Content 101: Why having a Strategy Matters

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The idea behind having your content is two fold. One is to get on top of a SERP, the second really for social media. Both count towards your eventual goal of reaching the top 10 but let’s not also forget that content plays a huge part of it all. Whenever you do a search, UGC from different sources (country IPs) also help to boost your visibility. Whenever you do a search for a product or service, reviews from consumers and users will show up results that is linked to your brand. This is why having a solid content strategy matters.

Back in the days where social media was nothing more than online communities (it still is btw) you posted stuff you did, stuff you want to do and shared some pictures online. It was like, Buzznet, and my profile is still active there too. Social media like Foursquares, Tripadvisor, Linkedin, Facebook and G+ are intrinsically linked to content found on Tumblr, Blogger and self hosted WordPress sites.

Facebook and G+ changed it all in recent years as your social profile also became your brand and what you associated with. So if you happen to run a business or work for one, they would have their own presence online outside of the traditional website. The game changer was that your businesses could  qualify as an online entity thus was born the need for social media content. This entity should be alive, as determined by Google Algorithms, and updated to show it is alive.

Online Brochureware versus Content Development

Still relevant in today’s online world are online brochures to show you have a company presence for people to drop by and browse your services/products. If you are lucky, they might even send you email. But any long forgotten and undated revision to your website will only show that your strategy isn’t about content but more of a online brochure, with that your SERP gets gunned down by Google for being too plain and unhelpful. Brochure ware sites are Zombie entities, not entirely living or dead so this gets bumped down the search chain over time. Using keywords within your brochure site  isn’t going to help you rise to the top of a SERP but at least you’re somewhere in the top 100, or maybe top 1000. Oh…maybe that wasn’t your intention to begin with?

Why Site Planning Matters

There are plenty of places to host your own online brochure. That one page calling card which you call a website has many advantages, like maybe your email and fax number for contact. However if you want to be found outright in a SERP, you need to invest.

First, you don’t have to do this. Your business is going great and you won’t miss those emails screaming for orders from the darkest corner of Africa. However if you want to sharpen your online presence, you need to take note of a few following details.

1. Migrating to a CMS System

When do you graduate from a website to one that is content friendly? This is time you finally decide to use a CMS or Content Management System. If you have no content, heck you can even do that on a free WordPress account. Free hosting too. It’s done so let it sit! But if you have regular updates (meaning weekly or monthly as opposed to once in a year revisions) then that needs to be managed. There are three popular CMS platforms for self management, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.  Having a web designer isn’t the ultimate solution. Designers work on design and are totally clueless when it comes to your content needs.

2. Web Designers are Not Content Developers

This is another thing that people have to understand, web designers are not content developers and have little or no regard to what makes your business work. They do not come out with content on the fly or make that work with social media. Designers create sites which suit the content you have or the content strategy you have in mind. They worry about how the system will perform and how the content will look. The also have to think about the back-end system based on your content requirements.

3. Web Designers are not SEO Consultants

Here is another problem people face, if you want to have an SEO friendly site, you don’t hire a designer to do that, this is not their role. 5 years ago, SEO was real easy. You could use Black Hat techniques to fool search engines to display your site ontop of a SERP. There were web tools and even downloadable programs which can do this. Those same tricks aren’t going to work now as the whole SERP business has gotten a lot more complicated. This is where the SEO consultants come in. Today, SEO consultants have to transition to content consultants as their role to find the easiest way to the top of the SERP has gotten so much harder. Most of them are snake oil salesmen. And you know why? They cannot guarantee a metric in which to prove any success. Pageviews or web traffic can be generated without having to hire a consultant, you can pay Google to put your name on top. Web traffic can also be gained by putting up banners on partner sites. SEO consultants can lend a hand to boosting your SERP rank but they cannot guarantee a return on your investment. So go figure.

4. Content is Dynamic

Content has to be shared via multiple platforms that we all know as social media. People want to know what works and how to do things. Even B2B sites need content that showcases their services or products in the best light. This is why so much effort has been given to Google’s Hummingbird update. There is no point of having content that is locked into a particular platform. That platform has to help disseminate your content to a wide audience. This is why YouTube works so well. It is share friendly. You can post videos you made to both G+ and Facebook. However if you post video to Facebook, that content gets locked into that platform and it can’t be shared outside of the FB community.

Google’s algorithm is being tweaked all the time. Every month, they do something to adjust it and this can be viewed on Mozcast, a site that monitors the SERP turbulence created by these minor changes. These changes affect how your content is placed in a SERP and if you are chasing a SERP rank, you probably need to have full time staff monitoring such changes that affect your site ranking.

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5. Know your limits on Budget

From the onset, having a CMS isn’t going to be easy as you need someone to manage it. Then there are other cost factors for each strategic decision. For example, shooting a video and putting it up online might seem relatively easy but you have to ask yourself who is going to do this if you’re not video savvy. The same can be said about graphics for your site. If you want a highly customized graphic, then you need a web designer who knows how to manipulate images in Photoshop or create one digitally in illustrator. Do not expect that to come from one person. Everyone has a different role as what your want sometimes lies outside your intended budget. Let’s not forget the budget for SEO consultants and content developers if you don’t have the time to develop them yourself. All this adds up as part of your ongoing budget.

6. A Dead Site is a COMATOSE Site

There are plenty of comatose sites on the Internet. Businesses who concentrate mainly on existing customers do not update their own company websites when they have new products. This becomes very exasperating for customers when they hear of something new and can’t find any resource on it. Just coz you paid for the hosting and put up a static front page isn’t helping you or your customers in any way. Today, people are information driven. They need information to make credible decisions. Having a static site that sits there minding its own business is a waste of money.

One way of avoiding this is to cross post content from Tumblr, Instagram and even Pinterest to your own website. Social Media management systems like Hootsuite, Buffer and IFTTT.

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IFTTT.com is probably one of the most creative uses of web action fucntiions where you can trigger cross posting of content to various other media channels. The only downside is that it doesn’t support either Pinterest or G+ for the time being but Facebook profile, pages and groups are supported.

Online isn’t cheaper than Print

One of the age old paradigms is that having a website is going to be cheaper than printing a brochure as it was suppose to disrupt the traditional way of doing things. Not anymore. It cost more to get your brand recognize and even more for you to make money from it.

You should instead take websites and social media as complementary channels for your marketing strategy and not rely on it solely to bring home the bacon.

Online has gotten to be as expensive if not more than what it takes to print a brochure. One of the reasons is that technology has made it more complicated to reach out to new customers as everyone else is clamoring for that same piece of the pie. Your voice gets drowned out if you don’t shout loud enough in the marketplace and this is where you need to strategize your priorities. Big brands with millions of dollars in advertising budgets never have to worry because they have what it takes to create their own online presence whereas for the SMB, your budget is limited. Competing with the big names isn’t your priority but find your niche is. This is where you have to formulate strategy to get things going for yourself.

Content marketing is all about attracting eyeballs and you need to spend time, effort and money to make it all work.

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Content Creation with Canva

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I am broke! I don’t have money to buy Photoshop, nor do I know how to use it. I need help with my Images and I don’t know a darn thing about photography!

Sounds familiar? Well it should, after all not everyone has a gifted sense of design or the ability to capture a thought provoking or interesting image content to post to FB, Instagram or for that matter, any social media engagement platform.

Creating content might sound like making Apple pie but there is always a problem associated with it—either you don’t have time to do it or don’t know where to start. Canva  is here to help you but a word or warning, it is still in Beta so do expect some kinks.

What Canva can do for You

Photoshop is great, but heck, it’s not easy to use. Then you have the other stuff like illustrator to add in text and graphics, which Photoshop isn’t too useful for. Those are very expensive to purchase so instead of doing that, why not use something simple like Canva?

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As a digital imaging web app, it does not have the same usability as say, Photoshop Express found on your mobile app. It is a different sort of animal. Previously I had written about Graphic Memes and how some mobile apps can create beautiful content without you ever trying. Canva is similar. But what makes it different is that it can create a whole more lot of stuff for you using purpose designed templates.

Creative Freedom with Templates

I have noticed that over time, people tend to get lazy with technology. Optional templates are the way to go for creation enthusiast. No thinking required, and with just just a minimum of design sense you can probably hack something up within five minutes.

For a start,  you have a slew of pre-selected templates for your Twitter, FB page, business card, poster, etc, etc. You can also design a PDF flyer if you so desire or a call to action brochure for print or web use. I won’t even dare to list the number of things I can think of in which you can design with Canva so let’s stop here.

Templates are a boon at least for those who have no design sense. You pick a template, create a graphic for use and drop in the desired images, you then change the text to suit your needs and you’re ready to go.

Such simplicity will be a mind blowing experience for many and I am sure even seasoned pros like myself won’t deny how much it helps to solve the problems of creating something out from scratch.

Web Apps versus Desktop Apps

The cloud is where your apps will reside one day in a connected world but this is far from perfect. People still prefer to use a PC software like Photoshop instead of using the Cloud based version for one simple reason…your Internet connection is just too slow to upload or download large files.

This is probably Canva’s only weakness. I know some of you out there are pretty fond of uploading large pictures and have that scaled down to fit the graphic parameters of your design, and this is probably one of the problems that are being addressed at the moment.

Smaller files work perfectly (those under 1MB) but the whole design process will start to crawl on its knees once you start uploading multiples of 5MB photos.

During my test, the replacement of the background graphic becomes a problem when manipulating large files. The webapp starts to lag and sometimes it stops working altogether.

Besides uploading your preferred files directly up to Canva, you can also pull images from your Facebook account. This is nice, and I hope they would add more image platforms like Google Picasa and Yahoo Flickr. This would make selecting images very easy, but I am not sure if that would be the right intention.

Canva needs to monetize its service by selling stock images and designs. So for every design created that makes use of Canva’s image stock library, they make some money from it. Each image cost only US$1 buck. They don’t obviously make that much in the end, as they have to pay both the stock image library and the photographer who took that picture. That’s one tough business proposition.

Browser Problems

Presently, Canva only supports Chorme, Firefox and Safari. There is no IE or Opera Support so you gotta switch. Chrome compatibility is relatively poor, at least on the Mac as I have encountered numerous freezes and unresponsive features. Firefox is cool but suffers from lag. That said, Canva is still in Beta and they will need time to sort this out.

Creating Content for Pinterest, Google+ & Facebook

Canva is ideal for content creation and this is where it gets top marks. The graphic elements, tools and optional images which you can purchase will make this a go to place for all your social media content creation needs.

It is fast, effortless and cool. Take for example a poster, you could create one that post to your social media pages. All you need to do is edit the text elements to suit your needs and you’re done.

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If you have pictures to upload, you can do so as well but you have to make sure it has the right pixel parameters to match for what you want to do. For example, if you are creating a Facebook page background image, you don’t need high resolution images. But if you are going to use it as a Poster, you will need that to fit the requirements.

Canva has a lot of potential to succeed but I am not sure they can sort out the problems at the Beta stage right now but there is nothing to stop you from tailoring those beautiful templates to suit your current requirements as long as you’re not too ambitious.

 

Facebook Pages: The New Algorithm Punches below the Belt

 

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Facebook announced its Facebook for Business in Dec 2013 and within months, a new algorithm was introduced and it doesn’t look good for content marketing.

Techcrunch published an article on how Facebook has been destroying your pages newsfeed with its new algorithm. Apparently, they have the facts right but haven’t gone far enough to tell Zuckerberg in his face that he’s given you free heroin and asking for payment later. The problem is that the organic reach has been affected.

Organic reach: The number of unique people who saw your post in News Feed or on your Page, including people who saw it from a story shared by a friend when they liked, commented on or shared your post, answered a question or responded to an event

It is true that Facebook has been tweaking its algorithm for Pages newsfeed. Your fans don’t get to see any of those feeds anymore than they see Santa these days and there is good reason for it. The chart above illustrates this problem quite clearly.

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Social DNA is important now in the eyes of Facebook. Small businesses who have invested in a Free page will now have to ante up to get their post featured on their fan’s pages. Social DNA is determine by how often people like and share your post. If it’s not up to mark, it won’t be featured. Social DNA isn’t about having regular newsfeed post but rather on the quality of the post. And this can be determined by the number of comments and shares you get on a post.

Now let me point out to you that in the past Facebook Pages are free to set up. Any SMB (small medium business) with a limited budget to promote their brand are welcome to sign up. Then they asked you to spend money to get ‘likes’ for your new business page. Sounds fair so you put down your 20 dollars and in no time get a thousand likes. And with these likes, you basically have a following of sorts each time you post some news to your Page in the hope that your likes will translate to sales. The more post you put up then the more likes, shares and comments you will get and this is what social DNA is all about.

Enter the Social Media Management Systems and Agencies

Facebook pages is a huge business. So huge that you now have Social Media Management Agencies as well as Social Media Management Systems which you can sign up for to manage your Facebook Page. The agencies offer everything you need to boost your social rankings, and these are full fledge digital agencies that deal specifically with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, G+, etc, etc, on your behalf. The SMM Systems like Hootsuite and Buffer offer you dashboard control of all your social media accounts. And fo course, you have to pay for everything.

I bet Zuckerberg was walking on the beach somewhere in California when a beach ball hit him on the head to give him that idea. Why the fuck are you paying SMM Agencies and Systems when I can virtually make you lick my heels? So he came out with this newsfeed algorithm to take business away from SMM Systems and SMM Agencies.

Acquired Targeting….

Your social presence has a DNA which engages the reader. So when it gets big enough, well, it’s time you have to pay for your post to be featured. Facebook just made your subscription to those SMM tools totally redundant. I have remarked in some of my previous post that Social Media Marketing is as over rated as a Woody Allen movie. They do the same thing that SMM system tools do. Post by post, they are suppose to generate traffic  These SMM tools and agencies are at best, web traffic pimps. They promise you better management of your content on social media but with the new algorithm for your business page in place, your post aren’t going to get featured anyway!

Take a moment to understand how a newsfeed post gets featured.

  • How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) are the post creator’s past posts with everyone
  • How popular is this post with everyone who has already seen it
  • How popular have the post creator’s past posts been with the viewer
  • Does the type of post (status update, photo, video, link) match what types have been popular with the viewer in the past
  • How recently was the post published

This is why Content Development matters. You need to formulate a bullet proof strategy to start with before you start marketing your post online. What’s more, using a SMM service is no guarantee of getting traffic to your page if you don’t start paying Zuckerberg and company.

Tipping Point for Paid Reach

Your content strategy is to get people to notice, share and comment on your post to get results. This means that your audience must like and share the post with their friends to stay relevant. Once this happens often enough, you get a boost in your Social DNA. You can’t escape the fact that you have to pay to get your post featured and once you do, make sure you have the juicy content that people are looking for.

This is a tough act to follow because small businesses have limited budgets to spend on a promotion, and if you don’t have something attractive to be shared, like maybe the One Dollar Hooker special if you happen to run a brothel, then you’re out of luck.

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Your Facebook audience may not be inundated with news feed post from friends. But Facebook isn’t letting this go. They want your money. All the crap you hear about Facebook keeping the newsfeed algorithm trim and healthy is just another excuse to charge business owners money to feed their bottom line revenue. The average Facebook user has less than 300 friends. In fact, Scientist have proven that we can only keep 150 people on a list. The rest are fair game. How many  pages does the average Facebook user likes anyway? It’s only 40. Seriously, do you think that all 40 brands will post to your time line newsfeed everyday of the week? This is what Facebook is saying right now about the new algorithm. Keep it trim and snappy. Sorry bud, no free rides if you’re a growing business.

How much you are willing to spend to boost your post reach is up to you. You could rack up thousands on your credit card if you are not too careful. So don’t go crazy with the plastic. Plan your content strategy first before jumping onto the Fan page bandwagon.

 

 

How to create Awesome Content to boost your Google Authorship

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Gunning for a top rank on Google search? Have you started building your content credibility with Google’s authorship program? Haven’t? Better get cracking now before it is too late.

In the past, anyone can pen some nonsense and share that to the world. This hasn’t changed of course but what is written has. According to the latest Hummingbird SEO metrics, long form content is more important than those 100 words rants you post on Facebook.

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To ensure that the long piece of text is rightly attributed to you, Google changed the Hummingbird metrics to weigh in on WHO is providing the content. This is where Google Authorship comes in to diss you down if all you ever post are rants about your mother.

This whole authorship thingy might sound really complicated but it isn’t. All you have to do is to create an active G+ profile and link that to all your blogs. That’s it!

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What makes for an active G+ profile is simple. Make sure you fill in all the information about yourself, with a picture and a list of stuff you do. Think of the G+ profile as your link-in calling card to everything you do on the web.

Creating Content for Inbound Marketing

I hate to say this but what your fifth grade teacher said about being able to write well is probably more true today than ever before. Google SEO and Facebook SEO is different. For Google, it is a text type search engine whereas Facebook places more importance on sharing visual things like pictures and video.

I won’t touch on pictures and video as this requires more skill and dexterity to produce. What I will tell you is that text based content is really much easier to start with but you have to be truthful about the first thing that comes to you, that is…are you able to write something decent that can be understood by humankind.

I have seen in my career many failures with people often bearing college degrees, Masters and PhDs who can’t write a line interesting enough to be shared. This is no fault of yours of course, you can write a thesis like a text book and people will never read them except maybe for your college professor.

Text content only needs to fulfil two things.

  • Interesting and informative writing
  • Entertaining and witty writing

How not to be your Boring English Teacher

Remember the time when you were in school, you flipped those school text books and fell asleep reading it? They will come across as really informative but dull to read. Your teacher’s job is to make sure you learn it and he or she has to make it sound interesting enough for you to pick it up. So remember this golden rule…

Informative articles  may not be interesting, if you want to offer great content you have to make it Informative and Interesting at the same time for it to be any use to people reading it.

This is a talent that you may not have and it is best to admit it before you embark on the journey to gain world wide authorship rankings. There is absolutely nothing wrong if you decide to hire a writer to do this for you. Just make sure this is kosher with the writer as they sometimes write for many people and will reuse bits of what they have given you.

Google will not fault you on informative content, as facts are facts and there is not need to fictionalise content to meet Hummingbird metrics. How you choose your words to explain the content matters.

The Art of Making Stuff Interesting

If you are knowledgeable, then this would be pretty easy.

Give examples based on everyday facts to things that people can relate to!

People often give dimensions and measurements in numbers, this is fine but you should also give it a dimension that people can relate to, like the size of two football pitches, or the length of a candy bar.

Write about your own experiences with the subject matter!

Your own experiences to validate a point is crucial to making that yours and no one can steal this from you. Those ‘epiphany’ moments makes for great writing and this can help others relate to what you are talking about.

How to Be Entertaining as a Writer

To me, this is perhaps the most difficult thing when you’re not up to it. Everyone has their bad days so if you are asked to write something entertaining, it better be on a good day. There are some rules to follow which will be helpful:-

Ante up on that Thesaurus and increase your Vocabulary

You need words, lots of it, to throw at would be readers to keep them nimble. Language is used to communicate but sometimes we tend to have different words to describe similar situations. Having a vocabulary the size of a Blue Whale will help somewhat to conquering the authorship world.

Be Visual and Graphic about your Experiences

Your sense of observation is important when writing about first hand experiences. It’s like a painting. You fill it with color which then allows your eyes to dance with it. Color, smell, touch all give a visual account of what you are experiencing.

Exaggerate the facts to be witty

I have discovered that comedians, when using their punch lines often resort to exaggeration as means to be funny and witty. Just look up all the comedians and instead of enjoying the stand up action, analyse what they say and the words they use. Ask yourself why the punch line was so good. Once you get an idea on how to do this, sprinkle it around your writing. Bear in mind that you don’t need to be funny at every paragraph, otherwise it will read like a nonsensical feature.

Poke fun at Cliches and Social Norms

There are a lot of cliches that are cultural and you don’t have to resort to anything derogatory. Political cliches work best, racial ones only alienate your readers. Humans are creatures of habit. They take a dump every morning, have coffee and read the morning news. This in itself is a good cliche for everyday humor.

What Google Authorship Does for You

Online credibility. That’s the one thing that ties you to the SEO. If you take credit for all you have written, and people find it useful, they will start to share it.

By taking credit for what you write, you are in fact protecting your turf as a writer. No one can take that away from you even if they steal your article. Once Google has built a depositary of your work, they will rank your contributions higher on the search results. In time, you will become an authority on what you write about.

How to Protect any Written Content?

This is a trick I learnt from the folks at Google. If you want to catch someone copying your content, well first select a very unique sentence from your written content and paste that into Google Alerts. Once the search engine comes across this sentence, it will send you a notification to your Gmail account. Simple.

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Some sites will give you credit while others will steal wholesale from you. It’s up to you to file a DMCA complaint. That said, it’s never easy to get a take down as long as the offending site lies outside of the US. But to me, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Google Authorship knows that the written piece came from you and for that alone, it will thumb down the offending site in search engine results.

The Dark Art of Gaining Followers

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How do you gain followers on Social Media? I mean I need this to show off my site and, how the heck does it work? Do I need to put up a Selfie?

Ever heard of a vanity license plate for a car? Well in the Internet World, gaining busloads of followers does the same thing for you. It is a magnet of sorts to tell people that you have arrived.

That said, social media license plates are really not that difficult to get, at least not legally. Now, gaining followers is not that difficult. There are millions if not thousands of accounts in social media that are positively fake. They exist only for one reason, to be your follower.

Why is it difficult to find Genuine Followers

Social apathy or plain laziness is probably the answer you are looking for and you’re spot on. People who think that the Internet world is full of would be social activist are so wrong footed that it would even be fatal to take up line dancing.

Surfers are often very indolent people. They sit back, give their two cents worth if they really have the time for a comment and flip to the nearest porn or Internet channel for a daily dose of Entertainment.

Content Creation for Baiting Followers

I have said before in my earlier post, you need to create engaging content to win over followers and the content should fall into TWO categories.

  • It has to be useful to the follower. This can be useful bits of information on how to reuse cat litter for garden decoration to ways to tune your car into a Porsche for as little as $1.95.
  • Content must be entertaining. Yes, smart, funny, witty stuff are tops…even beautiful naked women or men can be entertaining if you posed correctly.

Once you have this, just rinse and repeat. You are bound to find followers who appreciate your nuggets of wisdom or entertainment.

How Not to gain Followers

The first rule is not to promise people things you can’t deliver. Like a snake oil sales man trying to sell a broken record, do not offer freebies and stuff when you sincerely can’t even get your own paws on.

Nor should you promise them home remedies or DIY tips that don’t work, like how to tune their car into a Porsche for as little as $1.95.

But I need a Vanity License Plate!

If you sincerely must have that busload of followers, you can do this. Buy those followers. A thousand followers on Instagram will cost you roughly US$13. For twitter, it cost only US$40 for 2,000 followers. Now, that sound like a steal but remember that this is temporary. Some stick around for a month, others for a full year. It really depends on the people who run the business.

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Followers are only worth their weight in salt. And that’s might cheap to have if all you need is a vanity license plate. You could buy hundreds of thousands of followers if you could afford it but seriously, who the damn cares if all you sell online are geriatric diapers? Would Barack Obama or Sarah Palin be jealous of you if you did have more followers than they did?

How the HELL did it all disappear?

If you care to check your followers, some are real, some are not. Most of the time, you’d find how the hell did those ‘bought’ followers ended up following you for a brief time and in the process, had unfollowed you as graciously as they followed you. There is a distinction between a fake and a real one based on the fact that one is a living person with that account, the other is a virtual doppelgänger of an online creation.

The fake followers are easy to spot. They have no activity except may one picture posted in the last century. I am pretty sure it is easy to register fake followers by the hundreds or thousands if you care to use a unique username that has yet to be used.

The real followers are a dumb found. How could they sign up to follow you? Well in case you didn’t know. There are sites out there that promise you free followers with one caveat, they get to use your login and password credentials.

You see, some web sites that SELL followers also have a weapon, they call it a ” running train” where people hop on board to get free followers. The onus is on you who join for free. They get to control your Instagram or Twitter password and login. Once they have this, they start messing up the system by using your profile to follow a paying customer and they to follow you back. It works a little bit like incest. You join a big family to have social media copulations.

The sites that charge you money to gain followers are in fact, running a sister or brother site that gains the passwords and logins for free in return for more followers. The sign up server runs automatically with dedicated APIs that run scripts to follow and unfollow people at the opportune time.

This is also why all the free-follow sites ask you for your password and login the moment they join. It’s their way of making money off you while you gain just more followers. Imagine if they had a thousand people sign up every day, and another thousand who buys followers from them, you’d have 1,998 free followers a day.

Worst Kept Secrets ?

To get found out that you are using fake or paid followers is nothing new. Mitt Romney was judged to have done it during his campaign but I seriously don’t really care.

Paid followers do not necessarily translate to your bottom line even if you only sell quality online Eskimo porn. It might give you some credibility at some point but if all you ever post are ugly selfies of yourself, well then, there is going to be trouble later down the line.

In a virtual world, everyone is entitled to mask their real intentions. Creating good content can take too much effort if all you need to boost your public image is a load of would be followers. Buying them seems like a nice option. That, is entirely up to you.

Social Media Marketing for Noobs

It doesn’t take a lot to know that the English speaking world has only a few social media properties which make any sense, or cents if you care to invest your time and money in the hope of a return. Contrary to popular belief, it is not as complicated as it seems though many social media management platforms like to think so.

These can be put in their place with the following infographic. Easy to understand and sans the usual sales talk you hear from Internet Marketeers.

Social-infographic1Social Media marketing, what’s that all about? Good Question.

There are a sizeable number of them that claims to be the be all and end all management tool but I beg to differ. They all allow you to manage your social media connections, and from the chart alone you’d get a good idea on what’s how there in the Anglophone world.

Even though Facebook is localised to suit many non-English countries, there exist a huge community of social media platforms that is out of bounds of this chart. For example in Japan and China, Facebook is a non-connector. And those two countries make up the first and third largest online consumers in the world by revenue generated online. They consume everything from games, online content to e-commerce to downloadable porn.

What’s more, Japan has it’s own social network that are targeted at their own native market. Facebook to them is just an afterthought. Then you have China, where Facebook is…banned.

Internet Marketing for Social Media

Almost all Social Media Management sites casually forget to mention that you need to have engaging and useful content on hand before you start any Internet marketing. WTF? You mean I can’t pose a selfie to get the ball rolling? Not unless you’re an up and coming porn star.

Making awesome content takes talent, but none of the Internet Marketing agencies will tell you this upfront. You could of course do it on your own by using one of the many social media marketing tools. Just look up Buffer, Hootsuite, Oktopost, Zoniz or marketmesuite, all of them want your money at some point so be forewarned.

These social media marketing and management tools are aimed at different consumers but somehow, when you look at them closely, they all seem to offer a cookie cutter type social media marketing solution. They give you the freedom to schedule post, manage your Facebook Page and get all the statistics associated with it but none of them tell you how to make awesome content for your social media feed. They all assume you already know how to create awesome content in the first place. However there is a way out, you can always curate your content from various other sources. This is by far the cheapest option if you don’t mind sitting around the whole day looking for stuff on the Web or Internet. It is a very labor intensive workout so remember to make a big pot of coffee before you start.

Checklist for Content Development

To make things easier for you. Just consider the following:-

  • Can you write decent copy in English? And by this I don’t mean ‘SMS text’  with emoticons.
  • Can you take a decent photo that people will often admire? And I am not referring to pictures of food or selfies you post daily on Instagram.
  • Can you stage and capture a decent video clip for sharing? By this I don’t mean those borderline porn clips you share with your girlfriend or boyfriend on Snapchat.

If you happen to answer ‘no’ to all of these, please get help coz you are gonna need it. How much you are willing to spend depends on you. There are cheap and super cheap content developers. I hear that a 15 second Bollywood video production cost you only $1.95, so if that’s your budget, go for it. But be forewarned, you get what you paid for.

The Low Down on Social Media Marketing

The start and end point for all your awesome content is always the same. You want to bait as much traffic as you can. This is the basis of all Internet Marketing strategies.

content strategy.001

Once you have your content settled, then it’s time to hit the social media circle. Post, cross-post and cross link all your content with the various social media networks. Which to choose? I leave it to you.

I have designed the simplest diagram I can think of for Noobs. There is a more complex one that I will share on a later date. So get cracking on those awesome content!

Facebook revises Newsfeed: No more Brand Spam?

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Facebook has been in the news for all the wrong reasons but lately, they have come out to support content with a revised Newsfeed Algorithm that takes a swipe at brands who spam.

From now on, Brands who wish to engage their customers through Facebook’s Pages will have to ante up on the moolah. In an apparent move to emulate Google’s Hummingbird, Facebook’s own Analytics will pay more attention to original content instead of the usual nonsense being passed around as Branded Spam.

The whole idea isn’t new but the analytics seems to be a bit Neanderthal. For example, if your friend ‘likes” a content feed, then it will appear on your newsfeed. The new analytics will also monitor  comments made by friends so that it will show up more prominently and more regularly so you could be seeing the same story on the top of your newsfeed as more of your friends start to comment on them. Facebook’s own analytics do not for example analyse the content in the same way as Hummingbird does in Google searches.

Facebook’s has this to say about the revised newsfeed algorithm:-

Our surveys show that on average people prefer links to high quality articles about current events, their favorite sports team or shared interests, to the latest meme. Starting soon, we’ll be doing a better job of distinguishing between a high quality article on a website versus a meme photo hosted somewhere other than Facebook when people click on those stories on mobile. This means that high quality articles you or others read may show up a bit more prominently in your News Feed, and meme photos may show up a bit less prominently.

Creating Engaging Content 

This is probably the tough one for Brands. Facebook doesn’t like giving out freebies to commercial entities and will be watching your Pages with the revised analytics. Apparently it will take your post down a few notches so as to challenge you to come out with better content. Now what makes for better brand content? Facebook is looking for some form of social engagement so that should give you an idea on what to expect.

DisplayMediaBrands who want to see their post up on all their fan’s newsfeed will have to pay for the privilege. Facebook isn’t too keen to let you off the hook so easily as it hopes to bump up its stock price on the NYSE.

If the average person has about 100 friends who are active on Facebook, you could be seeing a whole lot of content from them instead of the Brand marketing stuff one has come to expect from the past.

Brand engagement will be more expensive on the long run and there is no alternative.

What about camping out on G+?

Probably a better place to start but that doesn’t mean you can jump ship and hope your fans will follow you to Google. At the moment, Google is still beefing up its social platform but it is free for all for the moment. You can post anything you like and as long as the person has circled you as a follower, you can expect a lively newsfeed.

New-Google-logoGoing forward, Google will eventually make G+ a paying social platform. Right now, there are no ads as yet but it will come eventually. It’s just a question of time before this happens.