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August 2012 archive

Web Seminar Recap: August Google Updates

On Thursday, August 30, 2012 Jon Parker,  presented the free web seminar “ What’s New Web Seminar Series: August Google Updates.” This web seminar  focused on the latest changes and updates Google has made regarding SEO, Adwords and Analytics.

With more than one billion searches per month in the U.S. alone, it’s imperative as marketers that we understand the constant changing technology and methodology that Google uses to provide us better search results. One of the more common issues we see when talking to marketing directors, marketing managers and CMO’s is that there is a vast majority of marketers who are unaware of the amount of Google updates there are in a month and how they directly impact their marketing efforts.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right).

Facebook versus LinkedIn for the Professional

I often have entrepreneurs and small business owners ask me, “What is the difference in Facebook and LinkedIn? Which one do I need to concentrate on?” My response has always been, “That depends on what you are trying to achieve.”  In this day and age when new social media applications and platforms are being launched nearly daily, it is important to understand which ones professionals can best utilize to accomplish their goals. Facebook is crucial for B2C interaction and LinkedIn is crucial for B2B connecting.

Let’s start with the basics. Facebook is a social media platform that allows you to connect and share with anyone. There is no criterion for this connection beyond mutual consent. With 955 million monthly users and 552 million of them logging in daily (Source: Facebook Securities and Exchange Commission filing), it is safe to say that nearly everyone you know is on Facebook.  That is a good thing because, for instance, it enables you to share pictures of your Mom’s birthday party with relatives that are scattered around the country that couldn’t make it. It enables you to reunite with old classmates between reunions. It enables you to build friendships with acquaintances, business or otherwise, without having to spend time or money. In other words – it enables you to be more social.

So how does Facebook fit into your professional life? Very carefully.  Remember that if you list your employer on your profile, you are representing that company, and posting something controversial to your personal Facebook account can cause conflict in the work place. You do have freedom of speech, but common sense is strongly encouraged. My best advice is this:  if you wouldn’t want your family members to see what you post, do NOT put it online. Period.

The very 552 million daily users that make you rethink every keystroke are the very reason most companies should have a presence on Facebook. It is THE place that most people visit daily. As a business trying to reach those consumers, you need to be there as well. Picture it as a virtual neighborhood gathering. Users communicate with others via posting pictures, expressing their thoughts and voicing their opinions.  When they “like” your company page, it signals to their friends that they approve of your organization.  This free endorsement is not something most companies can afford not to capitalize on.

So where does LinkedIn fit into the picture? LinkedIn has a much more focused objective. It is about connecting the professional with other professionals and companies that share their interest.  It is about professional networking.  It is about showcasing your abilities and accomplishments.  You can and should establish yourself as an expert in your field, explore opportunities, and connect with colleagues.  Build your company page. Where Facebook is the place you want to use caution when referencing your place of employment, LinkedIn is the place you want to highlight it.

To sum it up, Facebook is a global platform to socialize and LinkedIn is a global platform to network. The chart below should help with the comparisons.

If you want more in-depth information regarding social media, the ASPE, Inc. Social Media Boot Camp is a good place to start. Also, watch this blog for further post as we break down each site and how you can utilize it to obtain the utmost experience.

About the author:
Shelli Dallacqua is the Founder and President of Shelten Media, LLC. She is a member of the NC State Alumni Association and is a keynote speaker on the topics of social media marketing and reputation management. Connect with Shelli via Twitter by following @ShelliDallacqua, on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Web Seminar Recap: Writing for the Web

Writing for the web is a whole different skill, but you’re already 80% of the way there. Many traditional copywriting skills are still critical, but others need to be modified. You still have to know how to appeal to the needs and wants of your customer. You still have to understand their emotions and mindset to overcome objections. You still have to intrigue and captivate with your headline and copy. However, on the web, you have new challenges with your audience.

On Thursday, August 16, 2012 Phil Buckley, the Director of SEO at Virante,  presented the free web seminar “ Writing for the Web.” This web seminar focused on showing attendees how to make sure the content they are creating gets noticed on the web.

Listen to a recording of this web seminar in its entirety by clicking View Event Recordings (at the top right).

Writing (for the Web) is Not a Lost Art

While some aspects of writing for the web are different than writing for traditional outlets, the method is the same. Both require similar thought processes and need to contain relevant information. Keep in mind that just because your outlet has changed, the quality of your writing should not. Here are a few basic reminders and tips.

Know Your Audience

Ask yourself, “Who will read this content?” Once you realize who will read your content, catering to what is relevant to them is the first priority. From there you determine the tone, length, technical level and purpose. Remember that you are writing for them, not yourself. Even opinion editorials have an audience other than oneself, at least the good ones.

Captivate Quickly

You have 2.6 seconds. Go. That’s the attention span of the average person reading on the web. With so many distractions, how do you get people to choose your Google entry, or stay on your website? Use powerful, concise language that resonates with your audience (reminder: know your audience). This is the art of creating great email subject lines. How do you get that recipient to open your email? Get their attention, but remember to follow through. Your content needs to be relevant to that subject line. Gossip column emails are great at this.

Short and Simple

If you don’t need a word, don’t use it. Less characters = stronger impact. It seems easy, but try Tweeting something meaningful that covers who, what, when, where, why AND intrigues your audience to click your link. Taking out modifiers (adjectives, adverbs, etc.) helps. Other overused words: also, as such, therefore, so, just, that, usually. Here’s a quick example of what editing with this in mind can do:

Original:  Fridays are usually fun and relaxed around the office.

Edited:  Casual Fridays at work rock.


Pyramid structure. Anybody who has ever written a news article or press release knows what this is. Start with what is important and then go in to more detail. You are not writing the Great American Novel, do not start with a funny quip or pontificating “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” Get to the point, fast.

Break up text. Nobody wants to read 30 lines of continuous text. Use images, paragraph breaks, lists and subtitles. When you write for the web, you want it to be easy to scan. This helps with short attention spans.

Vary your sentence structure. Repetitive, boring writing is a quick way to lose readers. Quick advice:  sentence fragments are okay when you write for the web. Why? Fragments are concise and to the point. Don’t tell my journalism professors that though.

Don’t forget SEO

Content can only be good if someone reads it. Focus your writing with keywords so when your audience searches for your topic, they find you. If you need a lesson in that, our SEO Boot Camp is wonderful.

Please Proof

Even though it’s the web and your infinite wisdom is not printed in The Wall Street Journal, it does not excuse poor grammar, misspellings or incoherent thought flow. If you know your editing skills aren’t the greatest, have someone else edit your writing. Do not publish your writing on the web without this, even if you can log into your website and edit it quickly. It’s poor practice.

If you’d like more insights about writing for the web, sign in to ASPE-ROI instructor Phil Buckley’s Writing for the Web seminar on August 16. Phil also teaches our Writing for the Web course.

Why You Need Social Media Training…Reason #4

Learn to integrate social media with your other campaigns.

Here is why many companies fail to successfully utilize social media as a marketing channel:

Creating an account and posted a couple of times about your products or even coupons is not a strategy.

Whether you are new to social media or currently using social media as a marketing channel, social media training from ASPE-ROI can help you take your social media marketing to the next level. One of the huge values is learning to integrate your social media efforts with your other marketing campaigns. On its own, social media can help drive traffic and revenue, but when you incorporate it with your other marketing channels, that is when you truly see its power.

 For some fun, consider this. Do you remember Captain Planet? Well I do!

In Captain Planet, the Planeteers each possessed a power: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Heart (I always felt bad for this kid). They were tasked by Gaiai, the spirit of the Earth, to defend the planet from pollution and other environmental disaster, while making efforts to educate mankind on environmental issues. When times got tough for the Planeteers they had to combine their powers in order to summon Captain Planet who would inevitably show up just in the nick of time to save the day…and the planet. Ultimately, Captain Planet represented the concept that the combined efforts of the team were stronger than any of its individual parts (FYI: I had to research a lot of this. I’m not a closet Captain Planet connoisseur. I just liked the concept).

The team concept is very basic and fundamental concept, but it holds true in just about everything you do and it doesn’t make it any less appropriate for my purpose here. Think of social media as just one of your marketing powers that when combined with your other powers can result in the ultimate campaign. Think about it this way. Say your budget for you latest promotion only buys you 1,000 mail pieces. That is 1,000 customers you are able to reach. By incorporating social media in to that campaign, you now have the potential to also reach your 1,000 followers. Your new reach is 2,000 customers and with little to no additional effort or budget spend. If you incorporate your promotion into your email marketing, your website and your sales staff, your reach can grow exponentially. If you also tie a social aspect into the campaign promotion in your emails and on your site, you give yourself even more chance for you message to be spread. This team effort is what makes the difference.

Social media is the new word of mouth. Learn to harness its pass-along ability.

That is a very simplistic view of the landscape using only Reach as a metric for success, but for time-sake we won’t get into the more advanced metrics and benefits of integrating social media. The thing to take away from this is that where social media really excels is in its ability to reach potential customers for very little extra cost. Social media is the new word of mouth. People still tell each other about products they like and tell even more people about the products they hate. But 5 years ago where 1 person may only have voiced their opinion to a handful of people in a given day, they can now reach hundreds, even thousands, of people through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Harnessing this pass-along factor is what makes the difference between an average campaign and a great one. The key is knowing why people share information on social media and how they share it. If you can appeal to both of these aspects, you position yourself to reap the rewards of having your content spread through the networks of your customers, their networks, and their network’s networks.

The ASPE-ROI Social Media Boot Camp can help you do just that

In our social media training classes, you will learn about the various social media networks and their unique features and nuances. You will also analyze the types of people that make up the various networks and discuss why some content gets shared and why other content doesn’t. Knowing this helps you decide where best to post your content, how to adapt it to other networks and how best to tailor your message to these unique audiences. You will also discuss real-world examples that illustrate best practices and common mistakes to avoid. You will also spend a large portion of the class brainstorming a social media campaign specifically for your company. You will leave with a road map and plan on how to execute the campaign that they developed when you return to the office.

I’ll leave you with the words of Captain Planet, “The Power Is Yours.”


Why You Need Social Media Training…10 Reasons

Over the coming weeks, I will be posting 10 reasons why you need social media training. In this new and constantly evolving space it is imperative to stay on the cutting edge to be successful. Many people are hesitant to take social media training because they are skeptical of self-proclaimed experts and gurus. That is why we have put together a team of experienced and knowledgeable instructors who travel the US teaching companies how to properly utilize social media as a sales and marketing tool. We’ve done the heavy lifting for you and weeded out the snake oil salesman. As one of the nation’s leading training providers, we know who and what make a successful learning experience. The goal of this series is to show you why you should consider social media training from ASPE-ROI.


FREE Social Media Boot Camp!

Maximize your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest Influence.

Social media is booming. With its vast opportunity for exposure and revenue for companies, it’s a marketer’s dream. Facebook allows organizations to grow a band of loyal followers. Twitter makes it possible for organizations to talk directly to their customers. Pinterest encourages organizations to share and promote the lifestyle of their brand. The opportunities are endless – as long as you are using these electronic media sources correctly and to their full potential.

That’s why we’re here to help. ASPE-ROI is offering three FREE Social Media Boot Camp training sessions this autumn. We’ll cover how
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google + operate, their potential, the psychology of their users, where you are losing revenue potential and more in this one-day social media training session. You’ll learn which social media sources will be most beneficial for your company and how you can maximize those results. We’ll show you how to harvest qualified leads using these marketing tools, cultivating more sales for your business. You’ll leave this social media training course with a direction and focus, and your own game plan.

You have until August 31, 2012 to enter for a chance to participate in one of three FREE Social Media Boot Camp training sessions. Thirty people will be randomly selected for each social media training session! However, the more employees from one company that enter will have a greater chance of being selected. The courses will be offered on September 19th, October 17th and November 14th and administered through our live virtual training provider.

For more information and to sign-up, please visit the FREE Social Media Boot Camp page.