I Don’t Have Time For Content Marketing – Drive-By Marketing

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they don’t have time for content marketing. In this podcast I explain why “not having time” is simply an excuse that puts you at a competitive disadvantage and why you must be actively engaged in content marketing for your small business to grow.

Forget The Desktop, Facebook Ads Are ALL Mobile

Facebook Ads Are All Mobile

Over the past few weeks I have been running various Facebook local awareness campaigns for clients. The campaigns were relatively simple and the targeted demographics were very broad. We would just target the appropriate demographic (18+, male and female, 50 mile radius / 24+, female only, 50 mile radius) and appropriate interests with ads designed to build awareness of the brand, and either drive consumers to the clients Facebook page or website.

I deliberately selected the placements for both “Mobile News Feed” and “Desktop News Feed”. I expected a fairly even distribution across both feeds, with perhaps a skew of 10 – 15% in favor of mobile, which would match the analytics data I see on website usage, but the results really surprised me.

On the campaign that was getting users to like a Facebook page  – 99% of the impressions and 98% of the reach were achieved via the “mobile news feed”, and similar results were seen on a campaign where we sent users to the clients website (ages 24+, Female only, 50 mile radius) – 98% of the impressions and 97% of the reach happening via the “mobile news feed”.

Considering the campaigns were for different clients, who’s only real commonality is that they’re both here in Mobile, Alabama, I don’t think this is an anomaly.

There’s a lot that can be read into this about Facebook’s platform and user base, however I believe it’s fair to say that at least here in southeastern United States, Facebook advertising is essentially 100% mobile.

Deleting Negative Reviews – Drive-By Marketing

In this podcast I address deleting negative reviews and comments about your company / product / service from review sites, Facebook pages and other locations.

I mention the reasons why you shouldn’t delete negative reviews, which include:

  • How it makes your profile looks fake or fixed, as if you were trying to game the system.
  • The missed opportunity to build dialogue and trust with your customers or community
  • The missed opportunity to learn from these reviews and improve your product or service.

If you have questions, comments or things that you’d like me to discuss of future episodes please leave me a message in the comments below.

Podcasting and Social Proof – A Missed Opportunity

Podcasting and Soaccial Proof - Paul OFlaherty

There’s a missed opportunity for podcast hosting companies such as Libsyn, Blubrry and now SoundCloud, to bring social proof to podcasting simply by opening up an API that allows plugins to poll download numbers and display them next to podcast players.

Blubrry already has the excellent PowerPress plugin, which I am sure the vast majority of WordPress based podcasters use regardless of where they host their media, so it should be really easy for them to add it. Libsyn and other providers could get involved simply by releasing a plugin that checks the filename in the enclosure custom field, polls an API every few hours (or once a day even) and allows podcasters to display a chiclet or some text- just like folks do for newsletter subscriber numbers, Facebook subscribers, Twitter followers and YouTube views. SoundCloud could start by making RSS downloads (a podcasters lifeblood) part of the reported public stats instead of hiding the numbers away privately and only showing the “on SoundCloud” plays.

Why would we want this? Because social proof works when building an audience. It’s easier to pick up more followers or downloads the more you already have – then it’s up to you to keep them.

iTunes and it’s frankly poor podcast search, should not be the only social proof that podcasters have.

Why Social Media Marketing? – Drive-By Marketing Podcast

“Why should we bother with social media marketing? We have a website and most of our business comes from Word of Mouth. We’re actually a profitable and very successful local company. Isn’t this just another expense?”

I hear questions like that a lot, and it’s easy to empathize with small business owners who can see social media as just another drain on their already tight time and financial resources.

In the video and audio below I cover 5 reasons why you’re small business needs to be engaged on social media.

Here’s the TL;DR (Too Long Didn’t Read) version for those of you can’t watch or listen right now:

Honestly, it’s not a matter if you should be engaged in social media marketing, it’s only about how  well you commit to doing it.

It Is A Very Silly Email Address…

Monty Python - Very Silly Email Address - Paul O'Flaherty

What’s your name? What’s your company name? What’s your email address? Ask those 3 questions fast enough and it almost sounds like a Monty Python sketch.

Just like the “Bridge of Death” scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” if you answer incorrectly then cast into the chasm you shall be.

If your email address ends is @yahoo, @gmail, @comcast, @aol or any other service other than @yourcompany then you’re inflicting a serious flesh wound to your reputation and deserve to be mauled by the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

Reputable companies do not use disposable, throwaway email accounts.

Image: Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Native Advertising on Forbes Magazine Cover – Right Or Wrong?

Forbes Cover Page
Image: Forbes

As a consumer I am not a fan of so-called “native” advertising, which are basically advertising pieces that are dressed up to look like editorial content. It’s become a relatively prevalent practice on the web, and in print you’re used to seeing them as advertorials.

Side note: I’m not discussing In-Feed units, recommendation widgets,  paid search units, or any of the other “looks almost like the real thing except for the disclosure” forms of “native” advertising in this post.

No matter how we gussy it up, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that native advertising isn’t about creating a better experience for the reader (although we say it is) , it’s about creating more revenue streams (which we say it isn’t really) and creating adverts in the hopes that the reader doesn’t realize what they are consuming and takes it as a genuine editorial endorsement (no, no no nevah!).

You can put lipstick on a pig…

According to Ad Age, Forbes will run a cover on Monday includes native advertising, can you spot it in the image?

That’s right, it’s the black box on the right shilling for Fidelity, who purchased a two-page infographic in the publication and for what I can only assume is an obscene amount of money.

Forbes aren’t the first to do this. Time Inc., ran Verizon ads on the covers Time and Sports Illustrated last year, but they haven’t tried it again since. Despite this, undisclosed ads on the front of magazine covers remains a new phenomenon.

Mr. Mark Howard, Forbes Media’s chief revenue officer doesn’t see an issue with this:

The cover line doesn’t specifically state that it’s an advertisement. It does, however, include the term “FidelityVoice,” which is how Forbes marks its native ads — melding the advertiser’s name with the word “voice.”

Mr. Howard doesn’t think the cover line is misleading. “When you look at the color scheme and the box, it’s separated, it has a different background,” he said. “For readers of Forbes, they’ve known for four years that when you see FidelityVoice that that is content that’s coming from one of our partners.”

Mr. Howard might not see an issue with this but I do. Granted, the hardcore Forbes readers may recognize this as an advertisement, but the average person at an airport newsstand looking for something to read on their flight will not. Heck, Forbes gets delivered to my house every month and I wouldn’t immediately recognize it as an advert.

This brings to mind the FTCs 2009 guidelines governing endorsements and testimonials and how they affect bloggers. The entire point was to protect consumers (and I suppose search integrity) from fake reviews, essentially forcing bloggers to disclose their advertiser or product owner relationships so that consumers wouldn’t mistake advertorials from unscrupulous bloggers and advertisers with genuine reviews.

The FTC acknowledged in the document that traditional media doesn’t have to do the same thing for reviews because the expectation is different:

The Commission acknowledges that bloggers may be subject to different disclosure requirements than reviewers in traditional media. In general, under usual circumstances, the Commission does not consider reviews published in traditional media (i.e., where a newspaper, magazine, or television or radio station with independent editorial responsibility assigns an employee to review various products or services as part of his or her official duties, and then publishes those reviews) to be sponsored advertising messages. Accordingly, such reviews are not “endorsements” within the meaning of the Guides.Under these circumstances, the Commission believes, knowing whether the media entity that published the review paid for the item in question would not affect the weight consumers give to the reviewer’s statements.

Granted, this Fidelity advert is not a review, but it does fly in the face of the traditional expectations of magazine readers – which is NOT to find advertising on the front cover, especially advertising that is not marked as such.

What do you think? Did Forbes go a step too far?

LinkedIn’s Group Spam Problem Is Almost Unbearable

LinkedIn Spam

Not the first to complain about the spam problem that plagues LinkedIn groups, but I shall definitely jump on the bandwagon because it feels like it’s escalating lately.

I’ve been rather careful about the groups I’ve joined (a mere 20) and changed all my settings to receive only digest emails only for the groups I’m most interested in, weekly for others and turned them off altogether for others, yet it feels like the spam levels have increased. I may have to excuse myself from most of my groups just for the sake of email sanity.

I know that the vast membership of LinkedIn tend to be typically unengaged unless actively seeking new opportunities, but the successful groups are more engaged and with their high numbers are a tempting target for the less scrupulous of our profession.

Marketers. I guess they’re why we can’t have nice things.