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  1. Social Media Myths: Don’t Believe the Hype

    June 7, 2014 by Blair Stover

    Do you believe that you must “do social media” even if you do not understand it or want it for your business?  Are you afraid that you are missing out because you are not posting continuously?  A recent Forbes article offers some insight into myths about social media.  See if any of these are thought-traps you have fallen into!

    1)       Everyone is using social media.  You will see statistics like “80 percent of all shoppers find their products on social media,” but remember that the targeted demographic always determines whether this is true.  Some demographics simply do not use social media or prefer other methods of finding their goods and services.

    2)      Social news aggregators have no value.  Facebook and Twitter may be kings, but Reddit, Stumbledupon, Digg and other social news aggregators also have their place.  In fact, the content most frequently shared on Facebook and Twitter actually originates on one of these social news aggregators.

    3)      You cannot do social media alone.  Yes, you can.  It just takes some practice and a little studying.

    4)      You have to spend hours a day on social media.  No, you do not.  You just have to effectively schedule your posts.  Programs like Hootsuite even allow you to do this in advance.

    5)      Social media is a broadcast channel.  You can get your customers to interact, rather than just talking to them, by offering specials, sweepstakes, prizes and other perks.

    6)      Social media replaces a website.  You cannot get rid of a good website just because you use social media.  Instead, the two should work together.

    7)      You cannot measure social media’s ROI.  You can track a lot of user activity through social media by using the right tools.

    8)      Blogging is time-wasting.  Blogging is not only easy but it sets a tone for your business and allows you to brand yourself as an expert in your field.

    9)      You have to be on all the social networks.  It is better to do one or two well than to do 15 poorly.

    10)  Social media replaces real-life contact.  There is nothing to be a face-to-face conversation or a phone call with your customers, including social media.

    The fact is that social media is a tool just like any other and can be used effectively or ineffectively.  Think about that the next time you are tempted to use SM because “everyone else is doing it!”

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  2. E-Life: How To Organize Business Contacts

    May 29, 2014 by Blair Stover

    Social media has invaded every part of our lives, and some are calling the extent to which people use the computer “e-life.”  As the web takes over more and more aspects of life, how much Internet interaction is too much?

    For businesses, the question is not how much of your contact is online but how you have organized your e-contacts to best utilize your connection with them.  Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your web contacts.

    • Organize e-contacts into a useable and searchable format.  Depending on the size of your business, you do not have to go crazy with organizational paradigms; in fact, you may be able to utilize the tools on your social media or email platforms.  However, for larger businesses, it makes sense to invest some time and money into a system that is not only accessible for everyone in your organization but which can morph from one platform to another.  A database of e-contacts is not optional if you want to keep your lists clean and organized.
    • Add and purge regularly.  Just as you should not let paper filing pile up on your desk, you should regularly sort your e-contact list.  If your inbox has 5,438 emails in it, it is time to do something.  It may take some time but organizing your contact lists will benefit you greatly in the end.  You should not be afraid to purge contacts as well, particularly if you have not used them in two years or more.  Email addresses change so frequently that two years is probably the outside limit you can hope for an address to be valid after no contact.
    • Trust your passwords to no one, except someone.  That may sound silly, but storing all your passwords in your head is a very bad idea.  If something happens and someone needs access to your email or database, one other person should be able to get in.  You know who that person is:  the same one you would trust with your banking PIN.  Send all your logins and passwords to this person so he or she could access everything in case of an emergency.

    With a little attention to detail, you can organize your e-life with the same care that you organize the rest of your life.  Your business will thank you with more efficiency, better communication and ultimately better profits!

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  3. I Like You, But . . . Taking Social Media To The Next Level

    April 18, 2014 by Blair Stover

    The one phrase no one wants to hear in the dating world is, “I like you, but . . .” The same thing could be said for social media.  When you gather lots of likes or followers you probably think it will help your business.  It can, but just gathering likes is not enough to drive new custom to your business.  Instead, you must do something with those followers to convert them into loyal customers.

    The Difference Between “Like” and “Love”

    Blair StoverYou may have launched a campaign to gain Facebook or Twitter followers by offering some type of incentive to those who “liked” your page or “followed” you.  However, you have to remember that, while it is good news that people are seeing your company, it does not take much effort to hit the “like” or “follow” button.  The real effort, and the gap you must bridge, comes after gaining a new fan or follower.  At that point, you must begin the process of building loyalty.

    Loyalty in social media marketing refers to the delicate process of causing a follower to become a loyal fan.  There is no easy or quick way to do this.  It requires an indeterminate number of positive interactions; this number will be different for every customer.  How, then, can you possibly hope to take control of the loyalty process and turn those who “like” you into those who “love” you?


    There are steps you can take to build loyalty.  While you may not reach every customer, these steps will give you the best chance of making your followers loyal!

    • Respond to every request.  Manager your social media every day and try to respond to as many customer posts and comments as possible.  You may not be able to respond to every comment, but make it a practice to answer a set number every day.
    • Deal with negative feedback immediately.  Social media is a great way to reach your audience, but it is also an easy way for your audience to tell the world when they have a bad experience.  If you get a complaint, handle it immediately to avoid bad feedback later.
    • Offer tantalizing posts.  Make your posts interesting and enticing to keep your customers interested.  If necessary, hire a professional to write your posts for you.

    With just a little work, you can turn your fan base into a group of loyal customers!

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  4. Are You Kidding Me? Twitter Campaigns Go Crazy for Superbowl

    February 21, 2014 by Blair Stover

    Blair StoverJCPenney (@jcpenney) may have had the old saying, “There is no such thing as bad attention” in mind with its #tweetingwithmittens campaign on Super Bowl Sunday.  The retail giant certainly created a buzz, but some people may have been put off by the possible association with drunkenness that, when seen in light of a rising number of DUIs during this important weekend, may not be so funny.

    Here’s what actually happened.  During the early part of the Super Bowl game, JC Penney’s account tweeted:

    “Who kkmew theis was ghiong tob e a baweball ghamle. #lowsscorinh 5_0,” the department store said via Twitter. “Toughdown Seadawks!! Is sSeattle going toa runaway wit h this???”

    Some people assumed that the account had been hacked.  Others, who were not as kind in their assessment, thought perhaps an employee in charge of social media had a bit too much cheer before sitting down to type in the tweet.  This did not stop other companies from jumping on the “I’m drunk and I can’t tweet right” bandwagon, however:

    “We know football goes great with Coors Light, but please tweet responsibly” said @CoorsLight

    “Hey @jcpenney need a designated driver?” from @Kia.

    “Eat a #SNICKERS, you’re not you when you’re hungry,” from @Snickers.

    Clearly, the game was on, and others were taking advantage of poor old JC Penney’s drunken ramblings.  It is possible that a few jokes were made about the rumored bankruptcy of the company as well as its possible connection to allowing drunken interns to have control of the Twitter feed.

    Imagine everyone’s surprise when Penney’s tweeted back triumphantly:

    “Oops…Sorry for the typos. We were #TweetingWithMittens. Wasn’t it supposed to be colder? Enjoy the game! #GoTeamUSA.”

    Ha, indeed.  Even if you completely disagree with the play on the possibility of someone drunk-texting, you have to admit that this was a brilliantly planned campaign.

    Of course, Penney’s has its detractors now.  Some of those reading the tweet were offended by its possible reference to someone drunk, especially groups that try to highlight the dangers of drinking rather than glamorize or humorize them.  Others scoffed at the idea, saying that if that were the case, every dumb tweet would be put down to “tweeting with mittens.”

    Whether you agree with Penney’s content or not, this tempest in the Twitter teapot does go to show one thing:  You simply cannot avoid creating a stir with the right social media use!


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  5. 10 Trends for the Social Retailer

    December 27, 2013 by Blair Stover

    Blair StoverChanges in your business tactics, strategies and business models may be on the verge. Blair Stover brings to your attention changes occurring in the face of retail.  First off, people are desiring purpose beyond profits. The youth of today are expecting corporations to not only generate raw profits, but to serve a greater purpose.

    Also, sharing has become a new business model over consumption. Services are emerging that allow people to rent, borrow, get and gift goods from peers rather than buying them new.

    New opportunities are enabled by local neighborhoods. New business models are taking the popup stores to a new level. Physical goods are ‘forward deployed’ in communities to be obtained on demand. In addition to this, on-demand delivery is sending products directly to homes. Products are being delivered to homes within hours with delivery network models. Local merchants are able to compete with Amazon.

    Customized products are affecting supply chains. With 3D printing increasing in popularity, retailers will be experimenting in using this new technology along with online services. Also, marketplace models are extending their brand further than core value propositions, extending to the social morals of makers around them.

    Brand and customer relationships take a turn. We are all familiar with the empowerment of the customer to rate companies and products. Now, companies are prompting their customers to encourage good service in exchange for positive behavior. Another trend up and coming is alternative currency bringing new transaction opportunities. Decentralized currency platforms have emerged.

    Crowd funding is done by big brands, not because the brand needs to do it, but because it offers the highest form of shared destiny and loyalty. Through crowd funding, a brand can identify product demand and allow prepayment. Along with this, crowd-created products bring endless innovation. People are able to produce their own goods through the Maker Movement. They can then offer their goods to their community at online marketplaces.


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  6. 4 Pinterest Tools You Need

    December 9, 2013 by Blair Stover

    Since its creation, Pinterest has risen in the ranks to become one of the best tools for social media marketing. With numerous businesses turning to Pinterest and finding success, this social site should not be left out when creating your own digital marketing plan

    Blair StoverAs Blair Stover states below, there are certain ways to make your site/Pinterest profile more efficient in your marketing efforts. Take a look at four tools to help you make the most of your Pinterest:

    1. Inject traffic to your website. In each of the photos or info-graphics you use, you should never let your customers miss the opportunity to click a link that can inject traffic to your site. So, with ease and speed from different photos, this social network can be a very interesting way to drive traffic to your website. An important option is to add a “Pin It” selection to your website itself.
    2. Organize your site by subject and select bright colors. Organizing your website separating each screen by subject and then ensuring each is easily understandable is important. Complete the process by adding photos, videos or more representative info-graphics. You can expand things by adding related or unrelated articles about your field, as well. This makes your site easy to Pin, and easy to Pin from.
    3. Humanize your content. Companies and individuals have similar, if not identical, profiles. Take advantage of this! Pinterest, gives you a good opportunity to humanize whatever brand you are marketing, even if it already has a somewhat human appearance.
    4. Use analysis tools. Recently, Pinterest announced the inclusion of an analysis tool that provides large amounts of data. This data allows users to make the measurements necessary for the development or adjustment of business strategies.

    Pinterest is one of the most profoundly technical visual sites that can be found on the net. If you are looking to expand your business by sharing images as well as ideas, feelings, opinions, etc, this is the platform to use.


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  7. What Hummingbird Means For You

    November 25, 2013 by Blair Stover

    If you have not heard of Hummingbird, let Blair Stover introduce you to this important update. This latest Google algorithm change means that content is an unequivocally critical portion of your strategy in order to remain visible and in business. Hummingbird has taken over where updates Panda and Penguin left off.

    English: Google Logo officially released on Ma...

    English: Google Logo officially released on May 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    We know that Panda made content important. You need to realize that Hummingbird makes content completely crucial. Not just any content will do, either. Hummingbird demands the right content in order for you to be visible on Google search results.

    Learning the way consumers search is what Google continually adapts toward. This enables Google to deliver the most relevantly organic results. With consumers becoming more intellectual about the way that they search and also using their smartphones, there are some things that your business must do to survive. Having a mobile-optimized website allows you visibility on mobile devices. If you do not already have this in place, it is suggested that you adopt a responsive design right now.

    Be the answer to your consumers’ questions. When searching, consumers do not type in “ hot chocolate”. Instead they type a question, “Where is the best hot chocolate in Seattle?” or “How to make the best hot chocolate.” Answer the questions that people are asking.

    Remember that results appear on smartphones based on location. This means that even though your business may have a global reach, it will present on a smartphone based on location. Be certain to have a fully developed profile on Google+, and be sure that your business has a listing on Google.

    With Hummingbird, the face of digital marketing continues to change. Be sure you keep up with the trends otherwise you may find your website, and search engine ranking, lagging behind.

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  8. How to Build Links Manually

    November 15, 2013 by Blair Stover

    Link building manually is still the way to go for most people. Many will find that automated link building leads to problems, like low quality links and issues with Google later on. By doing the links yourself, you are opening up the possibility of gaining residual links from viewers who look at the content and notice how popular it is becoming. Blair Stover has some great tips on how you can build your links manually and, in the process, become a very successful link builder.

    Automatic versus Manual in Quantity

    Guides always seem to discount the overall idea of link building, especially when it comes to building link after link. They never seem to reveal why, though. The truth behind this is because SEO is constantly changing and Google doesn’t want to take your link numbers into account. However, if you have an overwhelming amount, they will surely start an investigation into your account.

    Build Connections

    Using social media connections to start networking with other users is very important for business. Just because you submit links to a lot of various websites doesn’t mean you will actually hit high-quality links. Link building this way will make you end up with a low strike rate. The industry is about who you know.

    Content is King

    You may have heard this term thrown around numerous times and there is a reason for it – it’s the truth. Quality is a very important part of the writing process. Link building revolves around the content, not the other way around. You will never find a website that has a high PR that also has poor content.

    There are other simple tips, but these should help you get started on your way to building links the right way.


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  9. 5 Ways Google+ Communities Are Your Best Friend

    October 25, 2013 by Blair Stover

    English: Google+ wordmark

    English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Most professionals and companies are already familiar with social media marketing. But there are some who still do not know what the best use Google Plus is when it comes to marketing purposes.

    Google Plus, like any other marketing outlet, isn’t for everyone. But for many it’s a way to help with not only SEO efforts but create a genuine and engaging online presence as well. Here are some suggestions on how Google Plus can help increase the number of marketing benefits, provided by Blair Stover.

    1. Engage with active users (professionals). Google Plus has a balanced mix between influential people and those who are just eager to learn. Many users have their own blogs, websites or brands with pages on Google Plus. By using Google Plus, you can find people who are active in your area and influence them to share their content. A company should try to get more involved with these types of users.
    2. Create new communities. If you cannot find a community on Google Plus that is related to your interests, you can always start your own. The creation of a new community is extremely simple. Influence authorship and invite people in your community to post.
    3. Use Google hashtags. By using these, you can actually call out specific people within posts.
    4. Engagement and responses appear on your newsfeed. Organizing your circles based on the news you want to see is a huge time saving feature.
    5. Recommended Communities Feature. This is the best feature for marketing professionals. Any type of content can be found on the Google Plus public community feature.

    Google Plus was never seen as a threat to Facebook (at first). Now, the tables have turned because of new tools and features that make this social media site rapidly gaining in the social media world. Are you on Google Plus already?


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  10. Pinterest: How You Should Be Using It

    October 11, 2013 by Blair Stover

    English: Red Pinterest logo

    English: Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Pinterest is looking to show companies that it actually pays to use its site. By using “promoted” pins, a business can generate revenue and still be considered transparent, relevant and tasteful. If you and your company need a refresher course on how to use Pinterest, this is the chance to get it. Keep reading to see why Blair Stover thinks your business should care about using this particular social media site.

    The obvious reason is because Pinterest has proven its overall ability to convert browsers and drive traffic. The site is responsible for 40% of e-commerce traffic, which is double that of Facebook. The reasoning behind this could be due to the fact that is produces high quality, visualized content that sells.

    Is it possible for a non-visual business to rethink its strategy? Absolutely. It has to do so by getting creative. Pinning photos of special events, or things being performed at the office, fun off-site activities and even special speakers can make a business stand out above its peers. A financial business, for example, could pin tips or inspiration quotes and visual infographics pertaining to the industry.

    No matter the company you have, the photos you pin should be bright, interesting and colorful – all of which are items people want to share. Pinterest’s fan base rewards businesses that are authentic and they have a tendency to abandon those that look promotional. Compelling, attractive imagery will get re-pinned over the images that look more like ads.

    Is your business using Pinterest? If so, how, and if not, why not?


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