Learn Twitter for Small Business Customer Relationship Management

One of the big problems with social media is over-hype. Online marketers insist that this is the greatest marketing tool for getting access to potential customers online and small business customer relationship management but they persist in making the same mistakes over and over again. They don’t take the time to learn Twitter and to run a campaign that successfully utilises social media marketing for business, this is vital.

Auto-follow is the biggest no-no. If someone follows you, you don’t necessarily need to follow them. It really depends what sort of Tweeter they are because so many auto-followers do so only to be able to send you thousands of sales messages. They are not interested in clicking links to your sales pages or even reading tweets about your life. And that’s why programs that encourage you to auto-follow and strategies that rely on such programs are doomed to failure.

Reading ‘How To Out-Socialise the Gurus on Twitter and Other Social Media’ by Marty Bradfield (c) 2010 Onlíne Marketing Bootcamp, he talks about how mass marketers are focussed solely upon themselves, whereas those who use social media tend to be social marketers who are dedicated to building and nurturing social relationships with people with whom they would like to do business.

Here’s how he encourages us to learn how to use Twitter in the right way:

The first step to mastering social media marketing is to learn how to attract people. Auto-follow will not ever work towards that end. In order to attract people who want to follow you, you must inspire them to want to follow you.

It is funny when I watch the people who are trying to market themselves on Twitter.

Some of those people will send out an endless supply of quotes, trying to convince you of their value, because they have said something clever through the words of another person.

Others will send out sales message after sales message hoping to attract your business.

"learn-twitter"Still others will try to win your support by focusing on key words. They want to treat Twitter as if it were search engine driving traffic to their website.

Some Twitter users will make certain to include a link with every tweet. The smarter of the lot will only link to information. The more shallow of the group will only link to sales pages.

And finally, there are those who are probably smarter than all of us put together. They are the ones who provide a mix of content. Sometimes, they will give us a link to information. Sometimes, they will link us to the sales page. At other times, they will share quotes and news headlines. And in all cases, they will socialize with their followers, asking about things important to their followers and sharing their personal lives with those who ask.

The Lesson To Take From This Article

Social media marketing works best, when the marketer who is attempting to use it, remembers that first and foremost it is a platform to socialize with other people.

Why do people follow YOU on Twitter?

They follow you, because there is something about you and what you say that appeals to them at a very human level.

If you want to win in the Social Media element, be human and don’t be afraid to socialize with your friends and acquaintances.

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Social Media Marketing For Business

A 2009 survey by Alterian discovered that 66% of companies will be investing in social media marketing for business strategy in 2010.

Listening first and then communicating and engaging have become “musts” for any successful social media campaign and a large proportion of those companies plan to utilise more than 20% of their traditional direct marketing budget in social media.

However, it’s all very well saying that but how should a small local business get the best out of any social media interaction? We know that just bombarding potential customers with direct messages or continually linking to products just turns their attention away so what’s the best method of engaging and connecting?

Here’s a great post that talks about how to integrate social media marketing for business with traditional advertising methods.

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Local Search Engine Optimisation

Some small business owners are rather scathing of local search engine optimisation but, invariably, this is as a result of it not being done properly on their site.

There are people who will tell you that they rank #1 on Google but haven’t received any customers as a result.

Invariably, this is because their website has been optimised solely for the name of the company.

This is rather pointless because the people who will be searching Google for your company name will probably already be customers.

When selecting the metadata for your site, you need to work out what your potential customers are going to be typing into Google.

But, it’s a bit more complicated than that because, if you are a coffee shop and you just use the keyword ‘coffee’ on your site, you’re going to be in competition with an awful lot of other coffee shops around the world. You need to take geography into account and use local search engine optimisation

If, like Mike at The Ark, you are offering various types of massages in the Southend area, your future client base would be searching for ‘massage in Southend’. If his website did not show up on that search, then his business would not exist to those customers.

However, another reason for lack of customers could be as simple as there is no effective tracking system in place to check who’s visiting your website and where they came from.

If there is nothing on the site that requests prospective customers to let you know how they found out about your business or if no one asks them when they telephone/email, then they may not voluntarily tell you.

You have to set in place proper systems for tracking where your business is coming from – and that includes paid advertising because, without that, you don’t know how effective any campaign is. If it’s costing you money, it is vital that you have a way of working out the value of every customer that is achieved through that method to assess whether the financial outlay is worthwhile.

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Business EMarketing – Social Media Marketing Is Dying

When I read this article by Duncan Wierman, I have to admit that I agreed with him. I get so many people who either friend me or thank me for following them on Twitter by sending a Direct Message.

Invariably this is just a ruse to send me a link to their affiliate/product page. This is a really bad way to go about your business emarketing.

The way social media is supposed to work for marketing is that you friend people in order to build a relationship with them. You don’t sell… unless they ask you to. And they won’t ask you to unless you have built up a level of trust.

It’s all very well using software to search Twitter and Facebook for those individuals who are talking about keywords that relate to your product/industry so that you can interact with them – but they’re not stupid. If you only do it to bombard them with ads every time you post anything, they’re going to delete you pretty damn quick.

Certainly that’s what I do when it happens because I suddenly realise that I have an inbox full of ‘spam’. So the strategy really does have to be slowly and softly. You make them aware of your brand through the Twitter User Name or Facebook Fan Page but, otherwise, you don’t mention your product or services.

The whole thing that needs to be remembered when formulating a business marketing plan is that it takes seven exposures to your brand for someone to be ready to buy. That’s subliminal messages to their brain, be it through the logo on your company van, an ad in the local newspaper, a post on a relevent blog, a signature in a forum account on the subject, your Twitter account or Facebook Fan page.

Just like a virtual Derren Brown, you are sending them cues that will hardwire their brain to put forward your name if and when they have a problem that could be solved by your product/service.

Constantly ramming it down their throat will only cause immunity, bad feeling or deletion.

I thought long and hard about actually including the article because it is an article with a resource box that refers you to a type of software that builds leads by not using social media. However, in the spirit of article marketing, I have done the right thing as I think he makes some valid points.

Social Media Marketing is Dying
By Duncan Wierman (c) 2010

If nothing is certain, one thing is – social media is losing its magic. What once was a new and improved way to keep in touch with your closest loved ones has become just another sales pitch to convince you to sign up to another dreadful business prospect, newsletter, product, or service. There is no opening or closing – simply raw advertisements that lack sincerity. The people advertising their products don’t care about you or your general interests. They’re too set on the idea that you’re going to sign up and turn them into a success.

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that the advertisements lack taste and real value, or could it be that the people who want your business care less about who you are and what you are interested in?

What business entrepreneurs are forgetting is that they are on the other side of the fence of social media. They are on the advertising end, which means without a real connection to the “the people,” they are getting nowhere. At some point, a real connection needs to be established or otherwise all efforts to make a sale or spread the word are pointless.

The truth? No one cares about you unless you care about them, particularly when it comes to social media. Let’s say that you’ve got an account with Facebook. Each day when you see those tiny red notifications, you’re dead sure that they signify a message from your friends or family. Unfortunately, you open your inbox and all you see are loud advertisements. What do you do? You delete them, and you do so automatically without any interest whatsoever about what they say.

Advertising gurus are no longer “gurus,” they are simply annoying spammers who have no clue what they are doing. Business owners are missing the point. If their emails are getting read, it’s only by other advertisers just so they can compare tactics and techniques. Another sad part of it all is that no one is coming up with new techniques. Everybody is following someone who they think is successful, but in reality, no one is making any money because of their lack of effort and knowledge.

If you haven’t noticed (and you most likely have), all online entrepreneurs go about advertising their businesses in the same way. First, they request you as a fríend or become a follower (Twitter). Some of them may greet you with a “thanks for the request” or some other similar phrase, while others jump straight to the point and start bombarding you with their “winníng” sales pitch. Who are you more likely to communicate with? Nothing screams “delete” louder and faster than a sales pitch.

Some of the “thanks for the request” people might actually make it, as long as they don’t jump the gun too quickly. Unfortunately, the majority of them end it right there and automatically go on a link-posting frenzy, and immediately begin flooding your inbox with details about their products with no mention of how they might benefit you individually. It’s almost as if they are “demanding” that you purchase from them without any clear reason as to why.

On the other hand, some people are making sales. They are the ones who take their time in getting to know people. They ask questions and take a true interest in their prospects. Developing customer relationships is the most important part of advertising on social media because in the real world, customer relationships are a must.

It helps to wear the shoe on the other foot. Picture walking into a store with workers that aren’t friendly and don’t seem to have your interest anywhere in their top priorities. They are anxious for you to purchase something and that is it. They don’t care what you purchase or why, they just want your money. When you leave, they want you to come back over and over, even if you’re not interested in what they’ve got. It’s a horrible experience for both you and them.

When you look at it from a different perspective, it helps to see why social media is dying for your company. What people want is warmth and a display of interest in who they are, not lousy sales pitches. As soon as business professionals establish a connection, then they might have a chance, but until then, it’s best to just stick to more familiar means of advertising and leave social media to what it was always meant for. Bring common sense back to your marketing.

About The Author
Former Software CEO turned Internet Marketer. Duncan Wierman shows you how to use creative marketing methods to create a full time income online. Duncan is the original creator of the software that finds business LEADS and converts them to income. Get a trial copy at:
http://www.onlineleadfinder.com/

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Google Instant

Google Instant is the ‘predictive text’ equivalent of searching the internet. You type in a few letters and Google guesses what it is that you are looking for based on the most popular trends.

Just as I avoid predictive text wherever possible because a machine invariably cannot read my mind, it is the same with Google Instant. I do not want it second guessing me as a customer and, as a SEO (search engine optimisation) business, it’s a real pain in the bottom because it interferes with the natural thought processes and sends people where Google wants them to go rather than where their instincts would have sent them.

This makes optimising a website for the most human keywords a little more difficult.

For those of you who understand Search Engine Optimisation, this is an interesting look at the new search facility Google Instant and its effects on keyword optimisation.

Google Instant – Implications for SEO & Internet Marketing

By Titus Hoskins (c) 2010

While reading Harry McCracken’s rather insightful article on Google Instant in PCWorld , I was reminded once again, how narrowly focused my own thinking has become in regards to Google. I keep forgetting, not everybody is into SEO or Internet Marketing (lucky dogs), and that Google search has a function outside of SEO.

I keep forgetting that the general public actually uses Google for online search, there are millions of web users out there who have been using Google Instant to find out the weather, the latest Lady Gaga outfit or which flat-screen HDTV to purchase? Of course, I know this to be the real function of Google, but if you’re a full-time search engine marketer, your perspective is solidly aligned to all the SEO elements – keyword rankings, link building and content placemént in the most dominant search engine in the world.

Basically, you will be more concerned with how Google Instant will impact those top keyword rankings, your click-through rates and most importantly, what effect will it have on your conversion rates and sales? More specifically, how does this instant search impact the display of your listings in Google and what are the long-term ramifications this instant “real time” display will have on your marketing online?

There are even some so-called experts which say Google Instant will be the end of SEO. This is a rather foolish notion since the underlying structure of using optimized strategies to obtain top rankings in Google or any other search engine for that matter, has not changed. We still have the emphasis on quality content, high quality backlinks and on-page ranking factors.

In the background nothing has changed; in the foreground everything has changed. Well, somewhat.

Google Instant is a game changer for online marketers simply because it changes “How” your listings are displayed. Not only is the faster speed a factor, but Google is guessing or rather dictating what the web surfer is searching for so Google’s influence on what’s displayed has increased 10-fold. They are displaying results not only based on rankings BUT on what their data tells them you’re looking for? How big a role this other compiled data and web users’ histories plays in these suggestions only Google knows, but to the online marketer all this is somewhat worrisome.

Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google has been quoted as saying, “Never underestimate the power of fast. Quick, quick, quick – we want to help you right now… we can understand things like what you really meant.”

Only time will tell what effect this “jumping the gun” or “making up your mind for you” will have on Internet marketing. The long-lasting effect of Google imposing its results on the web searcher will no doubt have some strong impacts on web marketing. Getting those first suggestions when a surfer types in just one or two letters… will become the real money-makers in terms of online traffic and sales.

Those companies and products which pop-up first will gain in market share and importance, but hasn’t this always been the case with getting those first place keyword rankings in Google? Yes, but now Google is giving the searcher options and planting seeds/suggestions, which Google has done in the past but not at this speed and to this extent. The implications for online marketing could be enormous, assuming of course, web surfers actually use this function. Google does give users the option of turning off Instant search. In our hurried fast-paced world, one would reason, web searchers would not turn off this function, although if your Internet connection is too slow, Google will automatically turn off Instant search for you.

From a marketing angle, webmasters must now note Google’s keyword suggestions which quickly pop-up and target them in their SEO efforts. Analyzing and targeting which keyword phrases Google is displaying in your niche market will be vital to capturing the majority of traffic. Surfers will click on Google’s suggestions to find what they’re looking for on the web. Getting top rankings for those 4 or 5 suggestions will become important if an online marketer or webmaster wants to cover/corner all the search territory in their niche. Whether you actually target these keywords would really be determined by their commercial intent probability which can be discovered by using Microsoft’s Adcenter Labs and of course, the amount of traffic each keyword gets each month.

Another area of concern has to do with the ever decreasing space for organic listings on the new Google Instant interface. With the drop-down menu and depending upon how many paid listings are shown, there may only be room for 3 listings instead of five or more above the fold. Keep in mind, we are mainly talking about lucrative keyword phrases which will also usually have three Adwords paid listings in the spots where organic search results were formerly displayed. Searchers are lazy, they will probably not scroll down, especially if they see different listings popping up as they narrow they search. So your SEO has probably gotten much harder since you will now have to aim for the top 3 spots – thanks Google.

Of course, savvy online marketers know the real gold is in the long-tail keyword phrases which surfers use to find what they’re looking for on the web. Google Instant could possibly play havoc on this whole process because before the searcher finishes typing in the long 4 or even 5 word phrases, they would be exposed to maybe 4 or 5 pages of Google listings… chances are great that searchers will click on one of these listings before they finish typing, especially if the listing contains a part of the searched for phrase.

Marketers will have to closely analyze their own web stats and conversion rates in regards to Google Instant. I am seeing little change in my own marketing… traffic has dropped on some sites and risen on others, subscription rates are up and sales are steady. What really concerns me is the fact that Google may not only be pre-judging their rankings but also your mind. They are playing a much bigger role in how you decide which listing you click. Granted, this is probably drawn from unbiased data but will the influence of top-brand companies be more dominant in Google’s Instant results?

Another general concern – will the display of so many listings make it harder for your site or page to be clicked? Will giving the searcher so many options so quickly, lower your chances of getting that click-thru, even if you have the top spot in Google? The laws of probability and human nature say your chances have diminished somewhat in this new instant search environment. Not good news if your livelihood depends upon getting that click.

However, many of these changes (and no matter how fast Google gives you their search results) will not change the fundamental principles of good SEO practices. Keyword positioning will still get you to the number one spot in Google for your chosen phrase if you have the time and resources to create quality content, build quality one-way backlinks and use good on-page optimization. Besides the smaller emphasis on organic traffic, the only other real concern is the degree to which Google will use their suggestions and how much those suggestions are based not on SEO ranking factors but on users’ histories and compiled data. Even with this concern, Google Instant, even at warp speed, does not negate the importance of getting those top rankings. For many search engine marketers, like myself, it’s business as usual. Full speed ahead.

About The Author
All opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author who has been following Google since it was a mere BackRub. He is also a full time search engine marketer who operates numerous niche sites, as well as two sites on Internet Marketing, where you can get valuable marketing tips for free: internet marketing tools or try here internet marketing. Titus Hoskins Copyright 2010. This article may be freely distributed if this resource box stays attached.

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