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Archive for August, 2010

5 Myths about Twitter

I must admit: I have a bad taste with Twitter and my experiences with this micro-blogging bullshit are somehow contradictory. As I said earlier, I have several accounts. Now I’m partially in charge with another account, one with 5000+ followers, and the most deceptive results are coming right from this account with 5.000+ followers, while the most encouraging results are coming from an account with only 50 followers. But there is a slight difference between those accounts:

  • The first one was initially setup by somebody who is a “pro”. In short time, using automated technics (but not bot posting), the pro gathered over 5.000 unresponsive accounts. The accounts are real, no doubt about this. But most of them are junk. They are not in our target, they are not really interested to follow us but to get one more follower, and so on. I browsed through their profiles and I was shocked: all of them are followed by thousands and following thousands. If we apply my twitter follower value algorithm, these are useless followers. You can have 1 million such followers with no results for your brand, business or marketing goals. They are useless, GOD DAMNIT!
  • On the other hand, the little account is used to promote a free classifieds website from New Zealand. I choose to gather only kiwi followers and to interact only with kiwi followers and position this account as a kiwi account – which in fact, it really is. In one month, traffic went up and so the interest towards this website, which is now ranked as 3rd kiwi free classifieds website (my team’s goal is to make it 2nd). Although we used automated technics, we didn’t over do it. And our goal wasn’t to gather thousand of followers, but to get responsive and attentive followers.

Based on my experience, and not only, here are the 5 myths that anyone should know about Twitter:

  1. “Twitter can make you famous.” Wrong. You are famous on Twitter if you are already famous on real life. Build your personality or your brand on real life, than jump with it into Twitter. Browse this list of the most followed accounts and observe that they are, in fact, real life celebrities.
  2. “Every Twitter follower is a potential customer.” Wrong. Be assured that somebody who follows more than 5-600 Twitter accounts (with you between those 5-600) has no interest in any account. “Potential” customers are only those who spare their attention carefully and don’t just follow to be followed.
  3. “Your customers are on Twitter.” Wrong. Your customers are right where they were before Twitter was invented. And in order to reach them, you should use classic advertising techniques: coupons, flyers, tv ads and so on. For internet audiences, use what works better: pay per click advertising. Google Adwords is the king of online advertising and will stay so many years to come, but you can also use Yahoo! Advertising, Microsoft Adcenter, Chitika Ads and many more.
  4. “The most precious Twitter accounts are those that have many followers”. Wrong. The most precious Twitter accounts are those that have the most targeted, attentive and responsive followers. For a brand like Dell (that sells millions of computers each year, worldwide) it’s normal to have several successful accounts on Twitter, each one with millions of followers (check this one, taken randomly). For a small software house like CoffeeCup, is normal to have a Twitter account with only 2100+ followers. For a startup web service, is normal to have an account with only 50 followers. There is no “success recipe” for managing a Twitter account, just develop naturally your brand and followers will come in.
  5. “Twitter is an online conversation tool”. Maybe for perverts. A conversation is an intimate, private communication act betweeen two or more persons. When in public, this communication act becomes a debate or a public answer, but not a personal conversation. Many people think that twittering something @userA will engage a personal conversation with userA. No, it will trigger at most a public answer.

How to Optimize your Adwords Campaigns. It’s easy!

Despite the existence of a huge litterature about Adwords tips, despite a very good online help centre, I always meet people that commit fundamental errors when setting up their Adwords account. The most frequent mistake is to write a single ad and to have a single ad group for a lot of keywords. Here are some basic rules that any beginner should take into consideration:

1. Establish your objectives. What do you want to obtain with this campaign? More sells? Awarness? Newsletter subscribers? Any of the above? All?

2. Break your objective (or objectives) into themes. What are you trying to do with your Adwords campaign? Do you want to sell one or more products? Do you want to sell one ore more services? Do you want to gain users? Do you want to get subscribers? Etc. Try to understand what do you want to get from your campaign. If you want to sell several products, each one is a “theme”. If you want to sell several services, each one is a “theme”. If you want to get users, some ads and incentives should be used with users A, and other with users B. And so on. Try to understand as deep as possible the niches of your market. Each niche should be the basis for a single “theme”.

3. Define different keywords for each theme. Don’t mess the keywords. Use “plumbers” for ads related to plumbing and “cars” for ads related to cars. Add variations related to your offer: “plumbers in calgary“, “cheap cars” etc.

4. Create ad groups for every theme and create at least 3 ads for every ad group. Google Adwords system uses a very nice feature called “optimized ad rotation”: the ads are rotated until the system determines which one is the best performing. Then it will display only this ad. You can delete the other ads and write another ads,  and the system will start assessing again. Never ever write a single ad and keep that ad running without revisions!

5. Pay attention to the landing page. As a rule of thumb, try to include keywords in ad title, ad text and on landing page. For example, if you have an e-commerce website, send “blue widgets” users to the page where they can buy “blue widgets”, and “red widgets” users to the page where they can buy “red widgets”. More the landing page is related to your ads, more your ads’ Quality Score will increase. If you don’t have a page suitable to act as a  landing page, just create one from scratch.

6. Measure your results. The great tip about online advertising, compared to TV ads or print leaflets, is that results can be measured very easy. Setup tracking codes on your website and establish clear objectives: do you want to sell a product? Then you probably have an e-commerce website, so you can measure how many times the “thank you!” page have been accessed through Adwords. Do you want to sell services? Then you can measure how many times your visitors accessed the contact form coming from Google Adwords. And so on. People contact you always by phone? No problem: open an online profile with Google Local (and in order to strenghten your Google Local position, you can open one with PinBud.com, too – and many other local search engines), fill in a dedicated phone number and link this account to your Google Adwords campaign.

7. Always improve. Don’t set up the campaign and then wait for the results to come in. Improve, innovate and try! Make changes at least once every 4-5 months (I would recommend once every 3 months). Keep an eye on competition and see if one’s ads are constantly better positioned then your ads. Either the competitor pays a much bigger amount of money for each click, or his ads are simply better and you could learn from them.

Have a profitable campaign!

Writting lens on Squidoo

Free content websites like Squidoo are a great source of getting backlinks and, why not, visitors. I definitely recommend for any business to build a Squidoo profile.

Squidoo pages are called “lens”, but in fact Squidoo is nothing more than a wikipedia. Anyone can write anything. But unlike Wikipedia, the posting process is very easy and the content can be corrected or changed only by the original poster, the “lensmaster”.  This is why we can find on Squidoo several pages covering the same topic:

Squidoo also lets you insert videos, RSS feeds and many more, so the final product will truly be very informative, nice to read, easy to understand. Then you can promote the page either on Squidoo itself or through external links and websites.

For example, this is the page that I’ve write for PinBud: http://www.squidoo.com/pinbud . As anyone can see I was able to insert a lot of content and the page looks so well now, that we’ll use it as an online flyer.

Squidoo links are do-follow, so they are adding some link juice to your website. Other free webpage builders are Hubpages and Wetpaint. However, avoid to duplicate your content over and over.