The Goodness Engine

A few months ago, many of the brightest minds in the social media space came together for a common good. A Meet up dubbed the “Social Hackathon” was created, sponsorship by Bing and Windows Live Hotmail, with the purpose of helping Donorschoose.org address their marketing problems. Attendees of this event included names such as Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter and representatives from Twitter, Facebook, Bing, Google and more.

The event was a brainstorming session to help not only DonorsChoose, but non-profits learn a variety of techniques that will help them drive online traffic to their site, increase donations, and manage online engagement. It is important to note that the strategies developed in this session will not only apply to non-profits but for any business with the desire to improve their online presence.

A free e-book was created, featuring many of the ideas shared during this brainstorming session, as well videos including interviews with the experts who attended:

The Goodness Engine E-book
The Videos
Downloadable Whiteboard notes
Bing’s post

The book discusses what the Social Hackothon is,  and some of the challenges faced by DonorsChoose.org. There are several excellent tips within the book including the use of e-mail marketing, telling a story, usability and more.


Learn From Big Brands

I wanted to take a moment to share a brilliant PPC marketing strategy by Converse. Watch the video below to learn more:


Unfortunately, this strategy would not work well for many small to medium sized businesses due to resource and budget constraints. However, it is nice to see large brands focusing on more creative tactics such as this, instead of throwing money into their ads without much thought. The video also serves well to get your creative juices flowing.

Instead of using this tactic in PPC, you can use it to help boost traffic to your business blog. I often suggest that owners of business blogs use these types of long tail queries and questions when brainstorming ideas for their posts. If you can come up with an interesting, relevant post that addresses this query, you have just attracted a potential customer to your site.

For example, if you are a small business selling beauty products you may see searches like “How to get rid of under eye circles” suggested as a search term. Your post can not only help the reader, by explaining ways they can achieve this at home (gaining their trust) while also pointing them to products you have available that can help with this. By solving that searchers question – you have developed a relationship with the reader while getting your products and services noticed.

I also suggest developing a list of these types of queries and creating a “Common Questions” section within your website or blog. Don’t just sell products, sell products by delivering solutions to common issues. You can place these questions right in the side of your blog, or even as a drop down menu where customers are already searching.

Don’t forget to combine this with the power of social media. If you see a problem common to one you have answered on your website, send them a tweet with a link. Going back to our example of dark circles under your eyes, you can use Twitter to search for phrases similar to this and create a feed that you can follow.

What ideas have you used, or would you like to share?


Rockmelt: My Thoughts and Review

Rockmelt – the new social web browser has been in private beta since November.  Private that is, until tonight, when they announced the browser is now available in open beta.  Woohoo!  Eager to get my hands on it, I immediately ran over to their site and downloaded it.  You can download it here.

While it is downloading, I will share some additional information about the new browser.  Rockmelt was developed by Marc Andressen who also developed Netscape.   The browser is built on Google Chrome and is very Facebook – centric.  If you are not a big Facebok fan, you most probably definitely won’t like Rockmelt as its social elements are powered by a Facebook app.  It also has nifty Twitter integration and cool RSS feed features.

Okay – it is done downloading – let me walk you through my first experience with Rockmelt:

Disclaimer:  I was randomly screenshotting everything during this process.  If you are in my screenshots and don’t want to be – let me know :)


What is Adwords Quality Score?

I just had a new post published over at Search News Central discussing Adwords Quality Score.  If you are an Adwords user looking for more information about quality score – or need tips on how you can improve it, check out the post!

The post discusses

  • What Adwords Quality Score Is
  • Factors that affect your Quality Score
  • Tips on Improving Quality Score
  • What I do to achieve Quality Scores averaging 7 and above.



Is a Facebook Page All You Need?

I was just reading a startling article on CNet referencing how Stephen Haines, the commercial director of Facebook in the U.K. believes Facebook may soon replace company websites.  Wait…what? I get that Facebook is a really popular medium that allows you to promote services and even communicate directly with your customers…but replace your website with a Facebook page?  This would be a horrible idea for any business!

Statistics Haines used to *prove* his point were that companies such as Starbucks, Coca-cola and Oreo received more “likes” than website visits.   Comparing a Facebook “like” to website traffic is ridiculous.  A “like” on Facebook is simply a vote of confidence in the brand.  Much like a 5-star review on Yelp is a vote of confidence in a brand.

The brand itself established that confidence.  Why Facebook believes it directly contributed to, and is responsible for its users liking a brand, so much so they are willing to make the assertion that all a business needs is a Facebook page is beyond me.  The bottom line is that Facebook is one of many, many tools used to promote your business and build your presence online.

These statistics are however, an excellent argument to show why participating in Social Media channels is important to any business…but to jump to the conclusion that businesses no longer need their own web presence outside from what Facebook offers is a pretty big leap.    What’s worse is that small businesses (who likely have a hard time figuring out how to create a website let alone invest in one) might read this, and with lack of knowledge simply stick with a Facebook page.

In addition to just being horrible advice for small businesses…I think those larger brands such as Coca-Cola would want a website to showcase their products and videos as well as their “My Coke Rewards” program. It is easy to take data like this, based on “likes” these big brands received vs visits, when brands like the ones mentioned are already well known.  You don’t have to use a search engine and research “coffee shops” to figure out who Starbucks is…but you might need to use a search engine to find out who your local mom and pop coffee shops are. Unless you are already a known brand – good luck getting found online by your potential customers without a website.

I also feel compelled to mention that a website is needed for the simple fact that it is owned by you. According to Facebook’s own terms of use, anything that you post on Facebook is technically owned by them until deleted. This means if Facebook suddenly decides to say – not allow you to include address information (not that they would, just an example) you are out of luck.  It is very important to be able to own your own website – this is another reason why I never suggest businesses should use any free website or blogging platforms to house their content.  Geocities, anyone? Bueller…?

At any rate, no company should ever considering limiting their exposure to one domain such as Haines believes.  It’s always best to not put all your eggs in one basket.  Having a website as well as participating in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, helps build a stronger online presence.

I’ll end my rant now, but the shortsightedness of some people truly does amaze me at times.