Most viewed, discussed and favourited video on Youtube

Posted on August 13, 2009. Filed under: Others, Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Jill Peterson and Kevin Heinz decided that they wanted something new and refreshing for their wedding and so they decided to spice up the wedding entrance. With Chris Brown’s Forever in the background, bridesmaids and groom’s men danced their way into church and into the hearts of all who watched it.

Read how the holders to the rights of the song monetized the video, here.

Business and marketing aside, how did you find the video?

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Using Social Media for Reputation Management

Posted on July 15, 2009. Filed under: Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , |

As potential customers, business partners, and employers begin to use the Internet as a research and background check tool, your reputation in the search engines is becoming increasingly more important. For most of my clients I recommend taking a preemptive or proactive stance, and securing one or more listings on the first page for the company or their personal name, before there is a problem. However if there are already one or more unfavorable listings, there are still steps you can take to correct the problem, here is my basic plan for using social media reputation management.

Secure Your Domain: If you don’t already own, you should try to purchase YourName.com. If the domain is already owned by someone else see if you can make an offer to purchase it. This is generally best done through a third-party as the price goes up if the person you’re buying it from knows it’s your own use. If you are unable to purchase a domain yourself or from a third party, try adding your middle name or middle initial to the .com. As a last resort you can purchase a .net or .org domain. A.biz, .info, or .name domain should generally be avoided, as they are often associated with less reputable or lower quality websites.

Secure Your Profiles: Set up a profile on the most popular, frequently used, or industry related social media, or social bookmarking websites as possible. Most of these profiles will allow you to insert a link back to your website, if they do link them back to your domain name. If you’re working with a company name, resist the temptation to use keywords in your profile name (i.e. CheapTravelDeals). You should also associate as many of the profiles as possible to each other. Additionally try to use the same or similar image or avatar on his many of the profiles as possible. Some of the key sites include: Flickr,YouTube, MySpace, Twitter, Delicious, Blogger, WordPress, Digg, Mixx, Twitter, and StumbleUpon.

Use Your Profiles: Once you’ve established your profiles, and interlinked them as much as possible, you need to fill them with content. In most cases this content should be noncommercial, and non-self interested. Try to insert, link to, or submit informational or encyclopedic information or links. The goal is to make the profiles as useful to the community, and not yourself as possible. You should also try to make as many friends as possible on each of the services, as many of them interlink friends, allowing you to take advantage of any internal links and anchor text. You should also make an effort to keep the profiles alive, and looking as “lived in”as possible. Establish profiles with a longer history often carry more weight, and many systems delete inactive profiles.
Build Links to Your Profiles: In order for your profiles to rank there going to be links with the proper anchor text. Use any of your existing websites and link to your profiles with the correct anchor text. Again resist the temptation to use keyword rich anchor text (i.e. DiscountFloridaHotels).

Guest Articles and Blog Posts: Once you have set up links from your own websites to your social media profiles, you should start using other sites to build links as well. Guest articles or posts on other blogs or websites are the next step. Insert links in the main body or Bio section for each article. You should link to no more than one or two of your profiles, preferably the ones that relate to in some way to the article. If you can write articles or posts that are informative, resourceful, or otherwise noteworthy you will be rewarded. These posts or articles will gain links and give you links from important sub pages, which will transfer to your social media profiles.

Article Syndication Websites: While the importance of article syndication websites has diminished in recent years they are still a powerful tool. This is one of the few exceptions where you can be slightly more self-promotional. If possible try to insert your name or company name in the title of the article. Then link to this article from your website, using the desired anchor text. You can also insert a link to one of your social media profiles. A secondary strategy involves looking for websites that use your syndicated articles. Set up a Google alert unique phrases in your article, if you see they are being used by a quality website, reach out to the site owner and offer them a unique article.

Images: Using photo or image websites as part of social media campaign is key, especially as universal search comes into play. Try to keep as many unflattering images out of your profiles or your friends profiles as possible. While they may be behind a password protected or approved Friend websites like Facebook, all it takes is one “friend” to make a screen shot and the pictures are in the wild.

Local and Map Listings: If you are doing reputation management for your business and you have a physical address, map listings can help you secure another spot. Be sure to claim your business in Google Local Business Center and follow any local search optimization techniques.

Videos: Create interview or instructional style videos and upload them to video sites such as YouTube. Be sure to insert your name or your company name in the title of the video, and link to it using the appropriate anchor text from any of the methods mentioned above. Additionally be on the lookout at conferences or other news events for people who create and upload videos. Inquire about the possibility of giving a video interview. Inquire if it’s possible to put your name in the title of the video.

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5 Tips to Generate more Leads

Posted on July 13, 2009. Filed under: SEO | Tags: , , , |

So you’ve started to get respectable numbers of potential customers visiting your website as a result of your search engine positioning strategy. But are you converting them into valuable sales leads for your business? If you are getting less than a handful of sales leads through your website a day, then the answer is no. You are not doing enough to convert browsers into buyers. You are not even converting them into interested prospects, instead, they are leaving your site as they arrived – simply browsing.

  1. Only have one link
    Remember that the difference between where a sales lead is won and lost lies in the “landing page”. The landing page is the first place visitors land within your website, after they have entered a particular search term into a search engine. To turn a browser into a sales lead, you need to collect some sort of information (e.g., email address, name, phone number) from them. To encourage people to enter their information, you must make sure you are not distracting them with multiple links. Particularly make sure there are no hotlinks next to the ‘submit’ button. The moment you starting adding links other than the one on the ‘submit’ button, you are driving traffic away from your lead form. And that traffic is unlikely to return.
  2. Provide powerful, readable arguments
    The copy or text on the landing page should be persuasive and readable. That means you should have 3-5 paragraphs about the key benefits of your product, in at least 9 point size font. Do not assume that just because someone has landed on your site after doing a search they will automatically give you their details. You will need to convince that browser, through your landing page copy, that you are the best amongst your competitors.
  3. Make sure your entire registration form is above the fold
    Don’t make your browsers scroll down to get to the registration form on your landing page. Previous studies have shown, they just won’t do it. By making sure your entire registration form is in the immediately- viewable, top half of your landing page, you are maximising your changes of gaining a sales lead from every visitor to that page.
  4. No need to recite the Privacy Act on the landing page
    You should never forget to mention your company’s privacy policy on any page where you are collecting customer information. However, by putting a link on the page to your privacy policy, you again risk losing people through hotlink overload. The best way to overcome this problem is simply to state your privacy policy in 1-2 sentences. For example, you can simply state that any information collected will not be released to third parties. In doing so, you are assuring people of your company’s commitment to privacy, while not detracting from the main purpose of the landing page.
  5. Give them the option to call you!
    Your number of sales leads will always increase when you give customers multiple ways to contact you. Once browsers have reached your landing page, there will always be a proportion who prefer to phone you to find out more information about your products or services. By providing these people with an easy-to-find contact phone number on your landing page, you are again minimising the risk of losing them. Ideally, the phone number should be in very large, bright font at the top and bottom of the page.

These are just a small number of ways to turn your browsers into buyers.

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Article Marketing to Promote Your Business

Posted on July 7, 2009. Filed under: Others | Tags: , |

Picture yourself at the ball game cracking through a bag of dry roasted peanuts. You’re on your second handful when that familiar red and white logo pops up on the big screen advertising an ice-cold Coca-Cola. You immediately track down the next vendor with a basket of ice-cold drinks. This is called “pin point marketing.” It is the process of delivering an appropriate message at the right time that produces actual results.

In contrast, let’s say you are enjoying those same peanuts when an advertisement for Toyota Trucks pops up on the same screen. It’s a nice ad, but not nearly as effective. This is an example of “interruptive marketing.” It is not truly targeted because it is not what you are actively looking for at that moment.

What does this scenario have to do with your business? Well, rather than wasting valuable marketing dollars on billboards, 30-second television ads or radio commercials (all examples of “interruptive marketing”) focus your energy on putting your product in front of potential customers while they are looking for it. Unlike when people watch TV or listen to the radio, Internet users are actively looking for a solution to a problem. If you can place your product in their path at the right time, you’ve made a customer. The most cost-effective way to achieve this is by combining your marketing message with important content that users are already actively seeking out.

Start by submitting “how-to” or “industry news” type articles to relevant Web sites in your industry. Unique Web content is important to all size companies. And, buying custom content is expensive and time consuming. As a result most companies are willing to trade a free plug for your Web site or company for an informative, well-written article.

Every article you submit should enhance your company’s position as an expert or industry leader, while providing valuable information at the same time. Content written around your company or product also helps your business gain credibility, which is extremely important for small businesses.  When a potential customer reads your article, you have already established yourself as an expert in that field. By the time the customer clicks over to your Web site or gives you a call, you have a very hot lead.

Perhaps you own a local painting business. Your target customers are most likely looking for home improvement information online, so you could exchange stories and “how to” advice with local carpenters or electricians. Or take it a step further and submit your “expert painting advice” to popular home improvement and real estate Web sites. You can swap content with anyone in your industry that is not a direct competitor. By doing so, you’ll open your company up to a wider audience while building up your credibility.

Also, think about what type of person will be using the Web site you select to post your article. For example, studies show that a mother of two who needs a quick dinner recipe will do a quick search, and then print out the page. So animated banners ads or even a link to your Web site may not be the most effective way to get her attention. On the other hand, adding a clip out coupon to the article would be very effective.

In traditional media, one positive sentence in editorial is worth much more than two paid advertisements. The same is true on the Internet. Getting a free link or product mention on another Web site is an extremely valuable way to gain high quality leads. Combine that free link or product mention with a well-written article and you’ll turn that product mention into a sale.

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What is a Blog?

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: Web 2.0 | Tags: , , |

I met some clients in HK and realized some of them do not know what a blog is. Pretty shocking but I don’t blame them for that. Just in case you’re one of them, this video will be a great introduction for you.

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Reasons To Retweet – 3 Great Benefits of Retweeting

Posted on July 5, 2009. Filed under: Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , , |

1. Retweeting Gives Something Valuable to Followers
Twitter users have different reasons for following you. One of those reasons could be that your tweets are of great value to them. When you retweet informative and interesting posts, you are automatically providing something valuable to your followers, who obviously share your tastes and preferences. When you give something valuable to your followers, they are going to remain loyal to you. You might also attract more followers.

On Twitter, there are 2 great ways to provide something of value to followers.

  • Create a blog post and tweet a link to it.
  • Retweet links to valuable content posted by other Twitter users.

2. Retweeting Benefits Personal Brands
Retweeting is a very effective method of promoting personal brands and winning followers’ loyalty. If you retweet valuable posts, your followers will trust you more than ever. They will then click the links to your products simply because they trust you to provide something of value to them.

3. Retweeting Creates a Bond with Original Posters
If you retweet others’ posts, they will respond by retweeting your posts. Retweeting is actually an act of kindness, and bloggers love repaying such acts of kindness. However, refrain from retweeting simply because you want the favor to be returned. The primary purpose of retweeting is to share valuable content with your followers. Besides, Twitter users don’t just retweet posts. Someone will retweet your link only if you provide top-quality content that is of great use to them.

Does retweeting drive your followers away? Many people are worried that it would. Actually, no such thing will happen. Nobody will unfollow you simply because you retweet someone else’s posts. You might get blocked if you show yourself to be a spammer. However, nobody will stop following your tweets or visiting your blog just because you point out some good content to them. You must remember that readers are kind-hearted and intelligent people.

Retweeting enhances your Twitter experience. At the same time, ineffective retweeting can wreck your traffic and brand reputation. If you retweet in the proper manner, you will succeed in driving more traffic to your websites/blogs and getting connected with other content creators and bloggers in your niche.

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Google AdWords

Posted on July 4, 2009. Filed under: SEM | Tags: , , , |

In marketing there is no substitute for effective, targeted advertising. For example, if you want to sell beach towels, you need to go where there is a need and desire for those towels. You won’t find beach towel retailers lined up anywhere but along coastal communities and resorts. Likewise if you want to sell your beach towels online, you need to display your advertising where beach towel consumers can find it. And that is where Google AdWords comes in.

There are more than a few ways to find highly targeted advertising online. Continuing the example of beach towels, you can start your own beach towel website and perform enough SEO that you’re ranking highly in the search engines. This generates natural traffic from effective marketing, but can take time.

In your search for other customers, you can create banners and other advertisements for use on other websites. These banners might be used by affiliates marketing your products and bringing you their beach towel customers for a percentage of the final sale. You might also use the banners and advertisements on other beach product websites. You might find another website selling sand toys or swimsuits and buy some ad space for your beach towel website.

AdWords is Easier
But if you want to take an easy route to more customers while you wait for your other marketing strategies to take full effect, you can use Google AdWords. In AdWords, you will be buying a short advertisement on the right side of search result screen on Google. Your website ad will appear beside the natural search results that appear when a searcher types in “beach towels” or any other keyword you’ve targeted through your advertising campaign. You can select as many keywords as you like, and you only pay when a lead clicks through your ad to your website.

Playing the AdWords Number Game

The trick with AdWords, as with any pay-per-click advertising, is finding the perfect mesh between the amount of money you spend and the amount you make. You must bid on your ad position on the search results page. If “beach towels” is a popular keyword, you might be paying dollars per click through for a top position while “handmade beach towel” might only cost pennies for the top position. The difference is the amount of traffic your ad generates and how many people are bidding on that keyword.

You pay only pennies for the top position for the keywords “handmade beach towel,” but you may get only a handful of clicks. Those clicks are likely to be very interested leads as there are so few people in the market for handmade beach towels. Likewise there are relatively few handmade beach towel marketers, so this results in true niche advertising. This high level of interest from such a limited number means that it is likely you’ll make a sale from those few clicks. Since you spent only pennies, your profit margin will be extremely high.

On the other hand, if you pay big bucks to be first for the more vague “beach towels,” you will likely get lots of traffic to your site. But since “beach towels” is more generic than “handmade beach towels” you’ll also be seeing a lot of people click away without a purchase. Since you pay for each visitor to your site, you could actually lose money on that particular ad campaign if enough people click away without buying. But ad campaigns are a true number game. You might very well generate enough sales to more than cover your costs of generic keywords – only a test and analysis will show for sure.

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Benefit & Risk of a Business Blog

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , , |

Company blogs are long passed the early adopter stage of their lifecycle. But does that mean all (or even most) businesses should have a blog by now? Should your business have a blog?

Blogging has several benefits to businesses in a marketing and PR capacity, from direct sales conversions to visibility and exposure within your industry. However, it isn’t right for every business. To determine whether or not business blogging is right for you, you’ll need to evaluate those benefits along with some of the risks.

Benefits of Business Blogging
Business blogs can do a lot to help your business–to help you build an audience, grow your company, increase revenues, and more. Here are some of the specific benefits of launching a blog for your small business:

  • You can offer company news directly to your customers, readers, subscribers, etc.
  • You can provide customer support.
  • You can receive customer feedback (free market research).
  • You can network with colleagues, potential customers, and others in your niche or industry.
  • You can sell products (or services).
  • You can earn advertising revenue.
  • You can build brand awareness.
  • You can position yourself as an authority source of information.

Risks of Business Blogging
Business blogs can certainly do a lot of good for your business, but there are also risks. If you’re careless with a company blog, you can damage your professional reputation and even lose business. Here are some of the risk factors of business blogging:

  • You can damage your company’s credibility if false or misleading information is published in haste.
  • You can face legal consequences if posts are libelous or infringing on others’ rights (another risk from the ease of publishing without strict editorial control).
  • You can turn customers against your brand if you don’t handle two-way communication effectively (such as deleting constructive criticism or becoming rude with customers through your comments).
  • You can lose further credibility if you use a blog solely for SEO and not to actually educate, inform, entertain, or have conversations with your audience (publishing constant links with the same anchor text, posting keyword-stuffed garbage or content that’s practically illegible, etc.).
  • You can hurt your overall productivity if executives spend too much time blogging and being engaged in other social media outlets while losing some focus on the larger objectives of the company (they can be a time drain).

How to Decide if Business Blogging is Right for You
For many companies, the benefits of a business blog outweigh the risks. Whether or not that applies to your company is up to you and your staff. One of the most important considerations before jumping into business or corporate blogging is whether or not you have anyone in the company capable of carrying it out.

Blogging isn’t a one-off project. It’s a commitment. More than that, it’s a responsibility. If you don’t have dedicated staff or contractors who can keep the blog updated regularly and be present to answer reader questions and respond to comments then your business probably isn’t quite ready for blogging yet. But if you do, kick off your business blogging the right way–through proper planning, just as you would any other aspect of your business. Every blog won’t offer every benefit. Decide what your blogging goals and motivations are, and work out a plan of attack before making that first post. That’s the best way to get the most out of blogging while minimizing the risks.

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7 Ways to Optimize Your YouTube Tags

Posted on July 3, 2009. Filed under: Web 2.0 | Tags: , , , |

1. Make sure your tags are relevant to your content.Seems obvious but this takes some thought to get into the minds of users similar to keyword discovery.
2. The more tags the merrier. I see no penalty for using all your available tag space.
3. Spread your tags out among your clips. Adding more tags can help snag some tail.
4. Use adjectives. Remember lots of folks are browsing and they’ll use adjectives to find what they are in the mood to view.
5. Have some category descriptor tags. It’s important to remember YouTube’s default search settings are Videos, Relevance and All Categories.
6. Match your title and description with your most important tags. Basic SEM practice applies here as well.
7. Don’t use natural language phrases and waste tag space on words like “and” or “to.”

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SocialVibe Fund Raising & Marketing

Posted on July 1, 2009. Filed under: Others, Web 2.0 | Tags: , |

SocialVibe.com is a social media website, that – even though it’s still in its beta testing phase – has already attracted thousands of visitors. In a nutshell: this site uses advertising dollars to donate to causes on their site.

Users sign up for a free account, select their favorite cause to support, then select a sponsor (Apple, Sprint, NBA, Billabong and other big names) whose ‘badge’ (or ad) they add to their profile pages on SocialVibes.com and on other social sites like MySpace.com and FaceBook.com. It is also now available for WordPress users. (See the badge on the right 🙂

The great thing about the site is, that no one is ever asked to donate money to a cause. They’re simply asked to put a sponsor’s advertising ‘badge’ on their profile pages. Points are earned from views/impressions of these badges: the more views or impressions, the more points are earned. The user can then turn the points into donation dollars for their favorite cause. Users can also form networks with others and track how their own points add up.

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