Category Archives: Social Media

[BATTLEPLAN] Marketing to Generation @Me

As a marketer, I consider most people aged 13 to 30 years to be a part of Generation @Me where likes, comments and follows serve as social currency.

If you want to design a program that appeals to Generation @Me, you need to first design a program with social currency flow baked-in.

I say baked-in because social currency flow can’t be something you layer in or place on top of a program. It has to be the program.

Here’s the “How do I market a brand or IP to Gen@Me” formula

  1. Be a thought leader, influencer and taste maker which means being EXTRAORDINARY at something
    1. If you are not already all of the above, you’re pretty much dunzo because there’s someone out there that is.
    2. You can rent a thought leader but at the end of the day, the majority of the equity stays with the thought leader.
  2. Bring your personal audience to the public brand
    1. You need a small but committed group to spread your message. These are people that can vet you personally.
  3. Show and share the love
    1. As a thought leader, you have pockets full of social currency to pay out. As you like, comment, follow or otherwise pay out social currency, you’re rewarded with social currency in return. This is social currency flow.
  4. Become a bank
    1. Be mindful and selective of how and who you lend social currency to. More often than not, you can lend it to yourself to launch additional brands.
  5. Sell shit
    1. Here’s where people start – they want to sell things so they use social as a layer instead of the program. They’re thinking backwards.

In conclusion, I’d just like to acknowledge that anyone could disprove the above with a case study of someone that did something great who wasn’t an influencer or didn’t have any knowledge of what they were doing, The above is (somewhat) agnostic of being lucky, having influential parents, friends, loved ones or being in the right place at the right time – all of which can elevate your success levels no matter how much you suck 🙂


Facebook Marketing 2014 Wrap Up

Here’s a wrap-up of what Facebook has said to marketers over the last year. I’ve paraphrased below.

FB only tells you about big updates. There are many smaller ones you don’t know about.

Each of your posts competes with, on average, 1,500 other posts. FB will prioritize 300 of those.

FB has a “high quality” algo. This is used to push stories up in your news feed and is based on over 1,000 factors.

Media sites such as Buzzfeed are rewarded by FB with greater reach, due in large part to their abilities to publish large amounts of content that generate large amounts of engagement daily.

Clicks on links matter. FB monitors them closely in hopes to understand what quality content is.

FB expects organic reach for your posts to decline (unless you get a heck of a lot better).

Get to a certain level and reach isn’t solely dependant on engagement. FB white lists sources (sites) as being high quality.

If you are a Page, don’t post a text-only status update.

For more engagement, use a link-share instead of sharing a link.

For more engagement, Pages should tag other Pages.

Stop like-baiting. Asking for a share or a like is a FB no-no.

Disinformation: Social Signals are Not Part of the Algorithm

My co-worker Jeff sent me an interesting post by Blind Five Year old that re-opens the debate surrounding social signals and SEO.

In a nutshell, the article says that social signals are NOT part of the (current) algorithm but they ARE important (because they tend to extend the reach of content / create inbound links).

While I don’t disagree with the summary above, I do warn clients not to believe everything they read.

Here’s why.

I don’t optimize for Google today, I optimize for Google 5 years from now. Therefore, social signals ARE part of the algorithm.

Remember, Google used to say links mattered (now it has websites afraid to link).

Why would Google say “the amount of likes and shares you have is an indicator of how relevant your content is to a particular query.”

If they did, they would already be equipped to deal with the avalanche of junk data created by like builders. They may be close, but I don’t think they are there yet.

To me, it is more likely than not that Google is currently observing social sharing activity in its natural, non-like builder environment and writing algorithms to suit. Then, when unnatural activity is detected, the algo can easily compare to natural activity and act accordingly.

Failure to react to the SEO industry (link builders) quickly enough has put Google in the predicament it’s in today – it’s reliant upon a method of ranking websites that’s easily manipulated by those with knowledge and money.

At present, I’m largely reliant upon income generated from my knowledge of the current algorithm, its operation and ways to monetize sites that rank. But I don’t expect the next generation Google algorithm to be as susceptible to exploit.

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Why you shouldn’t 404 out-of-stock product pages

Lately it seems that I only blog about Matt Cutts. I guess that’s partly because he’s the most influential voice in our space. And partly because you have to take what he says with a grain of salt. Unless you are an experienced SEO, it’s easy to give bad advice based on something “Matt Cutts said …”.

In his latest release, Mr. Cutts answers the question:

How would Google recommend handling eCommerce products that are no longer available?

Cutts describes three scenarios in his answer. View the video below.

In the first scenario, a solution for out-of-stock products is provided for small sites with “tens” of page. Cutts gives excellent advice here: don’t 404. Be helpful and provide a link to a related product.

In the second scenario, a solution for out-of-stock products is provided for medium sites with “hundreds” or “thousands”  of pages. Here’s where I think Cutts gives bad advice. He says:

I would probably think about just going ahead and doing a 404.

Why would people using a smaller website want to be treated differently than people using a medium-sized website? Is it not possible that people use both small and medium-sized websites? The answer is yes. It’s better to be helpful than not. To me, 404 pages are not helpful to users (other than for obvious reasons) and certainly not helpful when you consider time-on-site or conversions.

In the third scenario, a solution for out-of-stock products is provided for websites that post ads (such as auction or classified sites). Here Cutts recommends the unavailable_after meta tag. Good, soild advice here.

I acknowledge that Cutts is not a UX or conversion optimization expert, but as someone that lives in that world, I thought it important to comment here.

What’s your opinion? If you’re shopping for a product and it’s out-of-stock, would you prefer to see links to similar products?

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What Matt Cutts really said about social signals

Matt Cutts is Google’s head of web spam. When he speaks, the SEO community loses its mind. Bloggers roll out their jump to conclusions mats and Twitter bursts into flames.

In the video below, Cutts answers the question:

Are Facebook and Twitter signals part of the ranking algorithm? How much do they matter?

This video is sparking discussion as it seems to contradict something Cutts said in 2010 (that social signals do matter).

The confusion seems to stem from this.

In the first (most recent) video, Cutts talks about how Google ranks pages and how Facebook and Twitter pages (in the form of social profiles) are dealt with the same way any other page would be.

He seems to confuse the question with the answer. I don’t believe the question was “Does Google count the number of likes and follows my social profiles have to determine if they’re relevant to user queries” but that is EXACTLY the answer Cutts has provided.

Cutts also talks about the “causation vs. correlation” argument that seems to be so en vogue these days. He says that (paraphrasing) just because your (web) page has a lot of social sharing activity doesn’t mean it will rank well. It’s probably a good page and therefore is getting links.

Then the Cutts disinformation machine kicks in. Cutts says:

…I think over 10 years, we’re more likely to understand identity and to understand the social connections between people, but at least for the time being, we have to deal with the web as it is and what we are allowed to crawl and what we can easily extract from that and count on being able to access that in the future

I don’t think for a minute that Google will take 10 years to figure out the relationships between social shares, even if Facebook never lets them in.

So, if you want to be relevant now, get links. If you want to stay relevant, get shares.