Social Media Marketing

Link_Optimization

Footer Link Optimization for Search Engines and User Experience

Posted by | Content Marketing and Optimisation, Facebook, Google, Latest News, Link Building (SEO), Olivia Naire, Search Engine Marketing, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Marketing, Twitter | No Comments

Footer Link Optimization for Search Engines and User Experience: It’s huge – seriously big. And while it’s valuable for users and even contains some interesting content, it’s not really accomplishing the job of a footer – it’s more like a giant permanent content block on the site

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User Friendly Content

7 Tips To Write The Perfect Press Release

Posted by | Content Marketing and Optimisation, Facebook, Google, Link Building (SEO), Natural Search SEO, News & Insight, Olivia Naire, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Advice, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Video & Rich Media, YouTube | No Comments

7 Tips To Write The Perfect Press Release

Writing the right press release is of course a difficult task. This is precisely the reason why we come cross thousands of inaccurate, badly edited press releases. Such press releases do not add value to website promotion; rather they have a negative effect. Therefore writing and formatting a press release correctly is an absolute must. The online press release is the most effective way of providing important updates and information in the Internet. If you are launching a new website, you cannot expect all your customers to know about the forthcoming project. A press release is the perfect way to give them this information to your customers and search engines.

1. Use Simple Language

The press release should be easy to understand. The paragraphs should be short and the language crisp. Like any other forms of writing avoid redundancy; rather focus on news. In short, the reader should understand clearly what news/new development you are trying to convey.

2.Call for Action

Like a sales copy a press release should encourage the readers to action. The news written should be interesting and compelling and the reader should feel free to contact you at the number given below the press release. Read More

Google+ vs Twitter Facebook growth

Has Google+ gone quiet? It made Facebook Tremble, but did it last?

Posted by | Facebook, Google, Link Building (SEO), News & Insight, Olivia Naire, Online PR, Search Engine Marketing, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Advice, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, Video & Rich Media, YouTube | 4 Comments

Has Google+ gone quiet?

It made Facebook & Twitter Tremble, but did it last?

 

It took Facebook and Twitter more than two years each to hit the 20 million user mark. It took “little” social media startup Google+ just two weeks to do the same. Whilst joining Google+is still on an “invite only” basis, just last week, Google+ passed an estimated 10 million users, and on Friday, doubled that number. Wow, not bad for a months work!

 

Google+ vs Twitter Facebook growth

This graph above, built by tech engineer Leon Håland, provides a startling visual of the various trajectories, with Google+ taking off like an M16, while its competitors look like they’re taking their time toddling up the social networking hill.

“I’ve never seen anything grow this quickly,” Andrew Lipsman, vice president of industry analysis at comScore told the Wall Street Journal.

Twitter accumulated as many new visitors quickly in 2009, he said,

“but that happened over several months.”

As drastic as this difference is, nobody’s surprised and of course, past performance isn’t an indicator of future gains. Facebook and Twitter started from scratch, while Google+ lives on the top navigation on a 13-year-old search engine so ingrained with how we live now, it’s also a verb (as in, “to Google”). Google also owes thanks to Facebook and Twitter, where friends offer up their extra semi-exclusive invites to Google+ to those who call dibs.
Google+ membership may very well level off after the initial excitement dies down, and it’s still got a ways to go to compete with Facebook’s 750 million users and Twitter’s 200 million accounts.
We we’re listening to some conversations via buzz monitoring and found that, these comments we’re the top comments regarding Google+

  • “Google+ has gone quiet”
  • “Not sure what I need to do on here”
  • “Okay, so what next?”
  • “It’s okay, nothing special”
  • “I’m on Google+ it’s pretty cool”

So in summary, whilst Google+ has managed to surcharge is membership interest, will they be able to sustain the interest of the social network gooers like Facebook and Twitter do and will Google+ be great for businesses desperate to lead in the social media space?… in short, let’s watch this space.

 

Google+ where to next…?

social-media-bandwagon

10 Best Practices of Social Media Marketing

Posted by | Facebook, Link Building (SEO), Marketing Tips, News & Insight, Olivia Naire, Search Engine Marketing, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Advice, Social Media Marketing, Twitter, YouTube | No Comments

Social Media Marketing is still quite new and for most brand owners and marketers; perfecting Social Media Marketing is still an ongoing process. In light of this, I have prepared 10 best practice Social Media Marketing tips for success in social media.

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Social_Media_Strategy

Social Media Strategy Tips: 4 Steps for Evaluating Risk in Social Business

Posted by | Link Building (SEO), News & Insight, Olivia Naire, Search Engine Marketing, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Marketing | One Comment

 

 

In the supply chain industry there is something known as functional mode effect analysis — a complicated term but a simple concept. This model can be applied quite effectively to the social business space. Being able to understand and evaluate these risks is crucial and something that every organization needs to think about. Here’s a visual to walk you through the steps.

evaluating-risk.png

 

 

Step 1

 

The organization needs to write down the risks that it perceives as a result of getting involved in social business. I arbitrarily picked the two risks above which were “employees don’t use tools” and “negative customer feedback.”

 

I would recommend a cross-functional meeting as opposed to just having someone from PR or marketing coming up with all of the risks. Since social business affects multiple parts of the organization you need to have those parts of the organization involved.

 

Step 2

 

Go through each risk and fill out the first four elements, leave the recommended action and responsibility pieces blank until you decide which risks you are going to address, something we will discuss below.

 

If we use Risk 1 above as an example we can see that the severity level (out of a scale of 1-10) of employees not using internal collaboration tools is an 8, the chances of that actually happening are a 4 and the probability of detecting that risk early on is a 7. Multiply these three numbers together to get a “priority index” which in our example for Risk 1 is 224.

 

Again, I just assigned these numbers randomly but these numbers should come from a discussion with your team, the point isn’t to get to some exact number but to help compare the risks to one another in relative terms.

 

Step 3

 

Go through this process for all of the risks you have identified to get the “priority index” number. Once this process is done your team needs to decide how many risks it can feasibly address immediately, perhaps it’s just the top 5 or 10, and maybe it’s all of them. In the example above I just selected two risks. The priority index score will help you and your team decide how to prioritize the risks your organization is being faced with.

 

Step 4

 

Once you have the list of risks you are going to deal with (say the top 10) you can go ahead and fill out the bottom two areas which are the recommended action to deal with the risk and whose responsibility it is to deal with the risk.

 

Going through this process isn’t very difficult but the value it will provide to your team in terms of evaluating, prioritizing, and mitigating perceived risks should be great. Other factors will also need to be considered such as “what resources are going to be required to for the action.”

 

Let’s use this as our starting ground to help us deal with risks in the social business space. I’m working on some other things around this which will help further the model and the discussion around risk in the social business space.

Colgate-logo

Colgate uses Facebook followers in digital outdoor campaign

Posted by | Creative Digital Design, Facebook, Link Building (SEO), News & Insight, Olivia Naire, Search Engine Marketing, Search Marketing (SEO, PPC), Social Media Advice, Social Media Marketing, Twitter | No Comments

Colgate uses Facebook followers in digital outdoor campaign

Toothpaste brand Colgate has launched an interactive outdoor campaign, featuring pictures of its Facebook followers smiling in support of children’s charity Barnardo’s.

Colgate:launches interactive campaign featuring Facebook followers

Colgate: launches interactive campaign featuring Facebook followers

Created by VML London, the campaign uses UGC content from Colgate’s Facebook page, where people are asked to “share a smile” for Barnardo’s by uploading their picture of themselves smiling.

Uploaded Facebook pictures are randomly displayed on digital billboards across Birmingham, Liverpool and London.

The digital campaign was booked by Kinetic and is also running across JCDecaux’s Transvison network, and on CBS Outdoor’s XTP screens on the London Underground. The campaign is managed through Grand Visual’s OpenLoop platform.

The campaign aims to collect one million “smiles” throughout the summer. The brand has pledged to donate £100,000 to Barnardo’s when that target has been reached.

The outdoor campaign is part of Colgate’s broader online, radio, digital and experiential activity, produced by a collaboration of agencies including MEC, Cohn & Wolfe, VML London, Grand Visual, Mars and RKCR/Y&R.

Gemma Brown, account manager at VML London, said: “Digital outdoor is the perfect platform to leverage Colgate’s social media activity. Integrating the photos of Facebook users is a good fun incentive for anyone who’s dreamed of starring in their own billboard campaign.”

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Linden Lab Upgrades InWorld Search

Posted by | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

Sometimes the news is slow, and sometimes it comes in an avalanche. This past week or so has seen a whole lot of new and interesting things happen in relation to Second Life. Meeroos, a timeline for Mesh, The Great Facebook Avatar Deletion (with an added helping of I Told You So). All of these things are absolutely worth columns of their own (and fortunately, I get one of those every week). But this week I’m going to talk about the fact that Linden Lab claims that they’ve fixed the in-world search engine by completely rebuilding it, and that finally (in theory), it’s going to become something other than “busted.” Yes. I’m going to say it *AGAIN*. It’s currently BUSTED, and believe me, “busted” is the nicest thing I can say about it.

 

As for why I’m going with this topic first, before any of the others? Nothing makes a site with the word “search” in the title happier than an article about…search. Right? Right. So let’s take a little journey and have a look at the past, present and potential future of this much needed fix.

 

The Ghost of Searches Past

 

ghostbusters-seanceImage Credit: MetaVerso

 

Second Life has its own in-world search engine. That is to say, while you are logged into SL itself, there is a search engine which can be accessed within your viewer. This search is divided up into different categories in order to make searching (presumably) simpler. Prior to the release of viewer 2.x, search worked pretty well. By comparison to what we’ve been living with for the past 14 months, it worked amazingly well. Businesses within Second Life were able, via various methods to apply SEO tactics and the search engine would respond with a fair degree of predictability. Mainly, what worked so well was the results you got were relevant to what you were looking for.

 

This is not to say it was perfect. It wasn’t perfect, but no search engine is going to get it right every time. The main flaw I personally found with it was that it had no fuzzy component. If you misspelled something you were screwed. This was often problematic in some types of search queries, particularly avatar names. Because usernames are required to be unique, there are an enormous amount of “creative” spellings in SL, and blowing the spelling of a name could easily lead to your never actually getting a relevant or accurate result. But when searching for things, places, or events, it worked quite well.

 

It worked particularly well as we look at it from where we stand now, because 14 months ago, in (roughly) April of 2010, everything changed. From there, things got ugly very, very quickly.

 

When It All Broke Down

 

When viewer 2.x was released in February of 2010, the way search was handled within the viewer changed. Though 1.x viewers still used the old search method, 2.x viewers used a completely different system, based on the GSA 6 system (the previous system was a GSA 5). Aside from the fact that many things in viewer 2 seemed to change simply for the sake of doing so, one of the reasons search changed was that the old search would use sim resources (whatever sim you were on) to route certain types of queries (mostly traffic data)to the search servers. It was decided that in order to reduce the load on these resources a new method was needed that avoided this problem (presumably to reduce lag and other sim strain issues). The new search system (GSA 6) bypassed sims entirely. In addition, Linden Lab had its eye on pushing various parts of the platform (including profiles, another cause of consternation- don’t get me started) to the web, rather than being handled exclusively within the viewer. So reinventing search to reflect that reality was something they were eager to achieve. This new incarnation of in-world search used Google Search Appliance 6 in order to make it function.

 

The problem, of course, is that when they changed it around, they began to tinker with it. Incessantly. At some point in the spring of 2010 (March-April, depending on whom you ask) search broke.

 

Now, I don’t mean broke in terms of “If you put in a query you’d get no results.” I mean “if you put in a query, you very often got barely relevant results.”, or “if you put in a query, you would get nonsensical results.” This was especially problematic for those engaged in commerce within Second Life, as on what seemed like a weekly basis, search would change again, and not only make no sense in terms of what results went where, but became absolutely and utterly impossible to apply SEO. While the Lab claimed they were “optimizing” or “seeking to prevent gaming the system”, what really happened was that real people lost an absolutely enormous amount of real moneyas businesses that had traditionally thrived got buried in search in favor of things like yard sales. The howling from the merchant community in specific and the SL resident community in general was incessant and (afaiac) completely justified, as the Lab used search like a tinkertoy, and every time they messed with it, the immediate costs were borne by those who were pushing the SL economy. If you were engaged in SL commerce, at some point (or a whole lot of points) you wound up talking to other merchants in the same boat- all either screaming, collectively scratching their heads, or both- often at the same time.

 

This problem became so widespread and severe that quite a number of merchants could not weather the hit. They either closed up shop, either having lost so money that maintaining their business beecame unsustainable, or so frustrated and angry with the entire thing that they simply refused to keep trying to do the equivalent of Charlie Brown trying to kick a football.

 

Unfortunately, when things like this happen, with sure predictability, the Lab attempts to dodge the issue. They refuse for quite some time (ages, if you’re the one losing money) to even acknowledge there’s a problem, insisting instead that it’s YOU who has the issue, even avoiding plain evidence of a before and after comparison. When that changes is when the loss of revenue eventually trickles down to the Lab itself– when people can no longer afford tier (sim rental) fees, which cost up to $295USD monthly each and “tier down”, because they cannot afford the cost. That costs the Lab real money, and it’s generally only then that they start to (grudgingly) acknowledge that there’s actually something wrong, and the residents aren’t simply making it all up.

 

In addition to all of this is the observation that in the past year the Lab really hasn’t cared all that much about in-world search. In fact, it could be said that it was to their advantage that they simply let search knowingly remain busted. This is because the Lab’s focus has been rather agggressively on SL Marketplace, at the direct expense of in-world shopping, a practice that has been cited by a number of people (self included, right here in this very column) as being short sighted. The Lab makes a commission cut on every Marketplace transaction, something that does not happen when an item is bought in-world. Eventually the comparison becomes “all those Marketplace micropayments” vs. “How much is being lost in tier costs from people who say screw it, and tier down.”

 

But for 14 months now, in-world search has remained a serious, serious problem for those whose businesses rely on it.

 

Into The Present

 

On May 25, it was announced that (finally) something was to be done about in-world search. It even included a Torley Linden video (seen below). Every time they get Torley to try to sell something, you know the Lab *really* wants you to buy into it.

 

However, despite all the “ooh shiny” there’s some other things in that announcement. Namely this bit (emphasis mine):

 

“New search will soon be available to you in the official SL Viewer and we will not be implementing it for the 1.23 Viewer. To be clear, you can still use the 1.23 Viewer, but search functionality will be impaired once new search is released into general availability, after the test period.”

 

Which means, ladies and gentlemen, that as I said months ago, Linden Lab is going to break the current version 1.x search. Though third party viewers based on 1.x code will have the option to implement this new search system into their viewers (Linden Lab says they plan on putting the new search into 1.23, but no timeline at all has been established on their doing so, which I tend to view as “never”), most third party viewers either have, or are trying to adopt a 2.x codebase, in order to keep current with new SL technologies. For those people who are still firmly resisting moving to a v2.x based viewer, some hard decisions may be on the horizon.

 

On Friday afternoon, a meeting with third party developers and the Lab took place, to discuss this issue. Here’s some of the highlights that may be of interest:

The new search system is out and live in a LL project viewer. (it should be noted that You do not need the new viewer to test the new search function).The new search system is going to completely replace the one currently in use. (Hallelujah).Third Party Viewer devs will get 60 days notice before viewer 1.x search effectively breaks.An API will be made available for viewer developers to get the data and present it without having to use the web page presentation.The new search system is planned for live release to Second Life residents on June 13.The old (current) search system will be going away in July.The new search system is not based on GSA at all, but rather on SOLR/Lucene, which will cost the Lab much less money to maintain. This search system is the one that has been installed into the new SL Marketplace, so this move will mean that both in-world and marketplace searches are operating under the same system.

 

The Ghost Of Searches Yet To Come

 

Of course, we won’t know how well this new system really works until it’s been in place a while, as results and changes will not be instantaneous. However it’s very important for the future of Second Life commerce that not only this new system work, but that it work with minimal problems. The past year has been incredibly hard on SL merchants, and should this be another disaster even more than have already thrown in the towel will have no choice but to do so.

 

For some merchants, it’s already too little, too late. Having been burned so badly by the search fiasco in the past year, they will not return. Some simply stopped doing business in SL. Some took their business elsewhere, like inworldz, or Avination. Some did a combination of both, or simply expanded into other grids to attempt to stop the haemorrhaging of money stemming from the loss of sales in Second Life.

 

It’s also important that this work strictly from the Lab’s point of view. This is a moment at which they could potentially lure people back into the virtual world to shore up losses from the past 18 months or so. Saving search, improving it, and creating a situation by which more money were pumped into the in-world economy can only be a good thing for Linden Lab on all fronts, not the least of which from a public relations standpoint.

 

We will know soon enough. The merchant community in SL, already frustrated and skeptical of the Lab’s ability to frankly so much as water a houseplant, will take some convincing. But if they can pull it off, the community will be grateful, as the influx of income tends to blur the edges around a lot of old wounds.

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Yet Another Social Network is Launched…Linden Lab Launches Social Profiles

Posted by | Social Media Marketing | 3 Comments

Yet Another Social Network is Launched…Linden Lab Launches Social Profiles

 

Just when you thought Google+ and Facebook provided you with enough choice… Well make room for one more, this week, the internet has been abuzz with anticipation on the social media front.

 

The limited beta release of Google+, a social networking service designed to compete directly with Facebook (it’s like Clash of the Titans, folks – place your bets) has proved so popular that Google was forced to shut down the invite process due to overwhelming demand. Though I haven’t heard yet whether or not the TOS over at Google+ will allow avatar accounts (admittedly, I got an invite and declined it), it seems like Linden Lab is taking matters into its own hands anyway, perhaps finally realizing that the only way to handle their public relations is to do it themselves – putting their eggs in their own basket.

 

In comments last week, Soror Nishi made an apt note about how jumping on a bandwagon is always a losing prospect. To win, one must think in advance, to figure out where the puck will be before it gets there. I agree, and it may be that someone on Battery Street agrees also. The problem with deciding where the puck will be, of course, is tricky business and mostly simple speculation based on whatever facts one has at hand.

 

In that spirit, I present the bits and pieces of the puzzle. Maybe together we can figure out the direction of the puck.

 

Job opening for Linden Lab

 

Earlier in the week it was noted on twitter (I got it about four retweets in, so I have no idea where it originated) that the Lab had posted a job opening for a Global Communications Director. Considering how poorly communication and public relations have been handled in the past(also see last week for that, too), I’m not sure whether to be grateful or surprised. Possibly both. Either way, it’s interesting, since it shows in the job description a focus on some key things worth noting. Some of the stand-out phrases used in the posting are these:

 

Build relationships with key media, drive recognition of Linden Lab
Of course there’s the question of what and who “key media” actually consists of, but it seems that there’s a focus in actually talking up the Lab to whomever that is. Note, however that it’s not specific to Second Life, which is not altogether a surprise. Also earlier in the week this tweet was let loose into the world, with the interesting note: To work on new products beyond #SecondLife Contact #Rodvik directly. So it may be that the focus on the Lab itself, and not Second Life is quite deliberate.

 

increasing awareness and further establishing Second Life as the leading virtual world among consumers/potential and current users.
Sadly, no surprise there. As always “current users” rates at the bottom of the barrel. Same as it ever was. But what it does seem to tacitly acknowledge is that other virtual worlds and grids even exist; that competition is out there and now they need to be seen as the leader of a pack rather than the only one in the room.

 

develop compelling narratives that articulate Second Lifeís proposition for consumers globally.
I admit, I laughed when I read this- really, out loud. “Compelling narratives” translates in my head to something I won’t write (because my editor will only have to pull it out anyway), but the curious part of that sentence is in “proposition for consumers”, and whether “consumers” refers to SL users in general or “consumers of content” which might show good signs for the merchant/economic base within Second Life.

 

Manage corporate blogging and Twitter social media outreach.
Here is where I get concerned. Social media is really a different specialty from public relations. Twitter has its own culture, which relies entirely on real give and take between people. Though many businesses have a presence on Twitter, as do many celebrities, the ones who are most successful at it by far are the ones who actually interact with the people following them- not as a megaphone, but as an ongoing conversation. To expect one person to handle general PR AND manage Twitter social media outreach is asking them to do the work of two different people. Oh and note, no one is mentioning Facebook.

 

At the same time, it was noted by Opensource Obscure that the Lab was beta testing something called “social profiles”, which finally makes a use out of the otherwise problematic web profiles that exist within the official viewer 2 release. But I’m getting ahead of things. Let’s back up.

 

Prior to the release of Viewer 2, your user profile was something self contained inworld and accessed solely through the viewer. It was completely self contained. Considering the fact that again, most people don’t want their Second Life and (anything else) to combine, this made a lot of sense. Here’s an example of a V1 profile:

 

Second Life version 1 profile

 

That changed when Viewer 2 was released in February of 2010. Profiles began being ported to the web. This change was generally not received well, and at least one Third Party Viewer(firestorm) has opted not to adopt the inclusion of web profiles into their v2 based viewer at all. The web profiles didn’t have a lot going for them, but they did have a whole lot of downsides:
-accessing a profile became much slower, and required a browser(either the internal one or your usual external browser) to get them open. It was just one more thing that could cause a crash. particularly on a slower or less powerful computer.

 

The editing mechanism changed slightly, so it was something else you needed to learn.

 

But most importantly, it required that you go in and set your profile settings very carefully, because if you didn’t, your profile could be accessible and public for the entire internet to see, making it searchable via search engines and cached and recorded. This sent people scrambling to check, double check, and triple check profile settings, many of them simply choosing to set them to inworld friends only. This caused a problem if anyone else (like say a merchant) was trying to contact them, requiring a multi step workaround to be able to find them at all. Some merchants finally threw up their hands and declared a new policy- if you are not listed in inworld search, there will be no support coming to you (I didn’t personally do this, but I know an awful lot of people who did, and frankly, I don’t blame them).

 

Second Life version 2 profile

 

To go along with the privacy scare are, as you can see, those ubiquitous tweet and like buttons, which would broadcast any visible profile all over the internet. This was not embraced warmly by the Second Life resident community (to say the least), and for some reason, the Lab simply refused to accept that SL residents would never warm to the notion of mixing SL/RL in large numbers.

 

But now, after the collapse of the Facebook maketing strategy, it seems that the Lab has taken matters into their own hands. They’ve created a social network using web based Second Life profiles. You can see this if you have an account here. Just change the YOURNAME at the end of the URL to your account name with the dot in the middle (ischade.stratten, my banking alt, in this example).

 

Social profiles in Second Life

 

The functionality isn’t quite in place yet, but as you can see in the photo above, there’s a way to post status messages, and early buzz says that more facebook or twitter like features could be added. It would be neat to be able to send someone a message inworld if you’re not logged in yourself. It looks like the Lab is creating a miniature version of FB right in their very own backyard (maybe someone’s finally learned something). The information it’s currently using is not generally accurate, as it seems to be coming from a test environmnent (possibly the beta grid, Aditi) and so if yours isn’t current, don’t sweat it- they’re still putting it together.

 

So it would seem that there is about to be a new and larger social media push, both within the Second Life platform itself through the use of this new social profile mechanism, as well as to the online world at large, since they’re looking for a global media director. That being the case, I expect to be hearing a lot from the Lab pretty soon. That’s where it looks like the puck is going, anyway.

 

At least they’ve figured out they have to do it themselves.

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Online Reputation: 5 Ways You’re Offending Online Customers

Posted by | Social Media Marketing | No Comments

online-reputation-fails

 

If your business has a web presence, then your customers expect a certain level of online service – but are you alienating customers by failing to respond on Twitter or to blog post comments, forum posts, emails, or other online communications?

 

Customer Expectations

 

Although a number of companies have set up websites, many don’t move beyond that first step online.

 

But once you have an online presence, your customers will increase their expectations accordingly.

 

They will expect you to respond rapidly to online communications. If you fail to do so because you’re not monitoring the channel they use, then they will feel ignored and snubbed – they won’t assume you simply don’t know about their comments.

 

Here are five ways your online business could be failing to deliver.

 

You Don’t Respond on Twitter

 

Many people use Twitter to complain about problems they’ve experienced with a company, and they aren’t just sounding off to their friends.

 

It’s simply accepted that large brands will be monitoring for mentions and will respond to complaints made through this public platform.

 

Even if you don’t actively use Twitter to engage with your customers, you should have searches set up for your brand. That way you can ask dissatisfied customers to direct message you their contact information and look into their complaints.

 

Actively responding online can turn a furious client into a satisfied one; it’s amazing the difference a bit of proactive customer service can make.

 

No One’s Replying to Comments Left on Your Blog

 

I understand that blogging can take time – you have to come up with ideas, write them up, proof them, and publish them.

 

But that’s not where the work ends. If you’ve published an article on your website and a customer responds with a comment or question, it’s important to respond.

 

After all, they have taken the time to read your thoughts – it’s only polite that you do the same when you’re using a sociable platform like a blog.

 

Make sure someone from your organization is responding to any questions raised; it’s just good netiquette.

 

Otherwise it looks as though you think the online conversation should only flow one way, and that’s not really the point of a blog.

 

They Get no Response to Emails

 

I recently purchased a toy for a friend’s baby through a well-known supplier and then emailed to check it was safe for a newborn.

 

After a week, I’d still had no reply, so I phoned and was told: “Well, we get hundreds of emails, so we don’t always get a chance to respond.”

 

This is unforgivable in any sized brand. If you share an email address, you are inviting people to contact you that way and so you have to be ready to respond.

 

It tends to be smaller brands with less of a web presence that offend customers this way, but it’s avoidable with just a couple of hours of extra admin time.

 

You Ignore Their Forum Comments

 

When the great online social revolution began, many larger businesses set up forums for their customers.

 

The idea was that customers would interact with each other, filling the pages with unique content and linking to interesting discussions, which is great for SEO.

 

But it didn’t quite work out like that. Many such forums ended up filled with spam, inflammatory comments, and rants, so companies quickly shut them down or simply backed away.

 

However, if you do still have a forum, then you can’t simply ignore it. Not only does a spam-filled mess of a forum harm your brand, you risk missing serious questions and complaints from real customers.

 

Either shut down your ineffective forum or ensure there is someone policing it, sparking genuine discussions and responding to real complaints, comments, and questions. Otherwise your visitors will feel ignored.

 

You Treat Online Communications Less Seriously Than Letters

 

This attitude seems particularly prevalent among smaller businesses. Because it’s easier for people to complain via the web than by writing a letter, they take online complaints less seriously.

 

Perhaps 10 years ago this might have been understandable; important communications were still predominantly made by mail.

 

But this has changed over recent years and many people routinely communicate by email, whether it’s casual or formal.

 

So don’t assume that their query is less important than one made by post – any customer who has bothered to contact you expects a swift and serious response.

 

It’s also a bad idea to ask them to put their complaint in a letter once they have contacted you by email – most people will feel that they are being ignored and delayed.

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YouTube Channel Honors Fallen Journalists

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YouTube Channel Honors Fallen Journalists

YouTube LogoYesterday, Steve Grove, Head of YouTube News and Politics, announced on both the Official Google Blog and Official YouTube Blog that the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Google and YouTube are together launching the Journalists Memorial channel on YouTube to remember the journalists who have died in the last year while reporting news around the world.

 

In his post on both blogs, Grove said, “As we become accustomed to nearly ubiquitous coverage of the news and events unfolding around the world, it’s easy to forget the price that is sometimes paid to obtain quality, accurate reporting on important stories—particularly in areas of conflict or in cases of government repression of the media.”

 

He added, “Their stories are incredible: heading into a street battle with no weapon other than your camera; talking about politics over the radio, only to be beaten to death with iron bars by a group of thugs on the way to work. The risks and sacrifices that many have made in order to provide us with accurate information is remarkable. On the Journalists Memorial channel you can watch a collection of videos representing these journalists’ lives and their work.”

 

Krishna Barat, the founder and head of Google News, delivered the keynote address at the Journalists Memorial Rededication Ceremony.

 

The Journalists Memorial channel on YouTube will become a digital version of the Newseum’s Journalists Memorial, which is re-dedicated annually to honor journalists worldwide who have died during the preceding year.

 

Yesterday, the names of 77 journalists who died or were killed while on assignment in 2010 were added to the memorial, which already included the names of more than 2,000 journalists who have been recognized for their sacrifices since 1837.

 

Free Foley

 

Meanwhile, Katie Rogers of The Washington Post reported today that several foreign journalists detained by the Libyan government could be released this week. This includes GlobalPost correspondent James Foley, Clare Morgana Gillis, who has written for The Atlantic and USA Today, and Manuel Varela, a Spanish photographer who works under the name Manu Brabo.  They have now been held in Tripoli for six weeks.

 

All three were taken together on April 5, 2011, by forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi while they were reporting on the outskirts of Brega, the eastern oil town that has seen some of the worst fighting since the conflict began.

 

A fourth journalist, South African Anton Hammerl, had also been with them at the time. But his whereabouts remain unknown.

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