Author: Josh Peters

My first week at The Search Agency pt 5

The Royal TenenbaumsThe title is a bit of  a misnomer in this case because I’m not actually at the The Search Agency today. It’s Friday and that means I’m hoboworking in the Monrovia / Arcadia / Sierra Madre area. Hopping from one wireless hub to the next  and fueled by good coffee, great music, and relaxing in the “small town” environments of this area of CA.

I have to say, this definitely helps with the adjustment from being on my own to in an office. The fact that every Friday I can resume my old work habits of working where ever I want when I want that day is nice, and it’s another example of why I think The Search Agency has been so successful, they actually care about their employees time.

Every Friday you are able to work from home if you live outside of a certain mileage to help relieve some of the stress that commuting in this part of the country can cause (my 44 mile & 1.5 – 2 hour commute gets old real fast). The need for getting up early and rushing through a morning routine just to get stuck in traffic is gone and replaced with having a nice sit down breakfast at a local dinerfollowed by a couple hours of listening to Pandora and working from a local coffee shop. Or I can put on a movie I’ve seen a million times and write strategy documentation from my couch.

Now the question that should follow this is… what’s the value to the business? Why would they allow their employees to run wild one work day per week?

Employee Benefits

  1. Instead of taking a whole day off of work to make it to the doctor’s, dentist, oil change, etc. You can just wait till Friday, go to your local service location and then enjoy some coffee and spreadsheets after / while waiting.
  2. One less day of the “daily grind”, traffic, and meetings. One more day of “uninterrupted” productivity.
  3. More time with friends and family.
  4. The feeling that you have a “real job” and you can do it from anywhere just feel nice.
  5. The change of scenery is refreshing, it’s really nice to be able to look out the window and see something else.Sierra Madre

Employer Benefits

  1. Employees taking less time off for things like doctor, dentist, and car based appointments.
  2. Employees feel more refreshed and energized when they come back to work on Monday.
  3. Employees know their employer cares about them and their time.
  4. Employees see that their employer trusts them and treats them like adults. No need to constantly supervise their every action. This results in loyalty and reciprocal trust.
  5. Probably saves some amount in utilities with conference rooms, work stations, and appliances not being used (but I have no hard data on this).

For the most part the benefits of this work from home Friday setup has no real tangible benefits. It can’t be quantified on a spreadsheet, it can’t be placed on a quarterly financial review, and it can’t be used in any kind of ROI equation for investments in the work staff. It’s all about what it does for everyone mentally, it’s one of those “we know it’s good for the people so we’re going to do it” kind of things.

Does your employer do anything like this? I’d like to hear about it if they do.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll now resume normal blog posts.

Josh “Shua” Peters

 

P.S. Check out my post today on NMM about the Features And Benefits Of Social Media

ChromeDeck, it’s TweetDeck for Google Chrome

Check this out Google Chrome users, TweetDeck has created an app, named ChromeDeck, that runs it’s multi-column twitter client in a tab. How cool is that?

Typically I use two monitors to work. On my laptop’s screen I have my email, Chrome, a note pad, and Pandora open. On my second monitor I have TweetDeck and Evernote going. For me this is how I am the most efficient, but at least 2x a week I’m not in an office. I’m out hoboworking from whatever coffee shop or cafe will have me and I’m definitely not lugging another monitor around.

On those days I’m grateful for ChromeDeck. It doesn’t slow down Chrome much, and makes one less window I have to switch between and lessens the separation anxiety when I’m away from my second monitor and all of it’s glorious screen real estate.

How Does ChromeDeck Compare to TweetDeck?
Pretty well.

Between the two I still prefer the desktop Adobe Air app,  but the Chrome version can hold it’s own. Even though it’s in a slightly different layout we still get all the features we’ve come to expect and love. Multi-column and multi-account controls, searches, and viewing lists.  It even does automatic link shortening via bit.ly.

In short there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try and let me know what you think about it.

Josh “Shua” Peters

Win a copy of The Now Revolution by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

Free Now RevolutionAs promised I’m giving away a copy of the The NOW Revolution (7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social) by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. It’s going to be quite simple to win, all you need to do is tweet a post from New Mix Marketing with the tag #NMMBlog. Each tweet gets an entry into the drawing which will be held one week from today (the 16th).

Thanks for reading and good luck,
Josh “Shua” Peters

NMM: The birth of the CCO… Chief Culture Officer

CCO Chief Culture OfficerWe’re seeing new titles of Social Media Manager, Director, etc. lately. I’ve even seen an opening or two for a VP of Social Media and one CSMO (Chief Social Media Officer). How far away is the CCO or CCCO? Is this the next evolution of business, is it the next big workplace revolution? One where a company measures it’s success not in just dollars and cents but in employee happiness and internal communication?

Weigh in on this topic on the New Mix Marketing blog and tell us if you think we’re about to see the birth of (and major acceptance of) the Chief Culture Officer?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

4 concepts to optimize and simplify your online presence

4 concepts to optimize and simplify your online presenceHow does your online presence and content make you feel? Happy, content and a little giddy or scared, confused, and a little upset? If it’s the first one then give yourself a break and enjoy a little entertainment. If it’s the second one, then read on and lets do something about it.

Before starting with a new client I always start with the same 4 concepts:

Mission Statement
AIDA
MAD-R
SWOT

Once I’ve gathered as much info as I can using these 4 concepts is when I then begin the strategic and tactical planning. After all, knowing is half the battle.

Mission Statement
A good mission statement is a powerful thing. It can focus activities, inspire individuals, commit resources, fuel corporate communications, clarify marketing messaging, and provide guidelines for tactical and strategic planning. It should be the guiding force behind your decisions because it’s what your company stands for.

When was the last time you looked at your company’s mission statement? Do you have a mission statement? If you don’t have one then get on it right now. If you have one then pull it out and see how everything compares.

Does your content support your mission statement or is it in opposition of it? Do your profiles and campaigns work to further your mission? Let this be your “guiding light”.

AIDA
AIDA stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. It doesn’t matter what tools or platforms you’re using for your marketing the classic AIDA model can help you organize, define, and focus all of your online activities.

Figuring out where everything falls in this classic sales & marketing funnel will help define a purpose and style for everything. It will help you understand what’s happening in your processes and why.

MAD-R
Money, Authority, Desire, and Response. MAD-R are the attributes that define what a market is. When you find these attributes in a much higher concentration then it’s considered a target market. Do you have these laid out for your customers?

Knowing these attributes will help define your messaging. It will define the words you use, the keywords you strive to rank for, even the jargon you associate with your business and your products. Knowing exactly who your target market is and why they’re your target market can make a huge difference in the content you create, the things you say, and the decisions you make.

SWOT
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You probably did this when building the business plan for your company and now is the time to revisit it.

SWOT can be applied to any part of your business or the business as a whole. Run a SWOT analysis on your marketing to see where you can make improvements and build better campaigns. Use it to analyze sales and customer service to find ways to improve their results. It’s another classically powerful way to help simplify and optimize your business.

When you combine the power of knowing exactly what direction you want to go, funnel organization, customer info, and objective analysis your decisions become easier. Using these concepts will help to organize and clarify your messaging and simplify and optimize your online presence.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Pandora and Facebook make beautiful music together

Pandora FacebookYesterday I was stunned when I went to Pandora‘s site and the music of Blaqk Audio started playing before I even signed in. I double checked Foobar to make sure it wasn’t playing, checked other tabs to see where the music was playing from and then I noticed the little bar pictured to the right.

How great is that? Pandora has integrated with Facebook and could tell what I would like to hear based on my Facebook profile (which I was signed into at the time).  I don’t know when they did this but it’s genius, and I have to wonder why other sites aren’t doing the same.

Could Amazon increase their sales even more if when you went to their site they had a “based on your Facebook profile we recommend” section? What if IMDB presented you with a previews of movies you do / might like based on your Facebook profile.

What about brick and mortar stores with an online presence? BevMo could have a “playlist” of beverages ready for you to select from. Target could build a suggested shopping list. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Sign in to Facebook and head over to Pandora and let me know how it worked for you, and while you’re at it can you think of other places where this kind of technology would be helpful?

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Social Media Integration – How do all the pieces fit?

Social media integrationSocial Media Integration takes several forms (Inside, outside, local, global, enterprise, etc.), all of which take some major planning and time to execute. However, there are some basics that you can tackle and start building on your existing Internet marketing tactics.

SEM (SEO / PPC)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is all about getting people you find you and your products via search engines. As such there is a lot of target content, landing pages, etc. that can be used for your social media usage as well.

SEO

There have been several studies done to show that brands engaging in social media are much more likely to be searched for. With your SEO efforts in full swing you will have better control of what people see when they search for you. Also, you can ensure that your social profiles are linking back to perfectly optimized pages.

PPC

If you’re doing PPC right you’ll have target landing pages created for your campaigns. These pages should have gone through A/B testing, SEO, and user testing to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your PPC dollars. These pages are the links you want to send out via your social profiles. Be sure to use a link tracking service to see how the links are doing.

Email Marketing

Put links to your relevant social profiles in the emails and display them prominently. This should help you build your community from existing customers / fans. You can also export your email list to a gmail account and then have Twitter find people for you to follow who subscribe to your email.

Tip: If you’re going to create a list on Twitter of people you find this way, make it a private list.

Media Buys

If you buy ad space online then be sure to include the icons for the social outposts you use. This gives people the ability to go and get more information about you. While ad CTR typically hovers around 1%, and demonstrates our lack of interest in traditional marketing, it doesn’t demonstrate our lack of curiosity.

Press Releases

The cornerstone of PR is a great place to promote your social profiles. At the end of your press releases add the line “for more information check out our web site or look us up on Twitter and Facebook” with links to all three. Here is a good way for people to move from something static (release) to something dynamic (your interactive profiles).

Design

Your social icons / links should be placed prominently on your site. If you’re using these tools then use them properly and be proud of it. Give your customers more ways to contact you and interact with you. Build more value into your online presence and integrate your feeds on your site (where appropriate).

Personally, the first thing I do when looking at a company is see if they have a Twitter, Facebook, etc. account and then look at them. Based on what I see is what I base my initial opinion on and then move from there. I’m not alone either, as more and more people are getting involved they’re expecting more and more from companies.

What do you think? Anything else that should get added to the basics list?

Thanks for reading,
Josh S Peters

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Today I was speaking with one of my coaching clients and he asked me “Is there a Twitter cheat sheet anywhere I can get?” In TwittFaced (Your Toolkit for Understanding and Maximizing Social Media) my co-author and I cover Twitter basics and ideals extensively, but I have yet to do that here.Well friends, that’s what this post is.

The Twitter cheat sheet is a quick and dirty primer on Twitter. I’ll cover some of the basic terms, symbols, and ideas behind using Twitter. If you’re reading this in your email or RSS reader and don’t think it will be helpful to you, please send it on to beginner who might benefit, thanks.

Twitter Cheat Sheet

Twitter is a communication and networking powerhouse that connects people to each other, ideas, and topics. It’s a way for businesses to connect to their customers, get feed back, and interact with the people who enjoy their products enough to talk about them. The problem, for some, is getting started and understanding the symbols and terms used on Twitter everyday.

Twitter Symbols and Terminology

@ – The at sign is how you talk to people. Anytime you see @ followed by a username the message is either being directed at, or referencing to that person.

  • ex: @JoshSPeters Thanks for putting together the Twitter cheat sheet, it’s awesome!
  • ex: I really enjoy @JayBaer‘s blog. It’s very insightful and informative. You should check it out.

# – The hashtag denotes a topic, event, idea, etc. that your tweet pertains to. The tag can be placed any where in the tweet, but is often put towards the end.

Twitter Cheat Sheet Hash Tag

RT – This stands for ReTweet. It’s a way of echoing what someone says, or sharing what someone has said with your own followers.

Twitter Cheat Sheet RT

Fav – The little star icon that comes next to tweets (on Twitter.com) is how you favorite a tweet. Favoring a tweet is a way to collect tweets you find inspirational or to save for later if you’re on a mobile device

Twitter Cheat Sheet Favorite

DM – Stands for Direct Message. This is a private message sent between two people that only those two people can see.

Twitter Cheat Sheet Advice

When picking your Twitter name give it some thought. Try to get your own name if possible. If not, then try to get something that represents you, and don’t fret too much about it, because you can always change it later.

Fill out your profile! Put your real location (so people can find you) and HONESTLY fill out your bio. Make it interesting and don’t just stuff it full of keywords and banal crap, tell us who you are and what you like.

When it comes to Twitter who you follow is completely up to you. Just because someone follows you does NOT mean you have to follow them back. It’s all up to you.

Amount of followers someone has doesn’t mean much, in fact the amount of Twitter followers someone has could mean nothing at all. The value you get from Twitter is all from who you follow and why.

Can’t figure out where to start? Just jump right in. Find some people in your area and just start talking to them. Connect to some new people and make some new friends. After all that’s what Twitter is all about.

Use a link shortener like Bit.ly to share your links. This will help you use fewer characters for links in your precious 140 limit per message.

Once you start following 100+ people it’s a good idea to start using a 3rd party Twitter app like TweetDeck to help you “manage the madness”.

Be sure to send more @ messages than links or updates. This is a medium for 1) Connecting 2) Communicating 3)Sharing. You will never get beyond the introductory stages of Twitter if all you do is broadcast crap all day long.

If you have any Twitter related questions or have some tips of your own please add them to the comments below

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

How I’m cheating on Twitter

CrapwareI hate crapware. I’ve written and spoken about how much I hate it. It’s the reason why Twitter numbers mean nothing, it’s why you can’t just look at someone’s account and say “wow, they’re doing great!”, and it’s why you should be suspicious if an agency or consultant you’ve hired shows explosive growth for no real reason.

Another reason I detest crapware so much is that one of the corner stones of the social media evolution is transparency; using this stuff is anything but transparent. It’s a way of being lazy, of gaming the system, and turning social media into nothing more than a meaningless numbers game; reducing it from communications and relationships to a high school popularity contest.

However, I’m not an unreasonable man. Maybe, just maybe I’m not giving this stuff a fair shake. Maybe I’m not really doing it justice and I’m jumping to conclusions. Maybe there really is some hidden value behind these systems.

The Crapware Experiment

A while ago I created the Twitter account SMFeeds to constantly feed me, and anyone else who cared, posts from what I consider to be the best social media blogs on the web. Using this account I amassed a staggering 84 followers without doing anything more than just existing and retweeting posts from it.

The account has no business or popularity objective,  it has no real reason for existing other than that I want it to. That is why it’s absolutely perfect for this experiment.

10 days ago I signed up for a newcomer in the automated follower arena followATHON. This is a free service that supposedly helps you “Get tons of followers for free!” and “with followers who actually want to follow you”. It’s free because it places an ad for itself in your Twitter stream 3x a day.

Sounding too good to be true, I signed up SMFeeds for it and in the last 10 days it’s gained 10 whole followers, but is now following over 300. As of right now It’s not exactly a run away success.

The Metrics

Every Monday I’m checking the account and taking stock of what progress has occurred in the last week.

  1. Following
  2. Followers
  3. RTs
  4. Positive @s
  5. Negative @s (people upset at the account using followATHON)
  6. Average link clicks
  7. Total link clicks

I took stock of each stat the week before to establish a base, and I’ll be running it for 3 months. Each month I’ll give an update on the progress with the stats. At the end of 3 months I’ll switch to another crapware and let it run for 3 months. My current plan is to just keep doing it, until I run out of crapware to test.

How you can help

In the comments below list some of the crapware you come across so I can test them here. Depending on how many programs I get, I might adjust the scope and duration of the testing. Right now I’m planning on using followATHON, Tweet Adder, Twitter Adder, Twillow, and then some kind of simple auto-follow service before returning to normal.

I realize it would be better to test each one head to head, and I have plans for that kind of test down the road, but first I want to see how they all stack up using the same account and how they build on the “success” of each other.

Thanks for reading,
Josh “Shua” Peters

Where Do Forums Fit Into Social Media Marketing?

When managing a company’s online presence, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of becoming fixated on only one aspect of social media. However, if you’re in charge of managing social media for a business, it’s important to give consideration to all facets and that includes forums.

As someone that previously worked at an internet marketing company, I was always amused when a client would become obsessed with their Facebook or Myspace profile (yes, this was a few years back) and ask us to dedicate an unreasonable amount of resources to managing it. It was usually the higher up suits that hear the word “Facebook” all the time and automatically conclude it would be best to dedicate 100% of their resources to it.

What I wish clients like that would realize is that each aspect of social media is only a tool (if you haven’t already, read Josh’s post on social media ROI). Just because something is popular, it doesn’t mean you will be automatically riding that popularity too if you use it. Whether the tool is Twitter, Facebook, forums, or something else… the specific tool won’t determine your ROI. What will determine your ROI is the talent of the person in charge of a particular tool.

Where do forums fit in?
As mentioned, it’s easy for businesses to fall into the trap of only focusing on whatever is hottest and newest. If that works for them, great! But at the same time, it’s important to dedicate some resources to other areas of social media. Let me give you an example…

On my site, I would prefer the discussion to revolve around positive things like credit card deals, but a lot of people come to the site just to complain about a particular credit card. For example, this negative thread recently popped up about GE Money Bank credit cards. This thread is still young which means GE Money Bank could easily reply and calm down the original poster, but they don’t bother.

In fact, there are purported complaints on many forums and blogs about their credit cards but to the best of my knowledge, I have never seen GE Money Bank respond and try to make peace with anyone. However, GE Money Bank appears to dedicate adequate resources to their Twitter account and addresses any concerns or complaints that are tweeted.

In a nutshell, they have Twitter covered but are ignoring other social media outlets. Does that make sense? Especially being that the aforementioned forum thread about GE Money Bank credit cards might very well be showing up in searches for years to come. To me, the logical thing to would be to address all areas of social media instead of only focusing on Twitter and Facebook. This is why I always encourage credit card companies to come on the site and interact with the posters, but thus far, only one or two ever have.

Plastic surgeons get it
If there’s one industry that understands the importance of diversifying resources, it seems to be the big city plastic surgeons. When I worked at an internet marketing company in Los Angeles, strangely enough it was only the plastic surgeon clients that right off the bat understood the importance of keeping tabs on all facets of social media. They were less concerned about what social media site/service was hot, and more focused on covering everything.

I know many plastic surgeons would prowl the plastic surgery message boards themselves and as soon as anything negative was posted, they would go into defense mode and reply with their side of the story. One rhinoplasty surgeon I knew even teamed up with a plastic surgery forum, by having them create his own board on the site where he would do Q&A with the posters… now that’s smart!

The lesson?
Take a cue from the hot shot Beverly Hills plastic surgeons… if you’re responsible for managing social media, make sure you pay attention to all areas. The amount of weight needed for each area varies depending on the type of business, but all I’m saying is to at least make sure you consider everything that’s out there.

This post was contributed by guest blogger & ex-internet marketer Michael who writes about credit card deals on his site CreditCardForum.