Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Facebook Lessons

Great advice in the following links (but know your account can be disabled even if you follow all the rules...)

13 Reasons your Facebook account will be disabled

What I learned when Facebook disabled my account

Facebook disabled my account (Scobleizer)

I'm outside the gates

Facebook mat on 151 University
Originally uploaded by Robert Scoble

I've been kicked out of Facebook.

I went to login to my account one morning and instead of my familiar sweet wall of updates, I got the message that my account had been deactivated. No explanation. I followed the instructions for appealing but it has been over two weeks and no word from Facebook.

Everyone asks, "what did you do"? Honestly, nothing outside of really normal activity like commenting on friends photo's and posting occasional status updates and messaging friends. Ironically, I've helped dozens of friends set up their Facebook accounts and navigate through some of the privacy settings. I've had my Facebook account since early 2007 and over the last two and half years I've added about 200 and some friends...well, I did!

I wasn't doing anything cool like Scoble was when his account was disabled. I'm like hundreds of other Facebook users who used the platform the way is set up to use and then disabled without any explanation from Facebook. Honestly I don't miss it much. The challenge is that I teach social media marketing classes (since 2007) and contribute content to a social media online magazine. It is really a bit embarrassing to not have an account. Facebook has become so mainstream that even my mom has an account!

I'm annoyed but also appreciative for the great reminder about owning my content and database. I use dozens of social networking sites but I always put my best content on my own domains. Yes I use Google's tools but other than Blogger, they are used on my domain and stay in my control.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Originally uploaded by Fifi1968

When I can, I always choose to be free. By seeing from the eyes of a freebird, I find freshness and creativity...that spark that wants to try. You feel it too. Go with it today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Thoughts on Keywords


One thing you won't find in keyword tools...unique, new queries.

In a BusinessWeek interview, Google's Udi Manber said,
"If you look at all the unique queries we get in a particular day, about a third of them we’ve never seen before. One-third of them every day are unique. If you normalize for traffic in any random query … still about one-sixth of the total traffic is completely new every given day."

One-sixth of the total traffic is new every day? If you are optimizing for the keywords you found through research, you are optimizing for keywords that were relevant yesterday! Um, the past. What are people searching for today and how do you optimize for searches that will be happening tomorrow?

Google provides a couple of tools, Insight for search and Google Trends, but the best tool is unique, relevant, current content.

Ah, I can't believe I'm preaching about creating content. As much I as know, in this case it is a "do as I say, not as I do" thing. My failure in blogging is long and distinguished. But I'm still standing...(now I sound like Carrie Prejean). Back to the point; I believe in good content, I love good content when I find it, but I don't find much in my own social circle. I have a lot of brilliant entrepreneur type friends and even though many are experts in their fields, they are not creating content. I know because I'm running "social search".

Creating content that digs deep into your niche, writing about the topics you are passionate about help you win in local, social and general search. If you haven't started, no worries, it isn't too late to start. Search is evolving and there's more opportunity than ever. Local, Social and Long-tail topics are the future of marketing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Who's in my social circle?

96% of my connections are online. There are only a few people; neighbors across the street, people who shop at the local grocery store, moms and dads from my kids school, who I'm not connected with online.

With more connections happening online, there's an obvious opportunity to make those connections profitable. Hence, the stampede of businesses to social media marketing. It's been proven that the strongest influences are people you know; family, friend, colleagues.

In the relentless pursuit to win in search, Google is leveraging social networks with Social Search. If you haven't heard about Google's Social Search ....basically Google is adding a search option. When you do a Google search, there's a tab at the top of the page that says "Show Options". Those options include blended search; video, news, blogs, recent results and such.

Join the new experiment in Google Labs and you will have the option of searching "Social". This query pulls from your connects via Twitter, gmail, Google Reader, Flickr, YouTube, etc. My initial thoughts: the usefulness is only as good as your connections. And I don't just mean the quantity of connections. It will become really clear that the quality of the connection will be more important than ever. I'll dive into this in my next post.

While everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account, very few people publish anything online. Writing a status update on your Facebook wall isn't the same as writing a blog post or an article.

Using Google Social Search puts a spotlight on two things: who is in my social circle and who is influential in my social circle.

What is your social circle?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Small Business Questions About Google Sites

It is the last week of summer vacation!

I've had the joy of working at my home office, with my kids around all day, all summer! Long story short, I'm looking forward to having my days free to meet with clients and get back out to more networking events with other business owners.

Although I still specialize in elearning development and collaborative learning environments, my main focus is helping small businesses move to cloud computing. I love the collaborative aspects of Google Apps and the scalability of the platform, but sometimes these aspects are not appreciated by the very small business or micropreneur. Until a business feels the pain of web and mail security, the cost of IT services for Microsoft Exchange, and the hassle of not having mobility, they aren't looking for a solution. In the very small business world, the area of focus is on find-ability, not scalability. The benefits of Google Apps is widely unknown among small businesses in Seattle.

I've been providing workshops and training on a variety of Google products for the last year and even among the 11,000 plus members of Biznik, in Seattle, the two biggest questions continues to be "How can I use Google Sites for marketing?" and "Can I use Google Sites for my website?".
Truthfully, I was thrilled to have Google Sites for building my public website, but I was a little leery about promoting it to other business owners as website building tool. I didn't know if Google was going to keep Sites an obscure part of Google Apps (marketed as a great way to build a "work/team site" or a little site for your ski club type activities), or if they were going to support it as a viable way to quickly publish websites for business. But then this past June, Google quietly announced the ability to "Monetize" Google Sites with AdSense; which tells me they think it is good to be able to make some money with a Google Site. In fact, it is incredibly easy to insert AdSense in a Google Site. I'm rather surprised there isn't more buzz about it. No hosting and AdSense..Internet marketers could go crazy with this model. That is another blog post though. In July, Google released a whole slew of updates and new features for Google Sites! This is really good news for micropreneurs looking for an affordable way to quickly create and publish good looking sites.

Ugly Websites

While Google Sites gets a fair amount of criticism for lack of "design" I think we are seeing more and more examples of escaping the academic template look of Google Sites. I remember reading an article that Google was hoping the limited design options would save the world from really horrific looking sites. Seriously, when non designers start building websites, there's no way around ugly sites. Like any website, when building a Google Site, it is important to follow basic design rules and understand how to optimize your site for search engines. While Google Sites seem to get indexed quickly, you still want to submit a sitemap of your Google Site to Google Webmaster Tools , Bing and to Yahoo Site Explorer

Need for Speed

IMHO, you can go a long way in building a web presence by using Google Sites for a website. Especially if you focus on good content and functionality. A small business owner or micropreneur has a huge advantage over competition by having a website that is easy to update. Google Sites includes Gadgets and one click functionality like YouTube videos, maps, Picasa slide shows, Google Presentations, and Google Forms. Most business owners I know, prefer a website that is updated and engaging over a beautiful static site.