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Showing posts with label linkedin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label linkedin. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Professional and Business Online Presence #OLP

There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about- Oscar Wilde

Today, everyone wants to make business decision quickly without needing to have meetings or walk into your store, as meetings and traffic are time consuming. The place where the majority of people will learn about you and/or your business will be online.
This is a positive direction.
Because if someone can find everything they need about you that gives them the confidence to purchase a product or set a meeting, the faster the decision comes to actually hit the Purchase, Submit or Email button. This happens before ever stepping foot in your building or meeting space. This is why it is important to care about your online presence.
Stop reading and take a few minutes to type your name or business name in Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. search box. What links show up on pages on 1- 5? Are you even a result within the first 5 pages?
Great! Are they links that help you sell or build trust with customers to buy/do business with you.

No, or just not sure?

We are available to help you answer those questions, contact us for a free 30 minute consultation.
Today you can no longer just have a website. People need 5-10 trusted sources before deciding to buy or schedule a meeting. They want to see your reviews on Glassdoor, Google, Yelp, Facebook, or even BBB. They will look at your customer’s comments and reviews. They want to see that you are covered in key media outlets as a leader in the industry and much more.
So now—go back to those first 5 pages of search. Do they include links to your LinkedIn company page, an article in a trade journal, videos, trade shows, associations….? If not, you have a lot work to do.
Now many marketing firms will tell you to run ads to increase your SEO. But ask yourself before you do—when is the last time you really wanted to click on one of those paid ads? You might have clicked only because you needed information right away. But if you had other choices on page 1 to get the info, you will more than likely skip the ad.
We have nothing against running ads but you also have to do the hard stuff. Realistically to get great links on pages 1-5, you may need to hire a person or an agency to help you reach your goal of good organic results within a short time frame.

Here are 5 key items that you can do to help you improve your online presence quickly:

1- Hire someone to write content for your website, social media and trade media.
2- Hire someone to take photographs— because you are going to need a lot of them.
3- Think about topics for videos for Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. Then get someone to create at least one a month for the next 6 months or so.
4- Get someone to send press release, product info, photos, videos, etc. to key media to earn high quality backlinks.
5- Make sure your website is current, looks clean and attractive, is mobile friendly, easy to use and is on the right server platform. – NSG uses AWS
There are always more things that you can do to improve your online presence. But if you do at least some basics task’s you will be much further ahead than your competition.
We know that your first meetings/engagements with potential partners/customers will be more successful when you are able to build trust from your online presence and you can show them that you are a company they want to do business with or even to buy a single product from.
To learn how NSG Consulting Inc can help: chase@nsgconsultinginc.com

Monday, August 8, 2016

LinkedIn's Creative URL's Seem Designed for Organic SEO

This link for a LinkedIn download of a hiring .pdf is a great example of a very selective and creative URL that shows just how detailed LinkedIn is with their landing pages and how you get to it.


There are key words, title of content, and the word business TWICE! When have you ever had two key words in your URL? And they both mean something different as categorization is concerned. Having creativity in your team is a must, and LinkedIn has that covered well

Monday, June 1, 2015

3 ways sales people should use LinkedIn to increase sales

You are sitting at your desk in a panic because you are not going to make quote for the quarter....LinkedIn can help even if you do not have a premium account.

1- Reach people at companies you want to sell to and you are not selling to today.
A-Search for employees at XYZ- check out titles -look at profiles. 
B- Check to see if any of your connections know them- If yes, ask them to help connect you so you can send a message to them.
C-See if they belong to any of the groups you belong. If yes, go to group page find them and send a message-this is free.

Need more help using LinkedIn as a sales tool...Contact us for an individual online session at nanette@nsgconsultinginc.com

Or do you want to get more sales from your sales team-Contact us about doing a presentation at your next sales meeting at: nanette@nsgconsultinginc.com

Learn more about our firm at: http://nsgconsultinginc.com/

Friday, August 8, 2014

For Retailers, Being Social is Harder Than It Looks

For Retailers, Being Social is Harder Than It Looks

Retailers are constantly being urged to up their social media presence. But that doesn’t mean they should simply join another social network and then forget about it. In the rush to be part of modern retailing, some stores forgot the communal, interactive aspect of social media.
Michael Weiss, managing partner for C-4 Analytics, a Boston-based digital marketing agency, says most retailers – and not just apparel – are still struggling to understand social media. They need to discover how social media can deliver customer research and customer service, and fill gaps that a marketing program cannot. While most consumers start their online apparel shopping through retailer or brand sites (55 percent), e-commerce sites (29 percent), and search engines (25 percent) according to the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor Survey, almost 1 in 10 consumers start shopping through social media sites (7 percent).
“Anyone who’s looking at social media as just another place to put advertising is missing the point,” Weiss says.  “Social media is not just another place to post your weekly circular or hype your latest sale. Understand who you want to reach and what goals you want to achieve. Once you have that information, you can identify the social media platform and communication strategy that is most likely to work.”
In the low-margin world of fashion retail, apparel stores that manage to navigate the diverse social media landscape can benefit greatly, especially given that shoppers still say clothes (30 percent) are their top item of choice to shop for, followed by electronics, (23 percent), groceries (25 percent) shoes (10 percent) and cosmetics (6 percent), according to the Monitor survey. And the majority (55 percent) continue to “love or enjoy” clothes shopping.
8_7 chart
The problem for retailers is that social media isn’t as simple as setting and forgetting a Facebook page or Twitter account. It’s about geo-location apps that can alert shoppers to local deals, wallet apps that show mobile users where they can shop nearby while paying via smartphone, as well as reward apps that alert shoppers to deals when they walk near a store. Complicating matters is the fact that new apps continue to pop up regularly, making it tough for stores to figure out where to spend their social media dollars.
It’s expected that U.S. social media advertising revenue will jump nearly 200 percent to $15 billion in 2018, from $5.1 billion last year, according to a recent report from media research and consulting firm BIA/Kelsey. This year, the firm expects social ad revenue to increase 62.7%, to hit $8.3 billion.
Much of the social media budget revolves around ads that appear in, say, the Facebook newsfeed. But shopping apps can be quite beneficial to both the retailer and the consumer. Again, the problem is picking the right player.
Some apps, like Instagram, are really just geo-social, while others — like Shopkick or iBeacon — incorporate commerce. Geolocation apps, meanwhile, appeal to the tablet or smartphone user. The Monitor stats show 45 percent of shoppers browse on their phone, while 39 percent use their tablet, and less than one in five (18 percent) use a smart TV. However, the majority (84 percent) turns to their traditional desktop or laptop computers to browse apparel online.
Weiss says a big drawback to geolocation apps is the “spying” factor they inherently possess.
“Some of our established retail clients have been very resistant to geolocation because they see it as intrusive, and it’s hard to argue that point,” he says. “If you’re a national brand, people know who you are and where you are, and they don’t necessarily want another one of your ads showing up every time they walk by your store. They may want something very personal that’s interesting to them, such as an alert when a shirt goes on sale.”
Weiss points out that apps like Scoutmob are more of a service — and C-4 would recommend it to a new business or a regional retailer with just a few storefronts. “Platforms like this can get a local business some consideration and ‘even up’ things against the onslaught of advertising from larger retailers.”
On the other hand, he says, Shopkick is a loyalty program that gets shared across competing retailers. “You probably don’t want your customer redeeming loyalty points at the store down the road. It’s better to run your own program.”
The fact remains though, today’s consumers like various aspects of pre- and social shopping, whether it’s on a retailer’s site or social media. The majority of shoppers “always/usually/sometimes” compare prices (77 percent), browse styles (73 percent), look-up coupons (71 percent) and read customer reviews (58 percent) online before purchasing an apparel item in store, according to the Monitor. A total of 68 percent of shoppers say online product reviews are “very or somewhat influential” when shopping for apparel, up significantly from 61 percent in November 2010. And most (68 percent) read these reviews on retailer or brand websites, followed by e-commerce (30 percent) and community-based social media sites like Facebook or Twitter (15 percent) and media-based social sites like Instagram and Pinterest (13 percent).
Weiss says once a store understands who it wants to reach, it then must start listening to its customers.
“If people are asking for a specific service or information on Facebook or Twitter, find a way to provide it,” he says. “Social media has made it easier than ever for retailers to talk with their customers and learn what they want. Note that I said ‘talk with,’ which means real, two-way dialogue. If you’re just talking at them with promotions or canned questions like, ‘What’s your favorite weekend getaway?,’ you’re just going through the motions, and a lot of users will tune out. Actual conversation builds real engagement that becomes a powerful way to promote your business.”

This article is one in a series that appears weekly on sourcingjournalonline.com. The data contained are based on findings from the Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™ Survey, a consumer attitudinal study, as well as upon other of the company’s industrial indicators, including its Retail Monitor and Supply Chain Insights analyses. Additional relevant information can be found at CottonLifestyleMonitor.com.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Richard Edelman: Traditional Marketing Is Broken

Richard Edelman: Traditional Marketing Is Broken

In Chicago today, the head of the world's largest PR firm declared that the marketing industry has its business backward. Speaking to an audience of academics and brand marketing executives at De Paul University, Richard Edelman, who runs the eponymous agency as President and CEO, stated that much of the marketing we've grown up with "is a short-term and broken model."
The marketing industry has been rocked the last few years by the massive rise of commercial brands acting as publishers. Whereas brands like General Electric and American Express historically could only reach customers through advertisements next to content people sought in newspapers and television, they can now create their own stories that readers find and share in their news feeds on social media websites. (This, of course, is not news to anyone who's reading this story on LinkedIn.)
However, the communications approach brands have been using as publishers is still often anachronistic. "It's always been marketing first and communications as a servant," Edelman said.
I see the emergence of a new paradigm, which is 'communications marketing' instead of 'marketing communications.'"
The difference, he says, has to do with priorities. In a media environment where control over who sees content is actually up to readers—not editors or advertisers—companies who wish to build relationships with potential customers must now do so on readers' terms. That means communicating meaningfully before selling to them. It means sharing useful and entertaining information as a primary objective, with the understanding that relationships and sales will eventually flow if done appropriately.
The early adopters in the marketing community understand this well. It's why Red Bull makes snowboarding movies and drops skydivers from space to entertain its audience. It's whyBlackrock creates in-depth education to help people understand investing. And it's why creative and media and PR and social agencies (and publishers like The New York Times and Forbes) now sell "sponsored content" and content marketing solutions.
Social media has changed our expectations around what we see and don't see on the Internet, and that's forcing the hands of some brands—the ones with a lot to lose—to behave more in the interest of the crowd. Interestingly, that mindset (and pressure) is influencing beyond simply what brands broadcast from their Twitter accounts. Edelman uses Starbucks as an example: The company recently announced that it's going to subsidize its employees college tuition, in part as an effort to help its workers feel connected to the brand and to care about its customers more to the point that they share the brand's story and ethos with strangers who buy lattes.
You're not just selling coffee," Edelman said. "You're selling a relationship."
The key to "communications marketing", Edelman said, is "substantive storytelling." Purveying interesting and surprising stories instead of ads. To work, he said, brands must publish content that is:
1) "Rational and built for consumption." (Useful to the reader.)
2) "Emotional and built for sharing." (Of human interest.)
3) "Supported by data and insight." (Factually sound.)
These sound a lot like things a journalist would say. But when Edelman then declared that the PR industry must now consider themselves "guardians of truth," I was taken aback. It's a dramatic statement coming from the head of an industry that's thought by most people to be paid to spin facts. However, knowing that the social media crowd is quick to point out and amplify improprieties, public relations firms seem to be grabbing onto the idea of storytelling and relationship-building through radically transparent publishing more fully than almost anyone. (I suspect that this is largely due to the fact that Edelman and firms like Weber Shandwick's Mediaco have been hiring editors from traditional media with strong journalism backgrounds to run branded content.)
Though I think that brand publishing should not be overly compared to journalism, the infusion of a journalistic mindset—or communicating instead of selling—into marketing is a great thing. After all, the number one priority of journalism is to seek the truth and not betray readers. Marketing, historically, hasn't had much incentive to rank such ideals above the bottom line.
"We're going to change the mindset of marketers," Edelman says. It's a lofty idea. But if we can collectively manage it, it just might make the Internet—in which the 5.7 trillion ads served per year get ignored by 99.9% of us—a little more interesting.
Shane Snow is Chief Creative Officer of Contently and author ofSmartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success. He writes about media and technology for Wired, Fast Company, Ad Age, and more, and tweets at @shanesnow.
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Image via Edelman. Disclosure: my company works with many of the companies mentioned in this post.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Link Graph Conundrum: Why Citations Remain Critical to SEO Survival

The Link Graph Conundrum: Why Citations Remain Critical to SEO Survival

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SEO Evolution: Sell, Discover, Deliver & Report on Highly Converting Keywords by Krista LaRiviere, gShift
It's a popularly held belief that the link graph is broken. This post will explore the roots of the problem, and why it is such a tough problem for Google and Bing to resolve.
The Link Graph Still Alive and Kicking
It all starts with the original Larry Page - Sergey Brin thesis. At the time they were developing this concept, the leading search engines of the time were almost solely dependent on keyword analysis of the content on your page to determine rankings. Spammers had so thoroughly assaulted this model that change had become an imperative, lest the concept of a search engine go the way of the dinosaurs.
Here are a couple of key sentences at the beginning of the thesis:
The citation (link) graph of the web is an important resource that has largely gone unused in existing web search engines. We have created maps containing as many as 518 million of these hyperlinks, a significant sample of the total. These maps allow rapid calculation of a web page's "PageRank", an objective measure of its citation importance that corresponds well with people's subjective idea of importance. Because of this correspondence, PageRank is an excellent way to prioritize the results of web keyword searches.
The concept of a "citation" (bolding above was mine, for emphasis) is a critical one. To understand why, let's step away from the web and consider the example of an academic research paper, which might include citations in them that look like this:
Academic Citations
Placement in this list is normally made by the writer of the paper to acknowledge major sources they referenced during the creation of their paper. If you did a study of all the papers on a given topic area, you could fairly easily identify the most important ones, because they would have the most citations (votes) by other papers.
Using a technique like the PageRank algorithm, you could build a citation graph where each of these "votes" were not counted equally (e.g., if a paper has a lot of citations, the votes it gives would count for more if they did not). And, just like the PageRank algorithm, you could apply the algorithm recursively to identify the most important papers. The reasons this works well in the academic citation environment are:
  1. Small Scale: The number of papers in a given academic space is reasonably finite. You might have hundreds, or thousands, of documents, not millions.
  2. No Incentive to Spam: You can't really buy a citation placement in an academic paper. If you were the author of a paper and had some illogical references in your citations, the perceived authority of your own paper would be negatively impacted.
  3. Small Communities: In a given area of academic research, all the major players know each other. Strange out of place behavior stands out in a way that it doesn't in an open chaotic environment like the web.

Citations and the Web

At the time of the Page-Brin thesis, the spammers of the world were attacking search engines using a variety of keyword stuffing techniques. Practical implementation of a link-based algorithm was a revelation, and it had a huge impact very quickly. The spammers of the world had not yet figured out how to assault the link based model.
As Google gained traction, this changed. Link buying and selling, large scale link swapping, blog and forum comment stuffing, and simply building huge sites and placing site-wide links on them were some of the many tactics that emerged.
Fast forward to 2014 and it appears that Google has partially won this battle. The reason we can say that they have partially won is that these days almost no one publishes articles in support of spammy link building tactics.
Unhappy Spammers
In fact, the concept of link building itself has been replaced with content marketing, which the overwhelming majority of people position as being about building reputation and visibility. This has happened because Google has gotten good at detecting enough of the spammers out there that the risks of getting caught are quite high. No business with investors or employees can afford to invest in spammy techniques because the downside risks aren't acceptable.
On the other hand, if you spend enough time studying search results, you can easily find many examples sites that use really bad link building practices ranking high in the search results for some terms. If you're playing by the rules and one of these people in outranking you, it can be infuriating.

Sources of the Problem

Why does this still happen? Part of the reason is that the web isn't at all like the world of academic papers. Here are some reasons why:
  1. Commercial Environment with High Stakes: Fortunes are made on the interwebs. People have a huge incentive to figure out how to rank higher in Google.
  2. Huge Scale: It was back in October/November 2012 that Google's Matt Cutts told me that Google knew about 100 trillion web pages. By now, that has to be more like 500 trillion.
  3. No Cohesive Community: The academic community would probably argue that they aren't as cohesive as one might think, but compared to the web there is a clear difference. There are all different types of people on the web, including those who are ignorant of SEO, those who have incorrect information on how it works, those who attempt to abuse SEO, and finally to those who try to do it the right way.
  4. User-Generated Content (UGC): Blog comments, forum comments, reviews, social media sites are all example of UGC in action. While Google tries to screen all of this out, and most of these platforms use the rel="NoFollow" attribute not all of them do. As a result, spammers implement algorithms to spew comments with rich anchor text references to their sites across the web.
  5. Advertising: The web is a commercial place. People sell advertising, and even if there intent is not to sell PageRank, many of them don't use nofollow attributes on the links and simply label the links as "Sponsored" or "Ads". Google is not always able to detect such labeling.
  6. Practical Anonymity: The chances of blowback if you link to a crappy site are much smaller than they are in the academic paper scenario. Because of the scale of the web, the advertising environment, and the structure of web content, a crappy link or two may just be seen as an ad, and the average visitor to a web page simply does not care.
  7. Complete Lack of Structure: Let's face it, the web is a chaotic place. The way sites are built, the way people interact with pages, the types of content, and the varying goals of such content lead to a web that has little real structure.
One Little Corner of the Web

Why Haven't Google and Bing Fixed This?

Of course the search engines are trying to fix it. Don't pay any attention to anyone who suggests otherwise.
Google lives in terror of someone doing to them what they did to Altavista. A fundamentally better algorithm would represent a huge threat to their business. And, of course, Bing would love to be the one to find such a new algo.
The money at stake here is huge, and both search engines are investing heavily in trying to develop better algorithms. The size of the spoils? The current market cap of Google is $356 billion.
The reason why they haven't fixed it is because they haven't figured out how to yet. Social media signals aren't the answer either. Nor is measuring user interaction with the SERPs, or on the pages of your site. These things might help, but search engines would have already started weighting them quite a bit more than they have if they were the answer.

What Does This Means To You?

Frankly, it's a tough environment. Here it is in a nutshell:
  1. Publishers that use crappy link building practices may outrank you on key terms, and they may stay there for a while.
  2. Google will continue to discover and punish bad tactics to the best of their ability, uneven though that may be. They do this well enough that any serious business just needs to stay away from such tactics (most likely that means you!).
  3. Search engines will keep looking for creative new ways to reduce their dependence on links. This will include more ways to use social media, user interaction signals, and other new concepts as well. However, Cutts says that links are here as a ranking factor for many more years.
  4. As search engines use more and more of these new signals we aren't going to get a roadmap as to what they are. Yes they patent new ideas all the time, but you won't know which patents they use, and which ones they don't. In addition, even when they use an idea from a published patent, the practical implementation of it will likely differ greatly from what you see in the patent.
Your Direction Might be Unclear
It isn't an ideal situation. Your best course of action? Focus your efforts and building your reputation and visibility online outside of the search engines. Ultimately, you want to build your own loyal audience. Here are a few ideas for doing that:
  1. Organic social media: Just recognize that this opportunity may be transient too. As we have seen, Facebook is reducing organic visibility in order to drive revenue growth. For that reason, new emerging social platforms are particularly powerful opportunities to get visible, provided that you pick the right horse to ride.
  2. Earned Media (Guest Posting): Cutts may have signalled the The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO but writing regular columns on the top web sites in your market is something you should strive to do anyway. Don't view it as an SEO activity, its still a surefire way to build up reputation and visibility.
  3. Speaking at Conferences: This is a great technique as standing up in front of a room full of people and sharing your thoughts allows them to begin developing a connection with you.
  4. Writing Books or eBooks: Another traditional reputation builder, but a really good one. Don't underestimate the work in writing a book though. However hard you think it is, the reality is 4 to 10 times harder.
  5. Develop Relationships with Influential Media and Bloggers: Building meaningful relationships with other people that already have large audiences and adding value to their lives is always a good thing.
These activities will all give you alternative ways to build your reputation, visibility, and traffic. They also give you the best chance that your site will be sending out the types of signals that search engines want to discover and value anyway.
Ideally, your reputation will be so strong that Google's search results will be damaged in the event you aren't ranking for relevant terms, because searchers will be looking for you. You don't have to like the way the environment operates, but it's the environment we have. Complaining won't help you, so just go out and win anyway!