Monthly Archives

July 2011

How To Set Up and Use Your Facebook Page’s News Feed

By | Social Media | No Comments

Photo: Smart dog can use his Facebook Page's News Feed - Confluence Digital blog

Many businesses today know that getting a Facebook Page is one of the first steps to get on the social media train.  Admins regularly post content and monitor for fan comments but there is one tool that sometimes gets missed, and that is the Facebook Page’s News Feed.  Just like the News Feed on your Facebook profile where you get your friends’ updates, you can set one up for your Facebook Page to stay in touch and engage with your industry, customers or clients. 

Step 1

First you need to make sure that you are using Facebook as your business’ Page.  Click on the “Account” tab and then in the sub-menu click on “Use Facebook as Page”.

Step 2

In the Use Facebook as Page pop-up window, find the page that you want to use “Facebook as” and then click on the “Switch” button (if you click on the name, it’s just going to send you to the page without making the switch). 

Step 3

One way you can check if the switch was made successfully is by going back to the “Account” tab and see if your Page’s avatar shows up in the top of the sub-menu with the option to switch back to your personal profile below. 

Step 4

OK, now that you’re using Facebook as a Page, if you click on the “Home” tab you will have access to your Page’s News Feed.  This News Feed will include posts from other Pages that you have Liked on Facebook using Facebook as a Page. The News Feed is a great tool to keep in touch and engage with other Pages on Facebook that matter to you and your business.  If you don’t see anything in the News Feed it is probably because you haven’t Liked other Pages on Facebook (yet). Also note that when you Like another page using Facebook as Page, their Like counter will not increase because the counter only tracks Likes by Facebook profiles (individuals).  However, the Page Admin will still get a notification that you have Liked their Page and if they may Like your Page in return. 

Enjoy!

Now that you know how to take advantage of your Facebook Page’s News Feed, go on and start Liking (subscribing) to your industry’s favorite Pages on Facebook.   

Photo Credit: kevinmiller

Contact us if you you are looking for advice on the effectiveness of your digital strategy. We’re happy to answer questions about SEO, paid search, web analytics, social media or any other digital channel.

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Immigration Reform: Pro vs Anti. Who’s Winning Online?

By | Content Marketing, Social Media | 2 Comments

Photo: NY Statue of Liberty - Confluence Digital blogAs Immigration Reform continues to be one of the hottest political debates, I decided to do a comparison of the online efforts between the top organizations from each side of the debate.  Considering that 85% of all searches start online with a query in Google or another search engine I picked the contenders based on their ranking when searching for “immigration reform” which led me to the following organizations: Reform Immigration for America (Pro-) and FAIR (Anti-).

Immigration reform in search engine results

FAIR, an organization well known for its opposition to the Obama administration’s agenda for immigration reform, currently dominates the search engines for the term “immigration reform” placing 1st against its competitor Reform Immigration for America (RI4A), a pro-migrant umbrella organization placing 5th for the term respectively. The graph below shows how FAIR’s site receives more traffic than RI4A’s site.  Top results on Google get 36.4% of clicks so that means that many Americans looking to educate themselves on the topic will potentially end up on FAIR’s site first.

 

Graph: Reform Immigration for America (RI4A) vs FAIR in search - Confluence Digital blog

 

Immigration reform in social media

Both organizations have a Facebook page set up with RI4A’s page leading with 49,246 subscribers against FAIR’s page with 29,162.  Both accounts seem to be fairly active at keeping their members engaged. 

On Twitter RI4A’s account also leads with 3,598 followers, against FAIR’s account with 3,193 followers.  However FAIR is leading on keeping more accounts to react to their tweets (RTs, mentions, and replies) measured by influence metrics through Klout in which RI4A has 51 points against FAIR with 52 points.

So who’s winning online?

As the digital battle continues to push different agendas for Immigration Reform, both organizations are taking advantage of the web to organize their members through online petitions to pass or stop new legislation or to garner support for new programs as soon as they are introduced.  It is very clear that both organizations have invested resources in the “online” space.

RI4A seems to be doing better at organizing on social than the anti’s.  However as far as generating and catching traffic, FAIR leads as the first source of information when searching for immigration reform.  Taking in consideration that both are already doing a great job at organizing their current members, FAIR wins for capturing undecided voters or new traffic from those who are looking to learn more about the topic. 

Contact us if you you are looking for advice on the effectiveness of your digital strategy. We’re happy to answer questions about SEO, paid search, web analytics, social media or any other digital channel.

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First Impressions of Google+

By | SEO, Social Media | No Comments

Alonso Chehade on Google +

I usually start my day here at Confluence looking at my feeds to keep up with the Digital Marketing industry and lately Google+ has been the buzz of the web.  Everybody is is talking about it, evaluating it and comparing it to Facebook (of course) and I just couldn’t resist joining the conversation. I have been checking out the new social platform for about a week now so I thought I’d share my thoughts and some soundbytes from influencers in our space.

Google+ a Significant Threat to Twitter

Peter Yard at the Web Trends Blog is the one who touched on this idea that Google+ could mean the end of Twitter.  Catching up with Facebook and its 750 million users would not be as feasible as with Twitter and its 21 million publishers.  This makes sense as even though Google+ looks a lot like Facebook, it has decided to follow the public path directly competing with Twitter as anyone can choose to add you to their circles on Google+ just like anyone can choose to follow you on Twitter without their approval unlike a Facebook  friend request which requires a reciprocal action.

Abandoning Facebook for Google+ 

Todd Wasserman wrote at Mashable about how some people are completely moving away from Facebook.  Some because they never really were able to use it to keep in touch with friends, or because their feeds became unmanageable.  (I wondered how much time they really spent on Facebook that they never found out that you can hide posts from individual users from your home feed to better keep in touch with close friends and family, and keep the feed more manageable.)

Hide all by _ on Facebook

Finally Filtered Sharing

In a conversation on Google+ with a friend of mine, she explained that her favorite Google+ feature was the ability to share some things with some people, but not all people thanks to Google+’s Circles feature.  Yes, I agree that it is a great feature, but how hard is it really for Facebook to replicate/add filtered sharing to their platform? After all Facebook already has Friends’ Lists, which are a lot like Google+ Circles.

Filtered Sharing on Google +

My Early Review

I have been reading more about Google+ than I have been using it since I got my account only a couple of days ago.  So far I haven’t seen anything that would make me want to switch from Facebook to Google+ but maybe I will end up using both only because of the added SEO benefit that Google+ may have over Facebook (integration with Google Analytics is surely just around the corner).  Now about Twitter, Google+ still has to deal with the fact that they are a late comer and that people have been spending years of time as well as money on building their following base on Twitter, and giving that up will take more than a better, cleaner platform.  My final thought is that I see Google+ for now like I see VIMEO vs. YouTube,  YouTube is still my preferred video broadcasting platform but I sometimes will push video content on VIMEO too as a secondary channel.

Missing anything? Let me know in the comments section and let’s continue adding to this exciting developing conversation.  One thing is for sure, more competition means better social networking coming soon!

Can You Really Become an Internet Marketing Expert in 8 Weeks?

By | Analytics, Content Marketing, PPC, SEO | No Comments

Photo: youngest member of Confluence Digital team at workIf you saw an ad that said “take our super-duper online course and become a financial expert in 8 weeks!” would you believe it to be possible? But more importantly, would you feel comfortable handing over your investment portfolio to a grad of the program to manage? No? Well, me neither. I don’t believe it is possible to achieve expertise at anything in 8 weeks. OK, maybe with the exception of Angry Birds. I think it’s possible to become an expert at playing Angry Birds in 8 weeks.

Why do I bring this up?

Well, that’s because I’ve been marketed to on Facebook with ads like this one:

Image: 8 weeks to expert SEM - Confluence Digital blog

And I see similarities here. Much like a financial advisor helps you manage your investment portfolio, a digital marketing professional helps you manage your digital portfolio. An expert SEM professional will advise a business on media spend management and recommend how your digital footprint (consisting of SEO, PPC, Social Media and other outreach tactics) should be balanced and optimized. The goal here is to maximize the return on your marketing dollars (ROMI) and realize your online revenue potential. You hire an SEM expert is to help manage your digital portfolio because you expect than an expert will know how to manage your portfolio better than you could do it yourself. And you expect the expert to be able to navigate the uncertain and ever-changing online environment so you don’t have to figure out on your own what the heck does the introduction of Google +1, Google+ or Google Analytics 5 mean for your business.  And there’s plenty to be gained or lost in real dollars when you do not manage your digital strategy well.

This post will be part rant, part manifesto and a great opportunity to explain what, in my opinion, makes someone and expert vs. skilled at using the tools (that I believe can be done in 8 weeks).

What makes an expert… expert?

Image: Collins English Dictionary definition of expert - Confluence Digital blog
On occasion – rarely – we get asked a question that goes something like this: “How are you better from my college student nephew who dabbles in SEO and has configured my Google local listing?” It’s hard not to get a bit frustrated when we are asked this question, since to us the answer is obvious.

For the record, yes, I believe it is possible to learn the best practices for tagging and on page optimization in 8 weeks (SEO). Yes, I believe it’s possible to learn how to set things up and use the tools in AdWords or ad Center, start a Facebook page or fire up a Twitter account in 8 weeks.  And I believe it’s possible to configure one’s local business listing without expert help. In fact, we offer a free Executive Brief on this very subject that you can download here. But even the most talented graduate of the best 8 week SEM program in the world will not be an expert at the moment of graduation. Expertise in our space comes with time and experience and with being exposed to many different business models, goals, challenges, markets and – yes – occasional crises. And lest someone suggest I’m being ageist, I’m not knocking youth here at all. We are always interested in attracting ambitious, talented young people who want to dig in and learn and grow and ask questions that need asking. In fact, we have a history of hiring young talent. But talent, potential and ambition do not equal “expert”.

Marketers complain that agencies are weak on strategy

A great majority of managers nowadays, however, want their SEM expert to be a business strategist at heart or at least understand the right questions to ask to develop and apply the right digital solution for their business, not any business. We know that because according to a study in March by RSW/US: The “2011 New Business Report: A Client’s Look Ahead at Agencies,” 44% of marketers said they were completely satisfied with their primary agency. Of the unhappy majority, the primary reason for the discontent was that their current agency was weak on strategy.

Chart: Why marketers unhappy with agencies RWS/US - Confluence Digital blog

You can download the full report in PDF here. I recommend you do. It’s illuminating. And it provides some great ideas for what to look for in a digital agency if you’re thinking of hiring one yourself.

Tooting our expert horn

Our agency was founded with the intention of offering custom digital strategy solutions to our clients. And that’s exactly what we do. We don’t practice “spaghetti digital marketing” (that’s when you toss a bunch of sexy tactics against the wall and see what sticks) and we don’t cut corners when developing a program for a client.  We follow a rigorous process that has been developed through years of practice and business experience. We apply a maturity model approach when evaluating the soundness of a client’s digital strategy. We want to understand where the client is at and what goals they are hoping to accomplish through the digital channel. And – as we often are – we’re called in to fix an ailing program; we always start out by evaluating the “whole patient” rather than applying a Band Aid solution. We then develop a solution to address the client’s unique situation. Yes, there are best practices and “generic” lessons that can be shared and applied across many companies and markets, and when appropriate we do that, but the specific solution we come up with for any given client will always be unique.  We do have the advantage of experience on our side. We have evaluated a large number of companies, firms and organizations over many years to build our… wait for it… expertise. So yes, we can call ourselves experts.

Let’s now ask a grad of the “8 weeks to expert” SEM course how many unique digital strategy programs they have worked on since taking the class. Somehow I don’t think it would be more than a couple. So they most likely have some skills and a ton of potential. But an expert they are not.

 

Contact us if you you are looking for a true digital marketing expert or to ask us about SEO, paid search, web analytics, social media or any other digital channel. We’re always happy to answer questions.

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Top 3 Presentations from the Online Marketing Summit

By | Content Marketing, SEO | No Comments

Image: Online Marketing Summit logo - Confluence Digital blog

Last week I attended the Online Marketing Summit here in Seattle. It was a great opportunity to meet and connect with others who share my passion for digital marketing. I enjoyed the event. Afterwards I was asked what my key takeaways were. There was a lot of material covered, so instead I thought I’d share my top 3 favorite presentations from the conference. I’ve selected them based on how they were delivered and how applicable I think they will be to my work. So, now the moment you’ve all (OK, the 3 people who have asked me) been waiting for… Here they are.

(1) Creative Thinking and Effective Linking by Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz (@randfish)

This was by far my favorite presentation because not only was Rand’s content something that I could take away with me and start implementing, but his presentation was more like a show.  There is nothing better than laughing and learning at the same time and Rand got the A+ of the day. Some of the people at the event could not believe how shameless I was to show up like a groupie to get a picture with him at the end of his presentation. Yes. Really. See the evidence for yourself. Well what can I say; I am not afraid of letting people know that they rock at what they do.

Photo: Alonso Chehade and Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz at OMS - Confluence Digital blog

My top takeaways from Rand’s presentation were:

  • Stop getting links, Start earning them
  • If the value of your content is only good enough then inbound marketing is not for you
  • To produce decent content (well researched, thoughtful, useful) you need to spend at least 5-6 hours on it
  • Drawar.com – A gallery for finding awesome web designs for inspiration
  • You must become a hub for great content in your niche
  • Followerwonk.com – Awesome tool for Twitter research

You can find Rand’s presentation here.

(2) How to Convert More Visitors to Customers by Matt Dombrow, Master of Clickability, Clixo (@mattdombrow)

I thought Matt’s presentation was very useful in the sense of getting us thinking of ways to cut some fat our from the content to generate more conversions by having easy to read, unique and consistent content.

My takeaways from Matt’s presentation were:

  •  Make your text skimmable and scannable for more conversions
  • Attract them first, keep them engage, and then ask them to act
  • How do you think something sells VS How does it actually does
  • Remember to think of the value to the customer when asking them subscribe to something
(3) Using the Data You Have to Drive Marketing ROI across all Channels by Thad Kahlow, CEO, BusinessOnline (@tkahlow)

Thad did a great job at explaining how important it is to rock (yes, rock) across all marketing channels because of how they integrate to create a cohesive digital strategy. Now, at Confluence Digital we talk integration all the time, so this was an easy to agree with idea. Thad’s presentation was both informative and entertaining. He used animation making it really easy to follow what he was explaining. This was great considering the breath of the material he covered.

My key takeaway from Thad’s presentation was:

  • MatthewIChase.com – Great example on how to use free social media tools, so if you’re short on budget and can’t get Radian 6 then you should definitely check this blog out

During the breaks I had so much energy that talking to other attendees wasn’t enough so I also interviewed several of them and saved the moment to share with all of you. Enjoy!

Check out my last video upload @ YouTube.com/confluencedigital

Contact us if you want to chat about SEO, paid search, web analytics or have questions about any other aspect of your digital strategy. We’re always happy to answer questions.

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