I teach three classes at San Francisco State’s Integrated Marketing Program in the College of Extended Learning. This semester my Maximizing Search Engines class was the subject of a photo shoot. The class was a lot of fun despite the photographer and the ad turned out quite well too. A client called me on Monday morning to say they saw me in the San Francisco Chronicle. A nice surprise. I would have missed it had they not called. The newspaper was very thin, but the ad is sharp and arrogantly I think I look quite good. The students in the inset are all rock stars too. Here’s a photo I took with my iPhone:
I do love teaching. I learn so much from my students and it’s so fun to teach about things that are en vogue today. Don’t get me wrong, I believe search engine marketing and social media are where every company should be putting the majority of their marketing budgets, I just think it’s a bit ironic that the ad is in the newspaper when my classes are all about online marketing. Then again we’re promoting the Integrated Marketing Program and integrated means integrating online and offline, so as they say, “All ink is good ink,” and especially when you’re in print.
Do join us at the information session on May 13th. I’ll be there in person, which is after all the absolute best way to connect socially.
I’m not usually one to complain publicly about issues, but I think LinkedIn is missing a huge opportunity to improve user experience here.
Why LinkedIn Polls are Useless:
There is no way to share the poll to get feedback from your own network.
There is no way to share the poll on other social networks to solicit feedback
LinkedIn is not interested in fixing the issue.
So you have a business and you’re doing your due diligence and collecting feedback about your product or industry. LinkedIn seems like a good place to ask people for feedback because you’ve started building you network and there are people in it who may offer valuable opinions to your questions. You see a link to a poll that someone in your network has posted and because you’re like me and enjoy experimenting and learning by experience, you’re intrigued by the idea of creating your own poll on LinkedIn to see what kind of response you can get. So you set up the poll, which is really simple. Great job, LinkedIn, no problems there.
However, when you try to link to your handy dandy new poll to share it, you find you that the only share link that LinkedIn provides is one to the poll results. Well what good is that if no-one can find your poll and you can’t share it via Twitter, Facebook, your blog or other favorite social network? That’s right, a big fat zero! Thanks LinkedIn, you just lost my interest in this application.
So I wrote to LinkedIn customer support explaining that they are a little behind the times in this share economy that we live in today and suggested that they create a way for people to share the poll question screen with their network and provide a link to share this on other networks and here’s the response I received in return:
(LinkedIn – Katie)
03/01/2010 02:04 PM
Thank you for contacting LinkedIn Customer Support.
The functionality described is not available.
Have a great day and thank you for being a valued member of our LinkedIn community!
LinkedIn Customer Support
02/26/2010 02:11 PM
LinkedIn has received your question. A service professional will review and respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible. Thank you!
Check out our free Learning Center (http://learn.linkedin.com/training) offering learn at your own pace e-learning modules and free classes.
Search our online Customer Service Center (http://linkedin.custhelp.com) for LinkedIn FAQ topics.
Customer (Susan Barnes)
02/26/2010 02:11 PM
I would love to be able to share a poll that I create on LinkedIn with my other social networks so that I can get maximum reach and responses on the poll. Why don’t you make this easy?
I see the link to the results, but there is no link to share the actual poll.
In order to create a poll and share it with my LinkedIn network and other social communities, I am going to use something like Poll Daddy instead.
Several posts ago I talked about LOVE being the secret to social media. Well Starbucks has been doing their L-Listening and came up with this response to the “Where the Hell Is Matt?” movie which took the web by storm a few years ago, and also the wild success of the T-Mob Dance videos where people break out in dance at random train stations to the thrilling surprise of commuters.
The game to be the most viral video on the net is on and all the big brands are playing. Did you see Coke’s Happiness Machine? It’s not show me the money in social media, it’s show me the LOVE!
Starbucks is really playing to win though, because they’re playing on your heart-strings too. If you watch the movie all the way to the end, they ask you to share it, because for every voice added they donate to Fighting Aids in Africa. How charitable! How giving. How… loving?
The companion (campaign) website is also executed with lots of love. Check out the photo gallery displaying the ultimate in interactivity and enabling people to share the love through various social loveworks, I mean social networks.
What do you think of this strategy? Is it getting overplayed? Are you still enamored? Are you still in-love? Please share the love… um, I mean your comments below.
P.S. Use red for LOVE and remember… Love is all you need. xoxox
Since you’re reading this post, you either already know that I am Susan Barnes, or you found me through a search for “Susan Barnes.”
“So what?” you say. Well, as of the date of this post there are 1,130,000 results for a search on “Susan Barnes.” This number is likely to continue growing dramatically, so if you’re stumbling upon this post months or years after it was uploaded, look at the number of search results for Susan Barnes now.
How many search results does your name show on Google? Simply enter your name into the search box, and you’ll see either how common your name is, or how famous you are on Google. The higher the number of search results, the more common your name, and the more challenging it will be for you to get a first page ranking on Google or any other search engine for that matter, unless you control all the listings, because no-one else with your name is doing anything worth mentioning.
Since Susan Barnes is a very common name and there are several Susan Barnes’ with strong online presences (and also quite importantly that I am passionate about search engines,) I am intrigued by the phenomenon of getting a good ranking for your name on Google.
A recent book called Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of HubSpot recommend that if you are hiring anyone to do any web, social media or online marketing work for you, you must confirm that they have a good digital footprint. This means that if you were looking to hire Susan Barnes to help you with Internet Marketing or Social Media, you would want her name and profile to have a high ranking on the first page of Google.
Today (January 6, 2010) if you Google “Susan Barnes” you’ll see results for Susan Barnes the actress, Susan Barnes the author, who also has the Susan Barnes Twitter handle. There’s Susan Barnes the realtor in Orlando, Florida, Susan Barnes the Firegoddess jewelry maker, Susan Barnes the painter in Mendocino, California, (incidentally I used to do a lot of oil painting in college too,) Susan Barnes the writer, Susan Barnes the art historian, Susan Barnes the social media expert on the east coast, among 1,129,990 others. There’s even a Susan Barnes somewhere back east who has no period in her gmail account (susanbarnes @ gmail . com) where my personal email is susan . barnes @ gmail . com and for I frequently get her mail. This is very disconcerting, since I’m sure she is likely getting my mail as well. When is Google going to fix this problem? Larry? Sergei?
As I write this post, the Susan Barnes that is me, is indeed listed on the first page of Google, but currently only because I have a Google profile. So lesson number one for those of you with common names like “Susan Barnes,” make sure you create your public Google profile.
Other ways to get your name listed at the top of a Google search:
2. Be someone that other people want to write about, i.e. get your name eg. Susan Barnes linked from websites that don’t belong to you. This is the same for keywords and search engine optimization. If your keyword appears in link text, it has more value to a search engine.
3. Use your name as your handle in Social Networks. This particular Susan Barnes did not do that, because there are too many Susan Barnes’ in the world (yes I am a bit bitter… grrrrrrr) and when I tried to get SusanBarnes on Facebook, SusanBarnes on Twitter they were already taken. I am Susan Barnes Internet Solutions Consultant on LinkedIn, where I was able to use my name as my handle. I am using Susby on Facebook, Susby on Twitter and Susan Barnes on LinkedIn.
For good examples/role models, see George Kao,Chris Brogan, or Brian Solis.
4. Write a blog post about yourself like this one.
5. Register a domain name with your name it, like susanbarnes.com, susanbarnes.net or susanbarnesauthor.com or susanbarneswriter.com.
6. Use your name in the title tag and meta description of your page or post.
7. Participate in social networks, because reputation is the new currency. Every time you post to Twitter for example, Google is still picking it up and indexing it. What does that tell those of you who can’t fathom why anyone would use Twitter?
8. If all else fails, start a new presence with a catchy name like Shoemoney, Daggle or Susby, but you’ll still need to spend a ton of time blogging, tweeting, updating and participating in order to be considered someone worth listing to Google.
Thank you for reading about the many Susan Barnes’.
Now it’s your turn: What’s your name and how often do you appear in search results?
Video can be a very effective way to inform your customers and potential customers about your product.
I recently consulted with a very interesting company called iConfident in San Francisco’s Northbeach neighborhood. They create web-based software, which enables dentists and dental professionals to collaborate and communicate with great ease on things like dental implant parts.
I was working with them as part of a new venture with Click To Play Media and I was extremely impressed to learn of the success of a video produced by Click To Play Media, which has helped iConfident increase referrals by 70%. By adding the video to their “tell-a-colleague” form, they found that 70% more doctors and dentists were likely to send the referral along to their colleagues for a free trial as opposed to when there was no video. That is a huge difference.
So why is video so effective? Because the moving image is the closest thing to real life. If a video is well done, it can tell a story in a much shorter amount of time than it would take someone to read a description and it is easier to digest, because it is inherently entertaining and interesting. If you think about it, with moving pictures and audio, you have a much richer experience and it is far easier to grasp the gist of the story or idea. Since it’s more like You, you respond to it more quickly than plain text.
Click To Play Media captured testimonials of professionals using the product in a way that makes it easy for doctors who haven’t heard about the product understand the benefits and how iConfident can increase efficiency and save them money.
If you’re interested in creating a video for your company or product, please visit Click to Play Media and tell Anna you were referred by Susby.
Remember, without measurement, there is no success. You have to measure and track whatever you are doing to know how much progress you are making.
Without a goal, there is no where to go, no finish line, no end, and without benchmarks you have no idea where you are, or where the starting line is. So, let’s see where we are in terms of traffic to our websites and blogs and then set some goals so that we can start our journey to accomplish them.
Below is a step by step process for putting a Google Analytics tracking code on your site or blog. If you don’t have a website or blog, then this post is probably not for you, but it you are interested in learning more about how to track visits to your site or blog, for free and with less than 15 minutes of set up time, please follow the instructions below.
If you don’t have a blog, set one up at http://www.blogger.com
You may need to create a Google Account to do this.
Once you have set up your blog. Create a few posts or entries about something you are interested in.
View your blog and copy the URL (from the address bar) of your blog
Once you are logged in, look for the “Add Website Profile” link
2011-11-11 Update: If you don’t see the Add Website Profile link, look on the right hand side of the screen for “My Analytics Accounts: Select an account” and a drop down menu. Select “Create New Account” at the bottom of the drop down menu.
Click the Sign Up >> button
Paste your URL into the Add a Profile for a new domain field. It is important that you paste YOUR URL, i.e. only a website address or blog address that you have control of. You can NOT track a website or blog that you do not control. You may only track your own sites and blog.
Click the Continue >> button
Enter your Last Name and First Name and select your country, then click the Continue >> button
Agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box and then click the Create New Account >> button
Copy the script code on the following screen where you see “2. Paste this code onto your site.”
In blogger, go back to your blog and get to the dashboard, i.e. click new post or edit posts. In your website, you will be copying the script into each page, just before the closing </head> tag. If you have a website set up with a template, you may only need to do this once in a footer file. (If you are not using Blogger, skip to step 15.)
In Blogger, click on the Design tab, and then
Click on the Edit HTML link
Do a find [on a Windows machine, hold down the Ctrl + F keys at the same time, on a Mac hold down Command +F] for </head> in the HTML code page. Add a line break before you paste so that it works well.
Save the template and/or your work if you are not in blogger.
Go back to Google Analytics, which you still have open in another window or tab, and click “Save and Finish”
You will see a yellow triangle with an exclamation point in it. IMPORTANT: It takes 24 hours for the tracking to start happening. If everything is working correctly, in an hour or two, you should see a clock symbol, meaning that Google is “waiting for data.” Check back in 24 hours to make sure the tracking is working and ask your friends to visit your site or blog so that you can see some activity. When everything is working correctly, you’ll see a green checkmark next to the site when you next log into Google Analytics.
If you have any questions about any of the above steps, please leave a comment. Happy tracking!
For the past few months, I have been fortunate to work with D’Layna Huguez-Dixon, Founder and President of Vocal Downloads for the redesign of the Vocal Downloads website. We were a small team with D’Layna doing a lot of the heavy lifting, I consulting on the project specifications, testing, some Flash animation, graphics optimization and requirements documentation, and one programmer to do all the code changes.
It has been quite a journey and we have finally reached destination number one: Phase 1 launch.
D’Layna’s emails all end with a quote which helps me understand her drive and also why I admire her so much. The quote is:
“If your vision is not your obsession, it will never be in your possession.”
Here’s a picture of before, and be sure to check out the after too.
Vocal Downloads Previously
New Vocal Downloads Design
There are many new features including an annual subscription product, enhanced display of samples with expand and collapse options, new member profile and login functionality and the ability to save samples to your crate for purchasing and downloading later. Oh, and right out of the gate the site has a great website grade in terms of SEO as well.
I am so proud of D’Layna for her persistence and courage on this project. It is a labor of love and D’Layna has shown both the labor and the love in great abundance.
Please check out the redesigned website and let us know if you have any suggestions, observations or recommendations.
If you have a new website or even an old one that you haven’t looked at much in terms of how it performs on search engines, the following checklist will assist you in getting your website optimized for best performance in the free or organic listings on search engines and also what to look for and do if you are considering paid search.
Remember: If you are not on the first page of the search results, it is unlikely your listing will be clicked. People simply very seldom look further than the first page of search results.
Search Engine Marketing (SEO and SEM) Checklist
Are your Title tags describing the content on each page of your site effectively?
Do your Meta description and keyword tags accurately reflect the content on each page of your site?
Do you have Alt tags on each image?
Are you using real text for content (instead of graphics with text in them)?
Are you including keywords and are the keywords relevant to the content on each page?
Content: How good is it? If it’s not great, don’t expect a lot.
Is your site and content shareable?
Do you have an RSS feed set up?
How many links are coming into your site?
Can you think of people, site owners who would be willing to link to your site and content?
Have you asked those people to link to you?
Is your site link-worthy?
Have you submitted your site to search engines?
Have you started a blog and/or posted articles about your area of expertise or the product or service you are promoting with your site?
Are you checking how you rank against competitors for particular keyword terms?
Is your content fresh?
Have you run your site through http://website.grader.com?
SEM (Paid Search)
If you are unable to get a top page organic search result, have you considered paid search? Since Google has 84% market share, its AdWords Program is a good place to begin.
Are you choosing your keyword terms effectively?
Are you monitoring which ads are working better than others?
Are you monitoring which keywords are your best performers?
Do you have goals set up in your paid search tool? Is your site listed in as many places as possible?
How focused is each page of your site around a particular keyword term?
What are the top 5 keywords that people are finding you with on search engines?
Do you have pages dedicated to those top 5 keywords?
Save the date: September 25, 2009 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
I am honored to have been invited and excited to be giving a presentation titled “An Introduction to Social Networking: Tools to Grow Your Business, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…what works for you?” The presentation is to women entrepreneurs as part of a joint effort by Honorable Jane Brunner, Oakland City Council President and the East Bay Community Foundation. It is one of many presentations in Councilperson Jane Brunner’s “Women In Business” Brownbag Lunch Series – Informative workshops targeted at women entrepreneurs.