You Don’t Need a Website – Just Facebook, NOT!!!

web-vs-fbI recently read an article online (so you know it had to be true) that said, “You don’t need a website, only Facebook and LinkedIn.”  The article went on to say with all the changes to SEO and the cost of creating a website, why not put all your marketing eggs in the Facebook and LinkedIn basket.   After reading the article, my response, “Are You Freaking Kidding Me?!?”

 

While Facebook and LinkedIn are important marketing channels, why you would even consider putting all your marketing efforts into channels that you don’t control?  Case in point, January, 2014, Facebook announced that many posts by pages will no longer show up in the news feed of individuals, even though they have liked the page.   And this is not the first time they have made changes that negatively affect business marketing and it won’t be the last.

 

As business owners, we tend to look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the other social media sites as marketing opportunities.  But except for LinkedIn, all the other social channels were created and continue to focus on individual, social relationships, not business and marketing.  We are the ones that diligently try to use them to create marketing opportunities.

 

I will agree that with all the changes Google has made over the last few years, it can be frustrating for a website owner to keep up with the factors that affect the ranking of their website.  And while many of the tricks and techniques that once worked, no longer do, Google still emphasizes one thing every website owner can control – content.  Correction, quality content.  And this is the one factor that will never change.  Google’s mission has always been to create the best search results anywhere.  Quality content will always fulfill that mission.

 

Back to the article I read, the bottom line was that the author was ultimately trying to sell their Facebook and LinkedIn system.  I am certainly not opposed to programs that teach you how to maximize your Facebook and LinkedIn efforts (like my Ninja Marketing Dojo).  But a balanced approach is a must.  Having a website and blog, plus identifying  and utilizing the social media channels where your audience hangs out should comprise your online marketing plan.

 

If your Facebook page has thousands of likes, with a Post Reach well above 50% and Engagement numbers that closely parallel your likes, then take the gamble and ignore the need for a website.  Otherwise, you’re playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in the chamber.  There’s a pretty good chance, the results will be disastrous.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo. The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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You Like Me, You Really Like Me – Facebook Likes

Facebook LikesYou Like Me, You Really Like Me. Now for those of you Jim Carey fans correcting me that the quote is “You Love Me…”, the original quote was by Sally Fields at the 1985 Academy Awards. And the sentiment has made a comeback today in social media.

How many times (a day) do you see someone saying “Like my page?” “Like us on Facebook”. Likes are the new currency of the web. It’s the measuring stick for social media effectiveness. Or is it?

Like the Tot board at a telethon, you watch the “Facebook Likes” milestones click away. 30 likes and you get “Insights”. 100 Likes. 500 Likes. 1000 Likes. You celebrate each one as if it meant more money in your pocket. The advertising mentality says “more exposure equals more sales”. But your friends that liked your page only thought they were doing you a favor.

When evaluating the importance of Facebook Likes in your social media analytics, consider these 5 Facebook metrics first.

1. Post Reach – This is the measure of how many people actually saw your posts. Remember, with Edgerank, just because someone likes your page does not mean they will see your posts.

2. Fan Demographics – What is the makeup of your fans compared to all of Facebook. Are you creating posts that appeal to your audience? Is your audience your target demographic? If not, focus on reaching that group.

3. People Reached – Not only is it important to understand your fan base, but it’s also important to compare the demographics of the people who saw your posts.

4. Posts Performance – Each post is listed by type and includes the reach of the post as well as the engagement. Monitoring the most popular posts for engagement and create more content like that.

5. When Are Your Fans Online - Knowing what day and times your fans are online will determine when you should be posting.

Remember, likes don’t equal engagement. If you are not creating engaging content, it doesn’t matter if you have 20 or 20,000 likes. It’s still like putting a billboard up in the desert – it may look great but no one will see it. When you content is engaging, the actions of your fans will be screaming, “we like you, we really like you.”

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo.  The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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Don’t Accept My Facebook Friend Request!!!

Facebook Friend RequestWhatever you do, don’t accept my friend request!  Now I’m sure you probably paused in your tracks reading that saying, “Why would you send a friend request if you didn’t want me to accept it?”  Well the reason is it probably didn’t come from me.

Within the last month I’ve accepted friend requests from several people that I thought were already in my friends list. I assumed that they had deactivated their account for some reason and were restarting it. But what actually happened was someone faked their account. The fake account was complete with their cover photo as well as their profile photo, so it looks legitimate.

Soon after accepting the friend request, I got an instant message chat pop up. Although it seemed a little formal and a little odd because I had never had a Facebook chat with this person in the past, I thought maybe they had a question about something social media related. But the conversation never really went anywhere. Mostly generic “how you doing” type stuff. Since I was in the middle of a project I didn’t take time to engage the chitchat and closed the chat window.  The next day my news feed showed a post from the “real”  friend saying their account had been stolen. I immediately went in and unfriended the imposter account.

The reason  Facebook accounts are being cloned is an attempt to scam the friends of the original account holder. The common sequence is to post a few things to make the page look legitimate, then send out friend requests to everyone on the original account holders friend list. Once those friends accept that request, the imposter can then send out a “plea for help”, banking on our sense of community and charity to help somebody in need.

Facebook has made it easy for imposters since any photos you share publicly on Facebook can be downloaded. You do have the option to make your photos visibile only to  friends but when you apply that to your cover photo and your profile photo, someone that might be a potential friend can’t verify it’s really you since they can’t see your picture.

While the fake accounts are not hacks and are not a threat to you, they use your name to take advantage of your friends.  Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

1. Change the visibility of your Friends List to make it visible only to friends.  That way, an imposter won’t be able to harvest your friends, rendering their scam plot ineffective.  To change the visibility of your friends list, go to Friends and click the pencil (edit), select Edit Privacy from the drop down list.  Change your Friend List setting from Public to Friends.

2. Look Before Accepting – Before you accept a friend request from someone you think is already in your friends list, go look.  Go to your Friends list and search for them.  If you find them in your friends list, DON’T accept the request.  Better still, click on their name and go to their profile page.  Click the setting button to the right of the Message button.  The drop down menu will give you a Report/Block option.  Report the page to Facebook.

3. Don’t Fall For The Scam -   Think about it, if you were needing help financially, would you publicize it on Facebook?  More likely, you would contact your close friends and family directly.  With smart phones, we have a full contact list at our fingertips.  If you aren’t sure if the new friend request or the plea for help is legit, call, email or message them directly (not through the new page.)

4. Unfriend If You Friend by Mistake - Should you friend one of these imposter accounts, identify it in your friend list and unfriend it immediately.  Better to be safe than sorry.

As with many good things, there will always be bad apples, lurking, looking for the opportunity to take advantage of unsuspecting, trusting people.

Gary Wagnon is the chief Ninja Marketing Officer for 800biz Ninja Marketing Solutions and the creator of the Ninja Marketing Dojo.  The Dojo teaches business owners and marketers online strategies that increase traffic to their site, improve search engine rankings and converts browsers into buyers.

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Avoiding the Social Media Blackhole – Creating Facebook Lists

How many times have you sat down to check your Facebook or Twitter page real quick and ended up hours later not even remembering what you planned to do?  Welcome to the Social Media Blackhole.  Getting sucked in is SO easy.  That’s one reason businesses say their social media doesn’t work or they give up on it all together.  Here’s one Ninja Marketing tip to help you regain control of your social media.

For more Ninja Tips, we are conducting a live workshop on Tuesday, March 26, from 3:30 – 5.    Use this link  to register for the live event or watch the www.ninjamarketing dojo.com site for the webinar version.l

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The Effect of Negative Feedback on Facebook

EngagementNegative Feedback to a Facebook page can now affect the page’s visibility. For several years, I’ve been preaching, to my Ninja Marketing Dojo classes, “Engagement” as the key to a successful page. Until recently though, there was no penalty for negative feedback. That’s about to change.

When Timeline launched, Facebook segregated the News Feed by adding the News Ticker to accommodate the bombardment of activity that once clogged the News Feed. While all activity from both users and pages appears in the News Ticker, only the “most important” information appears in the News Feed. For the most part, all posts made by friends do appear, but not so with posts made by pages the user has liked.

FB-EdgeRank-Algorithm

To make that critical leap from the News Ticker to the News Feed, page managers need to understand Edgerank, Facebook’s content algorithm. It’s a combination of 3 factors – affinity, weight and time decay. Affinity refers to prior interaction with a page’s post. The more users engage with content from a particular page, the more likely that page’s posts will appear.

Weight is based on engagement – likes, comments, and shares. Shares carry a larger weight factor than comments; comments carry more weight than likes. Post type, such as regular posts, pictures, videos, etc, are also considered in weight. For example, if someone shares photos, then more photos will display.

Time Decay is the 3rd factor in Edgerank and refers to the life of a post. The most recent and relevant content will take precedence over older content.

Now, Facebook is inserting a 4th factor into the Edgerank algorithm. Negative Feedback actions include hiding a page’s post, hiding all content of a page, reporting a page as spam or unliking a page. Simply stated, Negative Feedback is any clickable negative engagement action a user takes.

Negative feedback averages roughly 0.03% per post, but every page will experience some kind of negative feedback. Based on EdgeRankChecker’s study of 5000 Facebook pages, 76% of negative feedback comes from hiding the post, 16% from hiding all posts, 8% report as spam and only 1% unlike the page.

By now factoring in Negative Feedback in the algorithm, it has become increasingly more important to create engaging content that is attuned to the pulse of your audience. Use controversial content with caution. While it might result in engagement, it may also result in Negative Feedback which would have the reverse effect. Overusing sales messages can also have a negative impact. Sure, everyone wants to make sales but is one sale worth reducing visibility to nothing.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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12 Online Ninja Marketing Tools for 12/12/12

Hope you have plans to celebrate the monumental day, 12-12-12.  Never again in my lifetime (I’m not planning on living to be 147 years old) will we see the same day/month/year.  So let’s celebrate!  I’m celebrating by releasing this blog at 12:12, 12-12-12.

Okay so it’s not that big a deal, compared to the world ending in another 9 days.  But for those of you that aren’t Mayan and plan on being around in 2013, here are 12 must have Ninja Marketing tools  for your online marketing plan.

1.  Website – To say this is a given is an understatement.  Unless your business is the only one in your industry and customers/clients are begging you for your services/products, then you must have a web site.  Even people that encounter your marketing efforts like printed brochures or meet you while networking will go check out your website as due diligence before making a decision whether or not to use your services.  Your website should reflect your business appearance.  If your website looks cheap and unprofessional, your business value will be diminished.

2. Blog – The cornerstone of every online marketing plan should be your blog.  If your website is the anchor, your blog is continuing education for your customers/clients.  When asked, most small business owners would say that customer acquisition is one of their main goals.  They think of that process as selling, advertising or marketing their product or service but the real function is education.  Educating your customers why your business is different from your competition.  Through your blog, you are providing your customers with valuable information that enhances your position as the expert in the industry.

3. Social Media Presence – With the average time spent on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest topping the 400 minute per month range, doesn’t it make sense to be where your customers are.  Do you need to be on every social media site?  Maybe, if your clients are there.  But more importantly, pick the one where the majority are and start building relationships.  Engage, interact and enjoy.

4. Google + – I can hear you now saying, “Didn’t you just say to pick one social media site?  Now your saying use Google +.  What Gives?”  True, I did say pick one and start building relationships.  G+ isn’t it.  But G+ IS about search engine optimization (SEO) and getting more visibility for your blog and website.  If Google owns the lion’s share of search and they have a social media network, doesn’t it stand to reason that they will use popular content from G+ as a ranking factor?

5.  Google + Local – Formerly called Google Places, the map listing in Google is a prominent fixture on page 1 of most local search terms.  If your business isn’t there, you are missing a huge opportunity to be seen.  Traditional SEO methods don’t work on the Google + Local page, but there are some Ninja Marketing tricks to improve your ranking.

6. Email List – Believe it or not, email is not dead.  Despite the tremendous amounts of unsolicited messages, email still is an effective method of communication.  Building an email list provides another avenue to touch your customers.  But the same rules apply with email as with social media, provide more value and less selling.   Ask yourself this question – Would the recipient say “Thanks for the great info” after reading your email?

7. Editorial Calendar – Perhaps the biggest drawback to blogging and social media is time.  The process is time consuming.  And that’s true if you are winging it.  If you sit down to write or post and don’t have a clue what you are going to say, you’ll find you’ve wasted an hour and nothing has happened.  The answer is an editorial calendar.  Plan your content the same way you schedule your monthly activities.  That way you know what you need to say and the process is quick and painless.

8. Google Alerts – Hand in hand with the editorial calendar are the next couple of tools.  Google Alerts is an excellent source of timely material collected from blogs and news sites across the web.  Google Alerts email daily or weekly a list of articles based on a specified keywords.  The alerts can be shared to your social media sites in whole or spin them with your take on why this information is important to your clients/customers

9.  Google Reader – Another tremendous source of material are blogs from thought leaders in your industry.  Google Reader aggregates all your blog subscriptions into one place making it easy to peruse and select only the articles that are pertinent.

10. Nutshell Mail – This emailed report is another aggregator of information, this time from your social media accounts.  Activity such as mentions, likes, updates from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are sent to your inbox.  This makes it easy to monitor without having to go to each site.

11. Hootsuite – One of my favorite tools is Hootsuite.  All my social media accounts are on one screen.  Hootsuite gathers updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google + into one screen monitored in real time.  There are apps for Google Chrome and Firefox that make sharing of articles easy across all your social media channels in one step.  And with their scheduling feature, if you read 4 articles today that you want to share, you can space them out over the several days.

12. Feedburner – The ultimate goal of your blog should be capturing subscribers that want to receive your blog every time you post.  With Feedburner, individuals can do just that.  They can subscribe either by RSS feeds or by email.  Feedburner manages the subscriptions and delivers the content automatically.

There you have it.  12 Ninja Marketing Tools to make 2013 a banner year – assuming the Mayans were wrong.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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Attention Facebook – I Demand My Privacy

computer_security_guard_gorilla-300x300Over the last couple of days, my Facebook News Feed has been inundated with people posting the declaration that their content on Facebook is copyrighted and violating their privacy is punishable by law.  That ought to scare Facebook!

First of all, this is another self perpetuating post that blindly gets copied and pasted.  The truth is the law cited does not apply to content you post on a public site such as Facebook.  But more importantly, you cannot change an agreement after the fact.  Imagine sending a letter to your mortgage company saying you are giving them notice that you are changing the terms of your mortgage.  When you join Facebook, you agree to the terms and conditions, privacy policy and legal terms.  (Remember that little check box you had to mark when you signed up saying you read them all?)  Yep, you agreed to the it.

The real issue is the desire to protect our privacy online.  We share photos and videos, but then we don’t want people peeping into our virtual windows.  We post  on our Timeline a request asking people to change their setting so our comments and likes don’t appear.  HELLO!  If you don’t want your comments to show, DON”T COMMENT.  After all, Facebook is a SOCIAL network.

It would be interesting to know how many of the people sharing these posts play games on Facebook or use one of the hundreds of apps out there.  When you use these 3rd party apps, you are granting them permission to view all of your personal information and build a marketing profile targeted to you.

It would also be interesting to know how many have a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL email account.  How many of them are surfing online using Google, Yahoo or Bing?  Have you tried posting an email in Gmail stating that your information is private?  Believe me, Google has a thorough knowledge of your surfing patterns and uses that to personalize your search results and the ads that correspond to that.

But let’s drop a little further down the rabbit hole.  Do you watch movies on Netflix?  How about buy books, movies or music from Amazon?  Don’t think for a minute that they are not building a profile on you.  True, they may say they don’t sell your information to others companies (neither does Facebook) but why would they even want to?  Amazon wants to keep you in the fold and does a good job of dripping on you regularly.

How about your smartphone?  Do you have any apps on there?  Do you “check in” at different locations?  Or search using your phone?  Could Siri be quietly taking notes in the background???  You think all that information that passes through your phone just vanishes into cyberspace?

Let’s go one step further.  If you haven’t already done so, go to www.spokeo.com , put in your name and see what comes up.  Chances are you’re going to be shocked.  Spokeo aggregates information from various sites around the web, including public records, and compiles a profile that includes your street (often times with a view of your neighborhood, if not your house), family members, where you have lived in the past and even a wealth rating and credit rating.  (Some of this information may require a paid membership fee to be visible.)  How’s that for privacy?

When you get to the bottom of today’s connected world, it’s scary to think how little privacy you really have.  So I really don’t care if Facebook has access to content I post publicly.  That is the least of my concerns.  If it really bothers you, there’s a simple answers – close your Facebook account.  But for complete (as complete as possible today) privacy, maybe you should consider a modified version of Abbie Hoffman’s hippie declaration, “Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out.”

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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New Facebook Plugin for WordPress

Facebook has created a new plugin that works directly with WordPress sites, either WordPress.com sites or self-hosted sites.  When you create a new post, the plugin will allow you to mention a page, which will add the post to the timeline of the page you mention.  It also allows you to mention friends in a post and have it show up on their wall as well.  Since the post are created via a Facebook App, it comes from within Facebook and your post gets the Edgerank benefit.

The link to the plugin is https://developers.facebook.com/wordpress/.

More details will come shortly.  I will do a video shortly with the details.

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A Big Week of Changes for Facebook

Not only were the financial officers of Facebook busy this week but so were the programmers. Three significant changes were launched to Facebook.  While they may not be considered major by some, they are significant changes. Here’s a recap of what changed.

Page Administrator Levels – Up till now it’s been possible to have multiple administrators Facebook business page. You simply had to be a friend of the page and then the owner of the page (the first admin) could assign administrative privileges to you. Those permissions gave every admin full control of the page, including the ability to remove admins and make changes. While this is very convenient especially when employing a social media firm to manage your business page or assigning the task to a employee, it was not the most secure practice.

Now page owner can assign one of five different levels of admin privileges, ranging from full administrator privileges down to insights analyst. The chart below explains the different levels and the amount control given to each level.

 Facebook Admin Levels

To add or change his administrator, go to your admin panel, account settings select Admin Roles from the list on the left.  You will see each person that has it admin privileges, with their default role of Manager. Click the down arrow beside manager and select the level you want to assign to that person. Remember, initially anyone with admin privileges can change anyone else’s role so I would advise you, if you’re the page owner, to set everyone else to Content Curator or lower.

Scheduling Page Posts – One of the most needed features in Facebook has been the ability to pages. While there are software programs like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck `give you the ability to schedule a post, Facebook did not always give those posts the same importance as a post made within Facebook.

But it was also important that your post you made during the times when more of your fans would see it. So that was not always possible with your schedule. Many of us opted to trade the potential penalty to our posts in favor of timeliness.

Now posts can be scheduled up to six months in advance from within Facebook. You now have the control of the day and time of the post and have it recognized in the Edgerank considerations.

Facebook Scheduled Posts

From your status update, you will see a new clock icon in the lower left-hand corner. Clicking the icon, you will be prompted to add a year, then a month, date, and finally a time. The Post button turns into a Schedule button. Your schedule posts can be viewed in your activity log from your admin panel.

 

Individual Status Update Insights – While you have always had the ability to view the Insights for your business page, now each status update has its own insights displayed below the post.

 Facebook Post Status Insights

This can be very helpful, especially since many people check their FB Page Insights infrequently. With this, now you can see how well each status update you make performs. This instant feedback should help you craft more engaging posts.

What do you think about the new changes and how will you use them?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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What Would Beethoven Think – Traditional vs. Today’s Marketing

Last week, my wife and I attended a concert by TransSiberian Orchestra of their CD Beethoven’s Last Night.  Besides the incredible theatrics and pyrotechnics, the music was phenomenal.  But what really got me think was, “What would Beethoven think if he heard his music performed today by a rock band?”  I would have to think he would be amazed  as well as pleased to hear how it has survived for 200 years.

That started me thinking about how the online marketing channels have changed and evolved.  Our marketing message is the same, developing customer trust and brand recognition.   But the presentation and the delivery of the message has changed.  Old school thinking is to have an elaborate presentation (tv commercial, print advertisement or radio spot) and blast your message out.  Today, interruption marketing (traditional advertising) is not nearly as effective as permission marketing using social media.  Why should your prospect trust your ad, when within a matter of minutes, they can have dozens of friend recommendations for what you offer.

To bring this back to my TSO concert experience, would I be writing this article had it been a traditional chamber orchestra performing the same music.  Not likely.  Not because the message of the music was any less extraordinary.  The difference is in the delivery of the message.  Being an old rock and roller, I associate with driving beat of the drums and bass guitar, the roller coaster of emotions from the melody and the soul piercing vocal performance.  There’s a good chance I would have slept through a chamber orchestra.

Know your audience and choose the message and channel that’s right for them.  In old school marketing, advertisers didn’t run tv commercials for laundry detergent on ESPN.  Their audience isn’t tuned in to that channel.  If you audience is B2C (business to consumer), LinkedIn may not be the place to connect with them.  On the other hand, if your target audience is executives and CEO’s, Facebook may be a waste of your time.   While it seems like a no brainer to be where your audience/customer/clients are, oftentimes, business owners get caught up in the hype about a specific social media channel, then wonder why it didn’t produce any results.

Target your message to the channel your audience is on.  If you do it well, you will be a rock star in your industry and the standing ovation you get will be the ringing of your cash register.

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.

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