This Social Media Thing Must Make Good Business Sense

31 01 2010
This is one of my favorite social media ROI presentations:

Many times we can spend a majority our time with clients and prospects detailing:

a.) Why social media is not free

b.) The variables that highlight the resources (equaling 100% of the budget):

1. It takes people – it takes a team (a virtual “pit crew” each with a specific job to do – “the sum of all parts equals a whole” – “there is no ‘i’ in team”)

2. It takes technology – this is constantly changing

3. It takes time – “time is money”

Business leaders understand that “this Social Media thing” must make good business sense and it is our job to not just demystify it but…. help them measure ROI (e.g. the financial impact) that business leaders expect.

I like to deliver more traffic, such as logging into Google Analytics and seeing all of those green arrows including: but there is so much more to deliver. It’s not just measuring media, impressions and eyeballs.

Prospects and clients hire us not just because we sound smart – they hire us because they trust us to help improve their bottom line. Business leaders trust that we are the experts (that we say we are) and that our strategies are created to help them profit from continual growth. We can use many tactics, depending on the business objectives and needs:

• Online and offline consultation
• SEO
• Social media strategies
• Clearly communicated user experience
• Content marketing
• Digital advertising (e.g. display, sponsored search)

However, I find that they want real metrics that they “can sink their teeth into.” That is the what I thrive on and there is nothing better than hearing from my clients – “Social media is going to stick around a while longer after all!”





New Jobs in Michigan? Yes Please!

3 12 2009

Companies in Michigan have hired several great people including Jenn Weesies, Patti Swanson and Dave Lemieux due to our young entrepreneurial drive and diverse acumen in business matters.

Recently , Jenn and I were profiled on Metromode Media, an online weekly publication that highlights the positive happenings in the Metro Detroit region (go to www.metromodemedia.com) to learn more.

Metromode has recently launched a new Talent Retention Program to highlight available opportunities and profiles of professionals who have landed or created jobs in the area. I love how Metromode is disputing the myth that you have to leave Michigan in order to find a job! This is an ongoing initiative and they are always looking for new people to profile. So give them a shout if you are creating jobs or have landed a job here in Michigan recently!

Click here to read the profile of Doug Menzer on Metromode.

Click here to read the profile of Jenn Weesies on Metromode





Increasing Relevance to Improve Ranking

31 07 2009

I can’t stress the importance of research, strategy and planning (enough) in any good marketing strategy. I attempted to describe this in my post from this April titled: Moving the Needle with “New Media” – Technically Speaking (under the subheading: Finally, don’t just throw your time or budget away!) A solid digital business strategy will ensure that the work done has an incremental and long-term value for years to come. Is this branding at its best?

Yesterday, I was training a small group on best blogging practices. Good thing, I’m able to use my own blog as an example of how content marketing has a “shelf life of years.”

I have started several blogs over the years either for friends, clients and even myself – all with a variety of different purposes or strategies. This very blog (http://www.freshmenz.wordpress.com) (originally) started in May of 2008 to discuss products that my family uses in our home.

In May of this year, I started using this blog to discuss topics of interest to share certain passions, experiences and stories in my life. Thus, I began writing somewhat regularly on this blog. As it began to pick up popularity with my content on social media and digital marketing, this caused some confusion with some of my audience.

For example, I had a Michigan business coach tell me that he loves my blog but “what is up with Freshmenz Enterprises offering UV air purifiers, laundry products, UV water purifiers, etc?” Although he knows why, I understood what he meant. It is confusing to a user searching for this information (potentially looking for air and water purification products) and end up coming to a blog (mostly talking about digital media and social strategies.)

Back in 2007, I had started an e-commerce website (using the domain http://www.freshmenz.com) and set up a low budget website with a shopping cart to sell these products directly. I mass distributed a press release and was also very active in social communities engaging people with similar interests, sharing and collaborating on information about the green technologies that I was passionate about, used in my home and offered via my e-commerce website.

Content Marketing Relevancy

Content Marketing Relevancy


I originally intended for people to find me and ask me how these products have helped my family. At that time, I found how to becoming a valuable resource for people online (rather than trying to sell directly to them) results in developing many great relationships. I developed a nice customer base with customers all over the United States because they found my content useful and/or informative (via various locations on the Internet.)

Today, I use this domain for my blog yet this content still exists on hundreds of web sites driving traffic to this property. Although, I am still a resource for these products the user experience may be confusing for those who click through looking ti find information on how to clean their clothes without using laundry detergent (e.g. LaundryPure). That is… unless they find this specific post (or some other specific previous post), it is easy to understand how they could easily be lost, confused and annoyed. The fact that this content has a shelf life for many years is exactly why you want to have a solid strategy in place first (and foremost.)

I’ve worked with small brands (e.g. Freshmenz Enterprises), medium brands and large International brands on digital marketing efforts that use content to become an authority in a variety of different areas. Whether you are a major automotive supplier, a non-profit organization, a small business or a professional blogger… your Internet presence needs a strategy for long-term success.

I apologize for (originally) not having a specific plan in how I would use this domain and this blog. However, it has been a great example to show friends, colleagues, prospects and clients. Does your brand have a long-term digital strategy?





Wordle.net – “Word Cloud” Generator

20 04 2009

Wordle is a tool that generates “word clouds” from provided text. In this case – the URL for this blog generated the word cloud (below) with the text found in this blog.

Freshmenz.Wordpress.com “word cloud" from Wordle.net

Freshmenz.Wordpress.com “word cloud\

Read the rest of this entry »





Moving the Needle with “New Media” – Technically Speaking

9 04 2009

Reflecting over the first quarter of 2009, I’ve spoken with small business owners, medium business owners, large global business leaders, brand managers, entrepreneurs, agency VPs, PR experts, client marketing executives, adverting executives, social media gurus, writers/bloggers and of course – IT and technical wizards (whew…) who are all energized and thirsty to move the needle forward.

Now that the second quarter is underway, are you maneuvering towards your goals and effectively moving the needle forward or just idling on fumes? With a sour economy still looming, budget cut hangovers are still pounding in every ones heads and resources are “busting-at-the-seams.” Yet, many savvy businesses are staying ahead of the competition by learning from and embracing the maturing “new media” technologies – cultivating well planned digital marketing, digital advertising and social strategies.

A well-executed digital strategy can drive businesses forward. Advertising can help you with the ability to connect with your target audience across multiple digital touch-points. Content marketing helps you become an authority on topics that will allow you to have “a shelf-life of years” out on the web. Social strategies can build one-to-one relationships that help your enterprise grow credibility and relevance over time. In addition, if done correctly a well-executed digital strategy can aide in building brand champions and hand raisers that facilitate your message – genuinely.

Traditional or poorly executed digital methods that lack effective measurability to track an accurate ROI can be painful. In addition, many times they can even fall short of providing valuable baseline data benchmarks and reliable consumer insights for future use.

Is New Media New?
So, when it comes to “new media”, is the media new or is it how the technology is maturing that is – in fact – new? It has matured – nicely – sort of, since I graduated from college nine years ago.

So Today, What Is New Media…?

For the later part of the 20th century, we can simply define new media as the emergence of networked information and digital communication technologies. When I was in college in the late nineties, I used every aspect of the web that was available at that time from early social communities (e.g. CollegeClub.com) to search engine research. (An MSU professor first told me of Google in 1999.)

New media today is “all growns up” Or is it? We continually see the maturation process happening on a daily basis. Content relevancy is rising and digital communication is flowing “over capacity” at times.

Twitter Over Capacity - Source: Twitter

Twitter Over Capacity - Source: Twitter

In many digital strategies discussions, people can become awestruck (at times), when I speak: conceptually, technologically, metaphorically and even literally in the same conversation. How is that possibly – you might wonder… Well, it can be a blessing (and a curse at times) but as a motivated marketer with a creative side and an actively analytical mind – I just fit right within the digital space. It also helped that I double-majored in Communications and Psychology after striving to be an Engineer the first to years of my college career.

Is digital a realistic approach for our brand?
We have a saying at SmartFinds, “We take a rational approach to an irrational medium,” which was coined by our colleague, Gene Brady, in the Fall of 2008. As is the case in any good creative, marketing, social or advertising strategy, the first step is developing a strategy based on solid business objectives and intense research – or “listening.”

Recently, I was talking with a friend about a social strategy and as I was speaking on this “listening” business he stated, “yeah, but you’re not actually “listening,” you or your marketing team is reading stuff on the Internet.” I said to him… “Shhh… listen…, with the expertise of our analysis software and technology tools, can’t you hear the sweet music of ones and zeroes playing 24-7?” Is your brand in harmony, out of tune or not even audible on the web?

Finally, don’t just throw your time or budget away!
Don’t think that you need to do everything at once. Develop your plan with solid business objectives. The new media flow begins with a review of the business objectives. Followed by – Research, Strategy and Planning to derive trustworthy marketing, advertising and/or social objectives.

For example, at a high level, – approaching an effective digital marketing program requires:

Industry Research – In developing your strategy, we need to understand your business, your products and services to provide solid gap analysis to guide you to get the results you need and catapult you ahead of your competitors.

Market Research – We must answer all questions that will allow us to reach your target market. This includes analyzing items such as, key phrases searched, the volume of those searches and competition that is out there. We will also find websites, forums, blogs, communities, micro communities, et al. – to learn (“listen”) how your target audience uses the Internet.

Competition Research – We generate Internet metrics about your site with the public information such Page Rank, Traffic Rank, Link Popularity and Keyword Density. These metrics not only allow us to perform technical marketing (including SEO) but also give us guidelines and goals to reach for a content marketing campaign for sustained presence within the Internet community.

Competitor Research – You need to distinguish between Competitors and Competition online. Competitors are companies that provide the same products and services with the potential of acquiring business away from you. Competition – Any web page that happens to have the same keywords or phrases that are part of your content marketing campaign. Competition research gives us information why a certain web page is ranked, while Competitor research will help us identify how well the competitors are actually performing on the Internet.

Strategy Development – Analysis of the research data helps determine the type of content marketing needed. It helps to guide the changes needed on your website for visible text or the effectiveness of the campaign as your brand is marinating on the Internet.

Business Plan Development – Does the strategy have potential to increase revenues? How much revenue can it potentially increase short term and long term? Based the campaign objectives and your profit margins we can provide you with an estimate for the return on your investment into your own company.

Are you already embracing new media to help drive business forward? Need help getting started? What are some of the pain points in your business world today? Let us know what’s working for you or what questions you may have. Remember, at SmartFinds Internet Marketing, “We take a rational approach to an irrational medium; and we are dedicated to one thing: helping you drive business through Internet marketing.”





Content Marketing Post by Melih Oztalay – SmartFinds Marketing CEO

2 04 2009


Please click here to read Melih’s full story… Content Marketing: It’s About Distribution

If content marketing is a “supportive method” consisting of “quality, relevant and valuable information” then the social conversations (that are in fact changing business profoundly)… must be the real culture changer for many organizations. The key and first step for a business is – listening. That is, finding the online conversations, detailing communications, analyzing the discussions, identifying and defining opportunities for before joining in on the conversation (when appropriate.)

How are you preparing for the movement of social media into your business? Are you avoiding it or cultivating leaders within your organization to take charge? Please feel free to share your suggestions and ideas.