How NOT to use Facebook to Promote Your Business

imagesWe have helped quite a few independent businesses get started with solid Online Internet Marketing methods and advice. We recognize how social media usage, search engine optimization and online marketing can be just as difficult and off-topic from their core knowledge as Quickbooks and Accounting practices.

Even with this understanding, I’m a little surprised to be pointing out the obvious of how NOT to use your Facebook page to win business and influence friends in 2013.

But, apparently its worth reminding business owners that social networks are the front store that most potential customers will see before ever walking in your door.

Don’t give people an excuse to walk past your storefront…but definitely don’t give them an excuse to throw mud and trash on it either.

Need an example? Annie Colbert at Mashable has just posted this article that summarizes a recent Facebook meltdown by Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro.

 

Are you Kevin Bacon Close to your Customers?

Are you Chuck Norris Bacon Close to Your Clients?

Chuck Norris Bacon Number

Google just added a new search option, called the Bacon Number. Adding Bacon Number to an Actor or Celebrity name will calculate and display the other actors that have mutually worked with Kevin Bacon or your provided actor in the same movie. Or worked with an Actor that later worked with one of them. For each actor that is needed to link the original actor to Kevin, that counts as one degree of separation.

This fun little actor trivia game is based on Six degrees of separation, a concept that refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. It was originally set out by Frigyes Karinthy and popularized by a play written by John Guare.

So, now that you have Google’s help, see if you can find an Actor with a Bacon Number greater than 3. You’ll likely be amazed how small, or tight, the “Hollywood” industry appears when viewed from a “How Connected Are They” search tool.

Unfortunately, your industry doesn’t have a Bacon Number Tool, but it is almost certainly as connected. You are probably no more than 3 degrees, and no further than six degrees, away from every client or potential client. And they are that close to each other as well.

This close connectivity within an industry, or a community, is what makes social networking so effective for businesses, even small ones. Ask your next new customer how they found out about you. If it’s a person, thank them on your Facebook page and Twitter.

Google SPYW: Is Rome Burning?

As discussed earlier, Google has begun blending and promoting their Google+ social network skewed results in their traditionally neutral search results, and doing so by default.

This favoritism and skewing of results is garnering tons of negative opinion pieces and articles around the web, such as this excellent overview on VentureBeat.com. It is quite easy for anyone to perform a search using Google and see how results favor Google+ pages and personalities over the much more relevant and frequently used pages or accounts using Twitter and Facebook.

We understand Google’s belief that they must somehow recreate and utilize a similar human network of web indexers such as their potential competitors seem to have achieved using Facebook ‘likes’ or Re-tweets. However, they do seem to be betting the farm with this decision.

It must be really tough making these kind of decisions in a company and industry that didn’t even exist more than a decade ago, give or take a few years. There aren’t any examples or historic events that they can consider when faced with these choices.

Or are there? Why are Search professionals so up in arms about this decision? Shouldn’t Google promote their own properties? Shouldn’t all companies and industries do so?

Turns out, these examples do exist and have been tested time and time again in their very own industry. Because Google is in the Advertising and Publication industry, the same as Sports Illustrated or Style or the New York Times. The content of search results are the articles and Adwords or Adsense are their Ads. Pure and simple.

And this decision? It’s the same one any Publication has faced and turned away from, or likely didn’t survive. Editors and Publishers both understand that the content must bring the consumers and the Ads will follow. When Publications begin promoting their Advertisers as news, it seldom works for long. Content consumers quickly deduce paid infomercials, whether obviously stated or not.

So, Google is breaking the oldest Publication law in the books: Editorial favoritism toward advertisers over unbiased or more relevant information. A huge no-no. Will they succeed and survive? Only time will tell.

Yelp sued for online reviews

I just noticed a news item on TechCrunch.com that mentions Yelp is being taken to court over their online review & ‘pay to remove’ practice.

On this previous blog post, I mentioned how Yelp, and other online reviews, can be a real challenge for small business owners trying to keep up with all the information overload and online ‘sites’ they have to monitor.

I’ll keep an eye on this case, as many in my part of the industry will do I’m sure, and let my readers know the outcome (though I’m sure it will be several years).

But does Yelp Love us?

But does Yelp Love Us if We Don't Pay?

News Corp’s Murdock says WSJ and The Times may block Google Search bots

I’m not comfortable with the continued demise of newspapers. I feel most folks don’t understand the real loss of paid local journalists and local classifieds. Granted, CraigsList seems to be replacing many local classifieds, but we’re not getting the by-product benefit of local articles about very small community events and issues, written by people in the community…and some nice “sale” ads of interest scattered around it.

I’d like to see an electronic version of local papers somehow survive…I’m betting on Steve Jobs and the much rumored Apple Tablet. (I’m hoping he’s pitched to these papers a similar digital store concept as he did to music labels for iTunes+iPod.)

So, am I a fan of serious content producers charging fees for content? Yes! Required subscription to a site? No!

I’d prefer to use a micro-payment method from Paypal or Google Checkout…where I’m charged a penny or three for various content that I’ve just requested. I like to consume my news and information on an RSS reader on my iPhone while waiting for something…anything really.      🙂

So, I was disappointed to see this statement from News Corp Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch:

Rupert Murdoch says he will remove stories from Google’s search index as a way to encourage people to pay for content online.

Murdoch Evangelises to Content Producers

Murdoch Speaks to Content Producers

He has been evangelizing about the value of content to the entire Internet Ecosystem…and he’s right. We all turn to the Internet, mostly via Web browsers, to find content that has been published…whether it is a recent product for sale or a great “How to” article. Content IS King! And I really, really want newspapers and other traditional media outlets to figure out ways to monetize and profit from this new digital distribution and consumption model. So…I applaud an easy, transparent, fast and inexpensive way for me to pay for content I care about. I LOVE that iTunes makes it easy to purchase music that I could find myself for free…but the price equals the convenience, so I pay.

But…I rarely seek out articles or content, rather I subscribe to various news feeds and blogs that fall in my personal interest ‘radar’. And as I consume a blog or product announcement, I find “other related articles” and referenced content that I would never have found that way. MOST of my NYTimes or WSJournal articles I have read in the past year were ‘discovered’ this way.

So, here I am all ready to pay for their content. So, I just need to find something that interests me enough to buy it (even for a penny). It would also help if someone I “trust”, such as a weekly blogger I follow, thinks it is a great article. But Murdock thinks he needs to block Google from finding it on his content sites? That makes NO sense to me at all. If the articles aren’t easily found, they won’t be analyzed, commented, supported and trounced by the masses. So, I likely won’t ever hear of the original article, so I won’t try to access (and PAY!) for it, either.

Yes, I applaud the unknown and upcoming change where content producers end up in the driver’s seat. However, I don’t think it will succeed without ease of finding it. With thousands and thousands of webpages published daily, I believe search engines will continue to play a critical role, be it computer driven or human driven (ala, facebook networks or twitter tweets). I don’t see how blocking search bots will help any client monetize their web content going forward.