nice person to do something evil, they might do it because they do not want to upset you; a good person will refuse to do it.

You might think you are a good person, but you are fallible, so if you want to avoid inadvertently doing something evil you must surround yourself with good people, not nice people.

How do you separate the good from the nice? If you do what I do, it will be a piece of cake.

 

Nice people will allow you to hire them even if they know they are not among your best candidates; a good person won’t let you hire them unless that is what is best for you.

 

People reflect what you project and expect. If you advertise that you need cutthroat employees, those are the people who will apply. Or if you say you only hire the goodhearted, you will attract those people. The funny thing is, if you run both those ads simultaneously, you’ll get the same people applying. You influence the kind of people they become even before you meet.

 

I want people with a good heart and a giving personality, so that is what I explicitly ask for. I won’t hire anyone before I can see their authentic self because I don’t want to guess who they plan on being afterwards. To expect authenticity, I must be authentic. Therefore, I put myself into everything I do, including my job ads. You can find a recent example here.

 

Rather than ask people to send resumes and formulaic cover letters, I ask for thoughts and questions. This way I spend my time evaluating people’s thinking and answering questions, and I don’t waste it reading resumes from thoughtless unquestioning people who cannot follow instructions.

 

I’ll identify everyone who might possibly be appropriate and invite them all to visit for an open-house. Over pizza and soda they get to see our offices, meet the staff, and learn more about the work.

 

Full article here: http://qz.com/88168/how-to-hire-good-people-instead-of-nice-people/

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

A must read! 

 

It obviouly comes from someone who understands the value of hiring the right people and everything in the article and the cases discussed highlight the importance of picking the right people and keeping them happy. 

 

They say the fish rots from the head. It's no different with businesses. 

I've read some good books and attended lectures on what makes a business successful and if there's one thing that has stood out as the most important element to a successful business, it's is high employee engagement.

 

More than just a job, successful businesses manage to provide meaning to their employees. Such employees not only see their job as more than a paycheck, they are the primary drivers of growth as high employee engagement almost always translates into higher customer satisfaction. 

 

So how do you ensure your employees feel they are part of a team? High employee engagement results from trust. Research shows that most behind most successful companies are humble leaders who foucs on developing a culture for consistent improvement and whose policies are both employee and customer-centric. Such leaders are not only "good" employees themselves, they tend to choose good over nice. 

 

Again, I really enjoyed reading this article. Hope you do too. 

Please feel free to comment and share. Thank you. 

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PPC Secrets You Can't Ignore

PPC Secrets You Can't Ignore | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it
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
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Here's the lastest post from my blog. Please feel free to send in your comments/feedback. 

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Measuring Social Impact

Measuring Social Impact | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article: 

"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."

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Please read the full article. Then, I'd request you to take a minute to ponder over the headline.  Now, try to answer the following questions:

Why would you like to measure Social Media Impact? What are your objectives from Social Media? Do you see social media as a short-term or a long-term investment?

 

Measuring Social Media ROI is in many ways a complex task. Eg. how do you ascertain the value of a Facebook like, or a retweet, follow or share.

However this is not important. Social Media, at this stage, is could either be described as a wise investment or a downright punt. (and yes, this comes from an online media consultant). In marketing, it's always been hard to measure results, it's no different with social media. 

 

Some of the basics you must consider are:

1. Using a monitoring tool such as Google Analytics, Radian 6 etc.

2. Facebook conversion measurement, which I think is an incredible tool.

3. The impact of influence marketing. 

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Thanks for the rescoop!
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Five 'Top' Articles (May 6-12)

Five 'Top' Articles (May 6-12) | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Every week, I share my favorite social media articles from around the blogosphere on Creative Ramblings.


Via Cendrine Marrouat - www.socialmediaslant.com
Gaurav Pandey's insight:

This comes from one of my favourite bloggers, Cendrine. Do check out her blog http://www.creativeramblings.com.

 

Here's this week's articles:

 

http://dukeo.com/your-blogs-readers-are-people-too/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/11/business/media/trying-to-be-hip-and-edgy-ads-become-offensive.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/05/how-to-write-copy-that-goes-viral.html

 

http://www.seomoz.org/blog/content-isnt-king-trust-is-king

 

http://www.shopify.com/blog/6992318-4-examples-of-excellent-customer-service-on-facebook

 

 

PS: This post has been rescooped for the benefit of my followers. It doesn't necessarily mean I endorse the views expressed in the articles selected by the original blogger. 

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Advertising for Startups

Advertising for Startups | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Excerpted from the article:

 

Strategy #1: Try to Get Permission

Seriously consider offering something in exchange for a visitor's email address. It can be a free trial, a free report, or maybe even a free book. But gaining the means and permission to contact that customer again will increase your conversion rate over time in most cases. There is great power in an email list.

Strategy #2: Use Advertising to Test

Use advertising as a testing tool rather than a long-term stream of customers. Very few startups can withstand the cash outlay required to turn advertising into a marketing activity with positive ROI. Even if you figure it out, advertising is a volatile marketing medium. Prices increase rapidly in online advertising as new competition crops up or prospects grow bored of your ad and your click through rate drops. When this happens, all of the time you invested in optimizing your ad campaign is *poof*...gone. So instead of relying on ad traffic as an ongoing stream, use it for what it's best at: the ability to generate a slew of visitors very quickly, and to be turned off just as quickly.

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Like most things in marketing, there's no one-size-fits-all approach here. 

Depending on your niche, you'll need trial and error to identify the channel that best works for you. Eg. if you are a business selling designer clothes to women, Pinterest should one of your first choices. 

Likewise, there are other platforms for other niches. 

 

Additionally you can try Inbound Marketing by setting up your website/blog along with a decent SEO strategy. in addition there is social media, which is a great way to get organic traffic to your blog/website. 

 

Would you like to share your ideas on the topic? Please feel free to drop in a comment or two. 

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Tools for Social Media Analysis

Tools for Social Media Analysis | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

As the use of social media grows, so does the need to track and analyze its use. Social media marketers need to understand where their efforts are best utilized on social media platforms. Other analysts and researchers need to understand the overall impact of social media. For this reason, social media analysis tools are emerging. Most tools gather and analyze text data from various social media platforms. Some are platform-centric, while others gather data from a variety of sources.

 

Top Ten Tools: 

1. Author Crawler

2. Datasift.com

3. Openamplify.com

4. Opencalais.com

5. Peekanalytics.com

6. Venuelabs.com

7. Clarabridge.com

8. Solariat.com

9. Measure.ly

10. Appstats.eu

 

Full article here: http://bit.ly/PkGDK ;

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Measuring engagement is critical to social media/website analyst.

Some of the key KPIs one shoud be looking to track are:

 

1.  Monitoring Search Engine Traffic

2.  Social Media Engagement 

3.  User Experience on Websites

4.  Cart abandonment rate/conversion rate

5.  Target audience involvement

6.  Tracking customer response to content (text, videos and pictures)

7.  Categorising and monitoring customer feedback 

 

Social Media Analytics takes the guesswork out of measuring ROI and gauging user engagement. With more and more companies making a gradual policy shift towards online/social media marketing, analysts need to refine the way they have been measuring the impact of online marketing. Keeping track of follower count and web visits is just the beginning. Online marketing strategy should be aligned with your business objectives and all efforts should lead in that direction. These tools are a good way to measure key KPIs.

 

Feel free to share your experience with these tools. 

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Social Media & SEO: The Right Mix?

Social Media & SEO: The Right Mix? | Small Business Marketing | Scoop.it

Irun across these two questions a lot when I speak to people who are looking to build a successful website, “Should I focus on social media or SEO?” or “Which is better social media or SEO?” they ask.  The answer in the social media vs SEO debate is simple.  It’s simple because the answer is, you should focus on both equally and one is not necessarily better than the other.  If you only focus on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr you will find yourself missing out on a significant chunk of your potential audience.  Likewise if you only focus on SEO.

Gaurav Pandey's insight:

Social Media and SEO work together.

 

Here's why:

 

1. Social Media is a great way to increase inbound link traffic to your website. Search engines love inbound links as they are seen as a sign of authenticity and relavant content. 

 

2. Organic sharing on social media channels can boost your website traffic, especially if the content goes viral. 

 

3. Social Media by its very nature tends to promote interesting content. Relevant, fresh content is the biggest element of any SEO strategy.

 

4. Search alogrithms can't read pictures, so from an SEO perspective including a description with keywords becomes important. However with user-generated content on Social Media becoming increasingly visual in nature, pictures shared from across the net lead the viewers back to the source greatly imporving traffic to these sites in the process. 

 

5. Integrating social media into your customer interaction function is a great way to boost the SERP rank of the relevant pages of your website. Interaction with fans and cutomers on social meida sites lends credibility and authority to your business. Search engines consider this as a sign of transparency and authority when determining how your social pages rank.

 

Please feel free to comment if you have anything to add. Cheers. 

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