Today I discovered my website traffic has quadrupled since December 2014 — and soared to the top 1.5 million US websites according to Alexa. (The prior rank was in the top 3 million).
The number of leads coming in per day are overwhelming me now — and are from business in the US as well as China, Russia, Israel and France. My Klout rating is now 69 — in the top 1% of all bloggers who write about social media.
How did this happen?
You know the saying: “The shoemaker’s children go barefoot?” I actually started using the Internet marketing techniques I get paid to do for clients to promote my own business.
First — I looked at my competition and analyzed the content marketing and websites of the top 50 Internet consultants listed on the “Forbes 50” list and tried to figure out what was working and not working for them, then copied it. (More about this in a future blog post.)
1. Redesigned my website with a state of the art mobile-first responsive template.
2. Chose a unique color palette for my personal brand. (Plum/Peach/Black.)
3. Changed my photo to a recent, digital photo with currently stylish clothing (a gray/black dress) and got rid of the old, black and white photo that was obviously taken pre-digital with a film camera.
4. Added client lists and work samples to my website.
5. Rewrote the first page as a “Pain Letter” writing directly to my potential client and stating how I can solve their problem. (No visibility on the Internet.)
6. Added logos of the clients I’ve worked with in the past on the right hand side of the page.
7. Added a “Contact Me” with a form to send an email.
8. Used a scheduling app so clients can schedule a 15 minute trial consultation.
1. Ramped up social media posts to 10-20/day on Twitter by using Buffer to time the posts 24/hrs. day. (It now takes only 1 hr/day to do my own social media.)
2. Got mentioned in a few articles as a social media expert. (Adds credibility.)
3. Started regular posting on Google + – the Google search engine likes Google + and these posts boost your rank
4. Created several new pages in listings and directories that built links back to my website
5. Put my URL on press releases on PR Web. This is huge. It drives tons of traffic back to your page.
6. Rewrote the first page of my website so it is loaded with key words clients are searching for. (Social media and PR consultant in Silicon Valley and San Francisco.)
7. Blogged 1 x/ week
8. Set up content syndication from my blog to Twitter, G+, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
9. Blogged on LinkedIn Pulse — creating more than 2,500 followers for my Pulse blog.
10. Built pages on About.me, Eolio and other sites that point back to my URL.
11. Tweeting about the “trending topics of the day” using #hashtags.
12. Changed my photo to one that looks directly at the reader instead of off to the right.
13. Choose a new color palette for my “personal brand” that no other consultant has. (Deep plum/peach/black.)
Can I do this for your business? Yes. And if I can’t do it for myself, why would you hire me?
Did you know that business loses $38 biliion per year because employees can’t remember their passwords? The average employee types passwords 4,000 times per year. For a social media pro with multiple clients, this must be tens of thousands of times per year.
And if there is a #1 thing that slows down social marketing and wastes time and money these days it’s having 10 different cryptic passwords and 8 different obtuse email addresses for all your social media accounts! Especially when you have 6 social media pages and 10 people who need to be admins.
I’ve been doing social media for 7 years professionally and only once was a client’s Fan page hacked.
But 98% can’t remember their passwords!
Your poor marketing employees and social media folks have to log in and log out all day long using these obtuse passwords with multiple characters and symbols. So I recommend that you keep your passwords simple — even if that’s not the “secure” IT-sanctioned way. People need to continually use these passwords all day long. It’s adding an extra layer of confusion and complexity if they are complex.
According to eWeek, a survey of consumer users in 2014 revealed that companies lose more than $420 of productivity annually per employee due to workers merely wasting time with passwords.
For a company with 500 employees, the loss is equivalent to nearly $210,000 per year in productivity.
Your business social media content is 100% public and you want it to be as public as possible — so why are you worried about it staying private?
Who is going to hack into your Twitter account? Everything you do in Twitter is completely transparent and public anyway.
In the rare chance you get hacked, you will be able to change your password a lot faster if someone on your team can #$%^&*( remember it!
Keep it simple. Please.
99% of the CEOs and solopreneurs I work with also cannot find their log in emails and passwords and this can slow things down for days or weeks. I have one client who kept me waiting 4 weeks for the passwords while the meter was running!
One client never got started on her social media campaign and gave up because she couldn’t find her login and passwords.
Another could not remember where her website domain was created so we never got around to actually transferring a website I built over to her URL.
I have seen businesses scrap all their SEO and valuable fan base because they can’t remember their #$%^ log in and passwords!
The worst thing that happens is when the former social media manager gets fired and refuses to hand the login and passwords over and nobody knows them because only one person had access to this information. This can literally bring your business to its knees for a few days. And this happens a whole lot more than hacking.
If you are just starting out, this might not seem important, but someday in the future, when you get as big as you dream of growing, it will be.
And you won’t grow as fast as you want to if you can’t remember your logins and passwords.
TIPS FOR ORGANIZING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS
Create a shared Google Document or spreadsheet for storing the accounts, emails and passwords.
Invite all the members of the team in who will need access to these accounts.
Then create one company email address specifically for all of your social media pages. (Not the email of an employee who might leave).
I recommend one password for all your social accounts.
Change all of the passwords on a regular basis, as employees, agencies or consultants turn over.
Name every social media page the exact same name (preferably the actual name of your company, film, book or product) and reserve the URL for it. (Example: http://www.facebook.com/mycompany.)
Before you even name your business, book, film, band or product, check Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, WordPress, Domain.com and Instagram and make sure your name is actually available on all of these pages. It can be embarrassing if it’s not.
Don’t use a Yahoo or Gmail as your one email address — it needs to be http://www.yourcompany.com because some social media tools will only let you use a business email to establish your account.
When an employee leaves, or you stop using an agency, please remember to change the passwords and remove the admins. (I am still an admin on about 23 pages for projects I no longer work for, including clients who died and companies that no longer exist but still leave their Fan page up.)
I was talking to a client the other day who wanted more visibility. They had a hideously long URL for their company website.
I rolled my eyes. I immediately knew they were doomed to failure unless they changed their name.
I asked: “Is there any way you can find a shorter url?”
My prospective client hemmed and hawed about how attached he was to his ridiculously long company name.
There’s a reason why Google and Yahoo succeeded — and a host of other earlier search engine contenders like NorthernLights and AltaVista bombed.
There’s a reason why YouTube won the video wars and early contenders like, “uh, um, uh, whats their name, I forgot” failed.
Because YouTube is a freakin’ awesome brand. It says what it does. It has attitude. It’s memorable. You can spell it. It rhymes with things. It’s unique. It works in other languages and other cultures.
When I named my business, I spent an entire rainy day on Go Daddy typing things in at random until I found “Visibility Shift.”
Even though it’s not short, it’s memorable, it says exactly what it is.
And it’s relevant to my consulting practice, which is about shifting your visibility to a new level. I was absolutely floored when I discovered such a great website name was even available — and for $7.99.
Here are 10 reasons you want to take time to find a truly memorable stand out URL:
It’s easier to type a short, memorable name – a long or unmemorable or hard to spell url just discourages people
It’s memorable – (One word is best. Two words are ok. Three is just too much. Say it out loud. Can you pronounce it?)
Searchability (SEO) – A name that isn’t unique is going to bring up millions of search results in Google. You want a unique URL so you are the first and only hit in Google, without having to pay $$$$ to Google for adwords.
International localization – remember the web is global and your name has to translate easily into other languages — so it’s better if it’s not a word in any language. Run your name past some friends who speak other languages and some translation software and make sure it doesn’t translate into something embarrassing. (The Chevy Nova flopped in Mexico because “No Va” means “Won’t Run.”) Say it out loud again. Does it sound like something obscene in Chinese?
Put less words on your site, more pictures. Especially remember that the web is international and words need to be translated. So the fewer words, the more universal your message is. Learn from the success of big brands like Apple and Google who take a less is more approach.
It doesn’t have to be a .com — You can be successful with a .us, .tv, etc. For example, Delicio.us. And that’s even shorter.
Groupon is successful in large part because their name rocks. “Group + coupon.” Brilliant. Memorable. Unique. Short. Tells you what it is.
Get your name first before you spend time and money branding it. Changing your name later is very costly and it means you are undoing all the work you did on public relations, marketing and social media outreach. (Did you know that AirBnB was originally called “Airbed and Breakfast”? Seriously! The airbed rental idea flopped so they shortened it.)
VCs look at your brand and name as a big reason to invest. A great logo, web design, business card, brand and name are almost as important as the product or technology behind the brand.
Think about web branding when you name your products — and your kids, too. I’m grateful that my mother, very ahead of her time, gave me a name that is so unique that I go to the top of Google. Check that name out in Facebook, Twitter and Google and make sure it’s available. (The reverse applies if you want to protect your privacy — then John Doe is the way to go.) Consider adding a unique middle name to your name that describes what you do so you stand out. (ie: David “Avocado” Wolfe is a speaker in the health food field.)
This advice applies to any personal or corporate brand — a musician, band, artist, writer, book title or film. Choose your name carefully and snap up the URL as soon as you can, even if you end up sitting on it for years before you get your project started.
For more information about naming, visit Name Wire a blog about naming.
This month, something incredible and unexpected happened. My traffic on the social media site, Pinterest, suddenly surged to 5,616 visits per DAY. (43,000 per month.)
At this rate, more than 2 million people could visit my Pinterest page this year.
Compare this to Twitter, where I obsessively tweet 20 times a day to get maybe a few retweets or this blog, which takes all year to reach 20,000 readers.
How did this happen?
What’s really strange is, I didn’t plan on becoming a Pinterest rock star. Pinterest is just a hobby, something I do for fun. But my Pinterest page has taken on a life of its own — pollinating pins throughout the Internet.
The Pinterest statistics (available because I created a Business account) tell me that most of my viewers are women, West Coast American, Canadian and Aussies, and that they, no surprise, are interested in exactly the same things that I adore — bohemian fashion, DIY found object crafts, rustic gardens, sacred interiors, the outdoors, flea market finds, vintage trailers, hammocks in the trees, outdoor music festivals, healthy food.
It’s a look and aesthetic that is distinctly me — and somehow citizens of Pinterest have decided I’m some sort of low rent Boho Martha and they like my style.
And clients tell me: “Meh….Pinterest is a waste of time for our brand.”
Just look at the statistics and growth on my page:
Pinterest does something that no other (free) marketing tool has ever done. It sends your “pin” like a little document, all over the planet — like a seed blowing in the wind. And everywhere it goes, this pin points back to your website. Where you are driving traffic to your webpage. Forever.
Pinterest users’ average purchase value is 126% more than Facebook users.
47% of US online shoppers made a purchase based on recommendations from Pinterest, beating FaceBook & Twitter.
Pinterest is the 2nd largest driver of social media traffic after Facebook.
Pinterest is the marketing and search engine traffic-driving (SEO) bargain of the century. And yet so few brands (except the really big consumer food brands) are taking it seriously yet. Again, look at the traffic statistics for just one month:
I have only 1700 followers on Pinterest, but those pinners can reach 2,000,000 people/year.
But wait this is what is truly amazing, and what most people do not “get” about Pinterest yet — those people don’t even need to be on Pinterest. My pins could land on Twitter, in a blog, Facebook, Instagram, another website, an email — who knows. Pins, unlike Facebook, G+, Twitter or LinkedIn posts, are incredibly viral.
Pinterest is even more viral than other forms of social media posting because they are not tied to Pinterest — each and every one of those “seeds” it sends out, in the form of a pin, will link back to your website — forever — no matter how often it is repinned or where it lands. While you can technically do this by sharing or embedding a Tweet or a YouTube video, it is just much more sharable and easier to do with Pinterest.
ARE YOU GETTING THIS YET? This is like, you can reach as many people with a Pinterest page than the entire circulation of the Los Angeles Times. More people than a Superbowl ad on TV.
And you still think Pinterest is “just for housewives in the Midwest posting recipes?”
Contact Giselle Bisson if you’re interested in learning how you can leverage Pinterest to help your start up start up, build your personal brand or drive more traffic to your website.
Old style SEO (search engine optimization) is about tricks, hacks and keywords. Your overpriced SEO geek may even convince you to pay him big bucks to put a big, ugly chunk of “geek speak” text written for the Search Engine (not human beings) on the first page of your website “for SEO purposes.”
Instead, the big opportunity to be discovered is by creating the most appealing, juicy, word-filled content possible and syndicating that yourself throughout the Internet via social media. Hire a professional writer and a social media pro and create compelling content if you want to drive traffic. (Not an SEO guru.)
Fire your SEO guy, and reallocate those resources to producing and syndicating more content that will drive free organic traffic to your website. (Now if your SEO person does most of the things below already, you should keep them. But I have a hunch they are still mostly doing the old-school tricks, metatags and hacks method.)
Here are 9 ways social search is the new SEO:
1. Answer the question in your headline. I know this is brain dead obvious, but you need to think like a search engine when you write every post, tweet and headline. What are people searching for? Ask the question in your headline. Answer the question in your content. (How can I get better organic SEO tips? How can I get more organic website traffic? How can I drive organic traffic to my site?) There. Done. Did it. Now send these headlines out into cyberspace from your social pages.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is totally unnecessary if you build your website on a blogging platform like WordPress that incorporates keywords, tags and lots of “social sharing” features. This is the dirty little secret that the whole SEO industry kind of dances around.
3. SEO, or paid advertising, is doing absolutely nothing to build your visibility on social networks. SEO is no longer relevant once you start doing Social Media because your profile on Twitter and your tweets automatically get the same search rank as Twitter! That’s right — you can drive more traffic to your website with a Tweet than you’ll get from an article in the New York Times. See this example when I Google myself — note that the New York Times article that quotes me is buried deep in the string. The first 10 results are all social media pages. (Social media has even better Google rank than my own website.)
4. SEO on your website is nowhere near as effective as a key-word filled, search-engine friendly press release that drives traffic to your website. Press releases go straight into Google News and Yahoo News, can easily be picked up by 50,000 blogs and feeds, and you can also distribute them on your social networks. It’s like having thousands of messengers in cyberspace sending people over to your website.
5. The best kept secret that that SEO guy doesn’t want you to know is that you’re probably paying him to drive traffic to your dead, static, dated website instead of starting from scratch with a social media optimized blog. I know it’s scary and expensive to leave your 1990s static website behind and get with it. After all, it’s your baby. You have tens of thousands of dollars and hours invested in it. But your 90s website is not only invisible — it’s dated, like an old kitchen that screams “Avocado and Harvest Gold,” like shoulder pads on a suit, like a wide necktie. A 2014 WordPress site looks like this one — it can adjust to desktop screens, tablets and smartphones. The other thing about using a blog as the center of your content wheel is that WordPress has great content syndication features that will automatically syndicate every post to all of your social media pages.
6. All that SEO you overpaid for will disappear when you remove your old site and update to a 2015 responsive template. However, links to Twitter, news coverage, blogs, press coverage and Press Releases will last forever in Google. As long as you don’t change your URL, those pieces of content drive traffic to your website as long as those networks stay on the Internet.
7. SEO is about words. More words = more chances you will be found by Google. By putting those words out on press releases, articles, blogs, Tweets, Pins and multiple social media pages (not just one place, your website) you’re exponentially increasing the chances that Google will find you. Even more if that stuff gets shared.
8. Google likes relevant, timely, fresh content. Nothing is more timely than social media posts like Tweets and G+ updates, or your own blog posts. Stale website content from your 1999 website is not very interesting to Google. (Or your customers.)
9. Google likes (surprise!) Google products such as G+ and YouTube. Nothing impresses Google’s search bots like using one of Google’s products. This is the only reason to have at least a token channel on YouTube and a G+ page where you post at least 1 time per day. Note that most of the top 10 hits when you Google me are G+ posts.
Today, to drive organic traffic to your website (without paying for links or ads) you need:
– An updated site that contains a blog, preferably a WordPress template
– An excellent writer (hire a journalist, not some cheap person on Fiverr who can’t write in English) to produce regular, juicy, keyword-rich, interesting and topical posts. (Bonus points if they capitalize on the trending topics of the day.)
– A social media consultant (to get more posts out there into the social sites and distribute your blog content to drive traffic back to your website.)
– A PR consultant – to send out more press releases that drive traffic to your site, and get you press coverage which will drive up your search ranks and generate the permanent, high-quality links back to your site that Alexa and Google love.
With the rise of Social Sharing we’ve entered a new era of digital media: personalized discovery. The balance of power is shifting: Many web managers and publishers are seeing more audience coming from Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter, Reddit and other social sharing sites than from Google search.
Social signals are the new page rank — become a “trending topic of the day,” or comment on the trends of the day, and you will see your traffic soar.
People will discover you and find you through your content, your networks and your conversations.
When I was in art school, my teacher, Mr. Nick used to constantly say: “Simple says more.” That stuck with me my whole life, and it’s my marketing mantra.
I’m constantly reminding my clients to simplify their message and branding and think small.
Now with the new Apple Watch and other smartwatches, social media marketers will need to shrink their messages ever simpler, bolder and smaller. We’re entering the world of the Dick Tracy two-way communicator and our messages will become both tinier — but they will also more aural, sensory and ubiquitous.
The time is now to prepare for wrist-top always-on marketing and Zen your brand so it’s wearable and portable.
1. Your website needs to adjust for multiple screen sizes. (Get rid of that old template and move over right away to a scalable, responsive template that can shrink and expand while keeping the fonts legible and readable.)
2. Scroll vs click. One long scroll is much easier to navigate on a small screen than a site that demands lots of clicks.
3. Can you touch me, can you read me? When the icons shrink down, your customer still needs to be able to touch them. Can they even see the words?
4. From poster to postage stamp. Your event poster needs to be readable on a smartphone–and you need both print and online versions. Get rid of all the small type and create bold, simple graphics.
5. Can your logo shrinky dink? Your logo must pop and stand out when it’s shrunk down to a tiny icon. Redesign and simplify right away.
6. Are you an icon? Your portrait photo should still be recognizable when it’s a 1 x 1 centimeter icon. (Think iconic — a consistent photo, consistent hair color and style and a consistent and memorable personal brand.)
7. Abolish serif fonts! Your content should have large, sans serif, bold type that’s easy to read when you shrink it to a cellphone screen.
8. Write in soundbites. Your Facebook posts should be Twitter sized — or even smaller.
9. Don’t annoy people with beeps and music. With notification messaging instantly available on a user’s wrist, they will see them far more often. Marketers need to be cautious about annoying the user with beeps and blips or especially websites with annoying music.
But what do we do when it all shrinks down to the postage stamp-sized screen of a smart watch in 2015? Now is the time to prepare for the ever shrinking, ever mobile world that your message will be seen in. No longer on a desk in a business setting — but possibly anytime, anywhere.
This week, a controversial Gallup poll declared that social media was all but useless, and that nobody was influenced by social media ads and it was all a bunch of hooey.
I was immediately suspicious that results from the Gallup survey were skewed by the print and TV media. Mainstream media are late to the social game and totally threatened by the amazing reach of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube — now reaching millions and even hundreds of millions–numbers that vastly exceed print media.
They’re also probably very threatened by Facebook advertising, which is much cheaper than print/broadcast, and reaches that oh so desirable Millennial demographic that doesn’t read or watch TV anymore.
Since I live in Facebook stats all day long, I know the truth — one post can reach more people than an article in the New York Times. Sure, Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner are no doubt losing sleep over that.
Facebook ads, and Yelp, also, can be targeted with laser-like focus on extremely niche local demographics — something print media can’t do quite as well because print is either niche and national or broad and local . Print media and TV are rarely niche and local.
Internet radio still does a lousy job of targeting its ads to any meaningful niche. Local radio still thrives because it’s both targeted and local.
I’ve been doing PR (press relations) since the days when we used fax machines and FedEx — before the Internet existed. Back then, print media was king. Getting an article that reached 100,000 readers in a national print magazine was a big deal. I think some people are still attached to the “prestige” of Print but do not realize that they can actually reach bigger numbers with social media, with far more control over their message.
Print is still very valuable — but now more because it drives traffic to your website and gives you SEO rank in Google.
In the good old days, it was an even bigger deal to end up in a big newspaper like the New York Times and reach 1 million readers. If you got on TV you might (woo hoo) reach an aggregate of 2 million people through multiple TV news stories and a video news release after spending $250,000 on a press conference and a product launch.
Times have changed. Now you can reach just as many people in a few minutes with a single Facebook post or self syndicated blog post — or half a billion with a You Tube video.
PR IS DEAD — LONG LIVE SOCIAL MEDIA?
I’ve been saying “PR is dead, long live Social PR” for a few years now. I was a little ahead of the curve. I was also sitting around listening to the phone not ring from PR clients, and watching stories not appear in publications that were disappearing, so I was ahead of the curve and got into social media.
Now it’s clear that shift has happened.
Social media is not optional anymore. If you’re not leveraging social media to amplify your message, it’s as if you don’t exist.
Social media is now the front line of most successful marketing programs. Social media is where you distribute your message first — and later it’s picked up by the news media.
(The exception is if you are a publicly-traded company. If so, then SEC regulations require that you announce news on the newswire first, and your key media are pre-briefed under a non disclosure agreement.)
Traditional PR is still very important, but it serves a different role now–in tandem with social media. After your story appears in the news media, they use their larger networks to “syndicate” your message to their networks. You then in turn amplify the message further by syndicating their content on your networks.
Articles and reviews in mainstream media also provide credibility and great content for your website and social media to leverage, and they will boost your search rank (SEO) in Google forever.
WITH SOCIAL MEDIA, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN NEWS
Social media is the “information hub” of your marketing wheel — and your personal social networks at the “hub” that links to other social networks and communities worldwide. The press and publications are some of those networks–but no longer the primary one.
In the old days, you sent press releases to actual members of the press for distribution. Newswires were only available to the press.
Nowadays, you are the press and you syndicate your news over social media, in addition to the press. A press release on the wire now reaches everyone on the planet at once.
Here’s an example of the reach a press release typically gets now on the Internet. As days go by, this number increases, infinitely, and many of these impressions remain on the web forever. A press release mentioning a company traded on NYSE or NASDAQ would get much more impressions — this was what I got for a small business — 32,000 in two days. This doesn’t include the amplification from self syndicating this story on the client’s social networks. It would be difficult for a small business to get out the word that fast with traditional media.
SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTS COMMUNITIES GLOBALLY
Here’s another example of that from the Unify.org campaign that illustrates how the Unify Facebook fan page links to other Fan pages and organizations, creating huge amplification for each post. (A single Unify post is often shared more than 5,000 times, reaching literally millions of people worldwide with no advertising.) Even with Facebook’s new restrictions, by utilizing this kind of networking, you can spread your message very rapidly and globally.
This strategy helped build Unify.org into one of the largest communities on Facebook. I helped write the initial strategic social media plan for Unify and was part of the core group of social media experts that helped ramp the page up. This is now one of the most viral social media communities on the planet.
As you can see in the screen shot above, it’s very possible to reach 1 million people with a single post if it’s shared, tagged and amplified with well targeted paid Facebook “boosting.”