Archive for January, 2010

Using Twitter for Business Research

January 28, 2010 1 comment

I’m currently working on a client project to promote an author contest that runs until the end of March.

One of the suggestions I made was to use Twitter as a way to build awareness since the contest is open to anybody who has a published book they want to promote.

After doing keyword research, I set up some auto-follows in TwitJump and did a couple searches on Twitter.

The two biggest reasons I performed these searches was for business research.  I wanted to know –

1.  Who are the big Tweeters in this market vertical…

2.  Are there any industry specific hashtags I should be using in the tweets.

Just a couple searches for my highest traffic, relevant keywords gave me all the answers I needed.  I can now start following some of the relevant people that are connected to these big Tweeters.  I can also email or @reply to them with news of my clients contest and their press release.

Additionally, I know which hashtags are going to carry more weight and relevance to my tweets so I can be sure to add them for maximum effectiveness.

Note to self – do this for all your clients!


The Direct Message Dilemma

January 23, 2010 1 comment

For those of you that don’t know, there are three ways to communicate on Twitter –

  • the broadcast tweet everyone can see
  • the @ tweet everyone can see, but is directed at a particular person
  • the direct message or DM.

The honest truth is there are a lot of spammers on Twitter, but they’re pretty easy to manage by creating lists or unfollowing.  Direct messages on the other hand are a real dilemma.  I’m using a service to autofollow people based on targeted keywords.  That means I’m building a list of people to follow in hopes they will follow me back.  If they don’t within a certain period of time, my software automatically unfollows.

The dilemma is during the follow, I get sent a direct message and it pops up in my email.  Every single autofollow that has sent a direct message has been automatically generated or spammy.  People who use Twitter ignore direct messages.  I send them straight to the trash.

How can a marketer use direct messaging effectively if nobody reads them?  I don’t think they can.  So should we ignore this useful piece of technology?  Perhaps.

I know I don’t have a direct message set up.  I have seen a few interesting ones.  My favorite was the one that admitted it was a bot, but invited me to connect on Facebook.  I didn’t, but I still thought it was a good idea.

Matt Singley has a suggestion for Twitter, allow a separate controller for direct messages so a user can turn it off without unfollowing.

Please give your users the ability to turn direct messages on and off globally, and when on, give us the ability to select who can and cannot send us direct messages. I want to be able to follow people without them having the ability to send direct messages to me.

What do you think about direct messaging on Twitter.  Have you found an effective way to use it?  Do you know about it?  Do you read them?  Let me know in the comments.

Did Social Media Lose Ted Kennedy’s Senate Seat?

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

The big news in politics yesterday was the contest for Ted Kennedy’s vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.  Kennedy held the seat for a number of decades, but the race turned out to be quite tight in the ordinarily “blue” state.

On Monday, the Huffington Post suggested it could come down to effective use of social media.

So it’s fascinating to watch Martha Coakley’s campaign for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts basically ignore new media in favor of the old playbooks that elected Ted Kennedy to the seat.

Of course there is much more to the race: Politics and platforms and personal connections are important. But didn’t Obama for America teach us that the Web has the power to push a candidate over the top? Obama also showed the importance of young people (whose communications of choice is digital).

Much like I did the other day, the author credits Barack Obama’s win in 2008 to effective use of technology; particularly Internet based technology.  He went forward with some social media numbers;

As I compare the morning before election day, @MarthaCoakley has 3,520 Twitter followers compared to @ScottBrownMA with 10,214 followers. Coakley counts 14,487 Facebook fans to Brown’s 76,700 fans. Advantage Brown by more than three to one.

Brown didn’t win the election with a three to one margin, but he did win.  Now both sides are trying to figure out why.

Brown won 52 percent to 47 percent. Turnout was exceptional for a special election in January: More voters showed up at the polls Tuesday than in any non-presidential general election in Massachusetts since 1990.

The Huffington Post credits Brown’s social media campaign and points out Coakley pretty well ignored the opportunity.

How do college students communicate? Facebook and SMS of course! Yet these two forms of communications played absolutely no formal part in the rally. The brochure that was handed out had no web addresses or social media sites. At the rally, Coakley fans were asked to vote. They were asked to volunteer at phone banks. They were asked to talk to neighbors and friends.

But were the many college students in the crowd told to talk up the Coakley campaign on Facebook, the college student communications tool of choice? No. Were people at the rally asked to tweet? No. Were they asked to join Coakley’s fan page? No.

The Coakley campaign is underestimating the importance of social media and the new rules of marketing and PR.

That strategy looks like a blueprint for political social media campaigns.  Ask and you shall receive.

This is a valuable lesson moving forward for political campaigns of all stripes.  In Utah, Democrats are seeking to unseat a non-elected Republican governor and gain the statehouse for the first time in 30 years.  If social media is any barometer, Peter Coroon’s vibrant Facebook page is out polling Herbert’s ghost town of a page 2,368 to 219.  One of these candidates “gets” social media.  One doesn’t.  Guess who I think will win in November, despite the perceived odds?  If Massachusetts can elect a Republican to replace Ted Kennedy, a Democrat leading the state of Utah isn’t farfetched.

The rhetoric is heating up on both sides after Tuesday’s loss in Massachusetts.  In an email sent out today to Democrats, Mitch Stewart wrote,

Yesterday’s disappointing election results show deep discontent with the pace of change. I know the OFA community and the President share that frustration.

We also saw what we knew to be true all along: Any change worth making is hard and will be fought at every turn. While it doesn’t take away the sting of this loss, there is no road to real change without setbacks along the way.

On the other side, Republicans are crediting the win to voter discontent with the new Presidential administration and the healthcare debate.  I submit, it’s the effective communication of issues and platforms to voters and TV ads and robo-calls are not the way to do it any more.  Advertising is advertising whether you’re a small business, big business or political business.  If the old way of advertising is failing for businesses, it’s going to fail for you too.

People are fearful of change.  They don’t like change.  In today’s advertising world, change is social media.  Don’t be afraid of social media, embrace it.  They say Google is your friend.  I say Facebook and Twitter are too.

Utah SEO Presentation – Article Marketing

January 20, 2010 2 comments

Business networking after hours

January 19, 2010 3 comments

Article Marketing Class

January 17, 2010 1 comment

I’ll be teaching a class on article marketing this Tuesday at BetaLoft in downtown Salt Lake at 2 pm.  It’s free to attend, but space is limited.  If you’re interested, please RSVP on or Facebook.

Here’s what you can expect to learn:

The “what,” “why” and “how” of article marketing.

Topics covered include:

How to title articles for maximum impact.
Which article submission sites to use.
Is there a duplicate content penalty?
The quandry of quality vs. quantity.
How to write interesting articles that will get published through syndication.

Plus much more. Don’t miss it!

For those that can’t attend, I’ll publish the Powerpoint afterwords.
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How To Write Google Ads – The Perfect Formula

January 15, 2010 2 comments

It’s not often I give away a piece of information as critical as this, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Twice this week I was called into consult with clients by my SEM partners who only sell paid search.

They needed to know why their campaigns weren’t working.  A successful SEM campaign has three components:

1.  Keyword research

2.  A compelling ad

3.  A compelling landing page.

Today I’m going to discuss the three components of a killer Google ad campaign.  You’ve already done the keyword research, so now it’s time to write that ad.

Google ads are tricky because you’ve got 75 characters to capture the reader’s attention, build trust, make an offer and get them to click through to your landing page.  That’s about half a tweet!

Here’s how you do it.

1.  Capture attention by using capital letters at the beginning of each word.  You can’t use all caps.  You can also use punctuation like a ? or !, but not bunched together.

2.  Build trust by repeating the search term in your ad title.  Google automates this for you.  Use it.

3.  Make an offer that capitalizes on the why of your business.  You’ve got two to four words to explain.  Be brief.

4.  Specific call to action.  Do you want your visitor to click through to your landing page or call you?  Let them know!

Here’s an ad I just found:

801 Phone Finder

Search Free Any 801 Number
Cell, Landline, Unpublished & More.

Does it meet the criteria I mentioned? 

It repeated my search term which included 801.
It gave the “why” or unique selling proposition – cell phones, unpublished, etc.
It gave a call to action – search free.

I would have changed the link at the bottom to make the URL simple, but that’s just me.

There you have the easy and effective way to write pay-per-click (PPC) ads for Google!


Writing ads is trial and error, so multiple testing has to be put in place.  What kind of ads are your customers going to click on?  I don’t know!  Let’s test.  Google makes it easy and shows the best performing ads more frequently.  Be sure to write multiple ads and let your customer tell you which ones work the best.

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