I love Twitter. I prefer Twitter over Facebook and the choice is never in question. I can go into why I have grown some disdain for the social networking-giant that is Facebook, but i won’t, that isn’t what this particular post is about.
Though I do have a preference for Twitter, both from a social aspect and also from an internet marketing standpoint it does have it’s drawbacks. But one downfall of Twitter is completely user generated. And although this may at times appear to be “robot-like” it still boils down to something that each user chooses to do.
The Auto Direct Message or Auto DM.
You’ve seen it. More than once. Probably more often than you would like.
Aside from being an annoyance, appearing as spam and just flooding your Twitter inbox, it also has many businesses, people and professionals convinced this is “a smart marketing move”.
Setting up an Auto DM is quite easy. In fact, you can go over to Social Oomph and set one up, among other features associated with Twitter. I just cannot wrap my head around why people think this is an advantageous marketing venture.
Sure, in theory it makes perfect sense. A welcome message to each of your new followers that tells them a bit about yourself, you business or website, and provides them with a link to check out what you’re marketing. So if we are just looking at the spirit of the process and not the process itself, it seems like a potentially powerful marketing tool.
But what people don’t realize is this doesn’t come across that way to most people. In fact, I am of the belief it does more to stunt the growth of your audience than to boost it. And I am not alone in that thinking.
Check out this study/stat from Optify.net and it should convince you on how the Auto DM does more harm then good
Those are some staggering numbers to digest.
So why doesn’t something that seems, in theory, to be a marketing homerun work?
Keep in mind that there are a few things to consider when considering the Auto DM feature for your brand:
#1 Spammers use Twitter to try to sell you junk and seem to live off the Auto DM feature. While genuine people and brands tend to use Twitter to build actual relationships. Keep that in mind and decide which you are.
#2 People, like me, who follow you and get an auto DM tend to immediately unfollow you, despite what your message is. If you’re not even following the person you are Auto DMing, you could be marked as Spam and trust me, Twitter may see you that way as well.
#3 We are all programmed to trash spam and filter it. We do it with out emails and now our social accounts. Think about how the value of email marketing campaigns has radically diminished over the past several years. Why? Because it’s spammy and we are programmed to trash spam. So why simulate spammy behavior?
#4 How you portray you brand is how your brand will be viewed by the public. Bottom line; Perception is Reality. If you act like spam, you are spam and people won’t take a look at your website or your Twitter account.
#5 There is far too much value in building personal relationships with your audience. Be personal, be human, engage in discussions and give your followers value for following you.
Hopefully people realize how Auto DMs hurt your cause more than they help. So here’s to less spam and less annoying Auto DMs flooding our Twitter inbox or timeline.
Over the past few weeks I have been involved in discussing a topic that can’t seem to go away and as it gains a bit more traction among the media folks, it digs further under my skin. Kind of like a sliver you can’t seem to get with your tweezers.
I had the pleasure of joining my friend Julie Buehler and her co-host Geoff Bloom on Team 110 KXPS’ “Buehler’s Day Off” radio show which broadcasts out of California last week. The topic was the negative effects Social Media has on traditional media. This led to a great discussion that highlighted several interesting points. But it also spawned a storm of thoughts in my head and I couldn’t shake it. Hence why you’re reading this post right now.
So let’s dig right in and start tackling this. With the latest trendy topic of people being “Catfished” it made me wonder how many people out there in the social media galaxy are being “Catfished” themselves?
After leaving in 2009, I formed Elite Rank Marketing, a freelance SEO/Internet Marketing Company that still thrives today. So, without boring you with more talk about myself, just wanted to point out that my resume backs up any claim about being an SEO Specialist, Gure, Expert, etc.
But if we venture on to Twitter we find countless folks claiming they are Social Media Guru’s, Experts and Ninjas, without having an ounce of experience to back it up.
These folks simply think because they have mastered the technique of following people back who follow them and driving up their Twitter followers this qualifies them to be a Social Media whiz kid.
You’re not and it’s rather insulting to our industry that you claim to be anything but an enthusiast. You’re watering down our industry with, well, crap. Although I may not agree or necessarily be a fan of fellow SEO companies, I still respect our craft and the work involved.
Defining yourself as a Social Media expert when you have no idea how to utilize Social Media outside of hitting a follow button, or posting your Twitter stream on your website, is incredibly misleading and a flat out lie.
The fact is Social Media is an intensive, constantly evolving facet of SEO and Internet Marketing. Incredibly difficult to master, something that takes comprehensive understanding, hard work and years of due diligence to truly understand the power of Social Media and how to harness it.
I’m not the only one who has wrote about this, Adage.com and Media Bistro wrote about this and the Onion put together a great video making fun of this very thing:
Stop calling yourselves what you clearly are not. Social Media goes far beyond how well you build a Twitter or Facebook page, it’s more about the conversion of your audience than anything else.
For all you wannabes out there, here are a few websites where you can actually educate yourself on this industry, then you can properly use the term “Social Media Enthusiast” – Search Engine Watch - SEO Moz - Search Engine Land
News Flash – You’re NOT a Journalist, You’re a Columnist
Allow me to channel my inner-Charles Barkley from his infamous commercial in the 1990′s; “I am not a Journalist, I am NOT paid to be a Journalist“. Now 66% of the Twitter population say this in unison….
The fact of the matter is 6 out of every 10 people who i come across claiming to be a “Journalist” are not! They never received an education in Journalism, never had real media credentials as a journalist nor have they ever been associated with any writers guild that recognizes, you know, Journalists.
But rather than “Ethering” these folks as I did in my above rant (ala Nas to Jay-Z), I actually think this is a horrible misunderstanding. I really believe people don’t understand that they aren’t Journalists, but in fact something called a Columnist. So, bloggers, let’s cite Wikipedia and break down what a Columnist is, then maybe you’ll label yourself appropriately:
A columnist is someone who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear innewspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs.
Readers often open a publication with an expectation of reading another short essay by a specific writer who offers a personal point of view. In some instances, a column has been written by a composite or a team, appearing under a pseudonym, or (in effect) a brand name. Some columnists appear on a daily or weekly basis and later reprint the same material in book collections.
In defining a column, Dictionary.com provides a breakdown of a few popular subjects covered by columnists:
A regular feature or series of articles in a newspaper, magazine, or the like, usually having a readily identifiable heading and the byline of the writer or editor, that reports or comments upon a particular field of interest, as politics, theater or etiquette, or which may contain letters from readers, answers to readers’ queries, etc
Maybe now we can start seeing some clarity of truth on Social Media and there is truth to be found. But as the saying goes I wouldn’t hold your breathe.
If you are someone trying to build up your brand, like we all are trying to do, then just be honest with your audience. Sure, you may not be able to control who follows you and sure they may be robots, but you have 100% control over how you portray yourself to your audience.
Eventually, as you grow, people WILL do their due diligence and uncover the truth. You know who actually does that kind of legwork? People who are about to give you money or who are considering doing so.
From time to time it can be advantageous to do a little house cleaning. Perhaps your bedroom, like mine often is, is a disaster area that needs a bit of TLC to make it “presentable”. Maybe you have company coming over for dinner and you want to make sure your house is in tip-top shape. Whatever the case may be, a little housekeeping is necessary.
But just like your home or apartment, your brand needs a bit of that as well. Monitoring spam is certainly the best way to go about doing this, especially if you have a blog or a general comments page on your site. But how often should you grab that virtual broom and go to town on a serious cleaning-frenzy? Where do you target?
Let’s break it down piece by piece with some tips, why you should do a little cleaning and how it benefits your brand. Website Interactions
This is probably first and foremost on your list and if it isn’t than it should be.
Most of you who contribute or run a blog that gets a bit of traffic certainly have run into the spam at one time or another. Typically, it’s a comment on your site that says something about your content without actually addressing the topic directly.
Something to the effect of ;
“Wow, such great information on this topic i had not thought about. I like to reference this site. Great content”
Weed these out, it can make your blog look less interactive than more interactive. Furthermore, spam comments have one purpose, to pass a link on your website. Sometimes they can hide the link in the “name” of the person posting it, sometimes they link a word in the comment or just blatantly paste a URL in the comment itself.
Keep in mind that most people who are legitimately going to comment on your blog, will directly mention your topic. They also may not sit there and rave about the content. Weed them out. The less spam is on your site/blog the better.
Spam comments can have a negative impact on your traffic but also your rankings. The last thing you want is for a search engine to think you are advocating a spam-website. No bueno!
Facebook Fans & Twitter Followers
Pretty much the largest task to manage. Not going to lie, this takes a lot of time and dedication. But it’s extremely beneficial for many reasons. Most of you cannot control who follows you, but you should take a more proactive approach in managing it.
The misconception on Twitter and with Facebook is that “more = more” and a culture of “quantity over quality” exists. People broadly think Twitter and Facebook numbers is a direct reflection on how much people really dig their stuff. While that certainly has some truth in it the reason they “like” you is for differing reasons.
Some People just follow you to get a follow back, they have no interest in your content
Some people just create spam profiles and merely want to DM you spam
The most important factor to keep in mind for why you should clean up your followers on Twitter and your fans on Facebook; hackers. Hackers spamming your page are in one way or another, targeting it. They want to hack it, they want to take over your account and spam, spam, spam.
So how do you combat it?
Run through your followers and fans list, no matter the size, and take a look at your followers. Are they active? Do they post regularly? What do they post? Is it spam? Are they even real profiles?
Again you cannot control who follows you. A high-traffic website will get tons of followers and fans on Facebook. But block those that meet any questionable criteria. Additionally, there could be a correlation from the spam hitting your website and the followers or fans to your social pages.
Blocking & Reporting for Spam will not only prevent your accounts from being compromised, but it will drive up your interaction. Real people who follow you for real reasons will be more likely to contribute to your conversations. That is the value! That is your goal.
What is the sense of 25,000 fans or followers if only 2,000 of them actually interact? In the end it’s just a number. If you’re a brand looking to genuinely grow and market to your target audience, don’t obsess with numbers. 25 people who are true fans of your content and your product, trump 250 just standing around.
Imagine you were a band playing in a convention hall. Having 250 people in the hall is great to tout, but if they are not interested, they aren’t listening and aren’t buying your music. You might as well imagine those 250 people wearing headphones. Therefore what would you rather have? 250 standing around not hearing your music or 25 fans, front row, wearing your tshirts and singing along word for word to your songs?
Cleaning up your fans and followers will also contribute in the factoring of Twitter verifying your account and Facebook keeping your content from tripping spam filters.
Those of you who have newsletters or mailing lists, listen up!
This is vital. Clean your list regularly! Check to see if these people are still active, if their emails still exist. If they aren’t active or the emails don’t exist anymore, remove them.
Not removing them can boost your “non-click” numbers and put your site and brand at risk of being labeled as spam.
So how do you monitor this? How do you get factual numbers?
Take a few bucks and use an online mailing list service. They each offer a level of detailed reporting and keep track of unsubscribes for you. It’s worth the money, every cent of it, especially if you rely on newsletters and mailers.
It takes a little work, a ton of effort and some dedication of time, but in the end the pros out weigh the cons. Some of you may gloss over this but keep in mind, how your brand is operated is how it will prosper. If you’re not doing your utmost due diligence on all fronts, you’re going to hit failure roadblocks before being on the fast track to success
Here at SportsRantz University I get my fair share of emails from readers asking how they can further their blog on SportsRantz. I also get a good amount of tweets and Facebook posts from existing members asking how they can gain more exposure with their blog. So I decided to put a quasi-checklist together so that anyone with a blog can ensure they are maximizing their potential.
So here is a simple list of things you should be doing to make your blog a success:
#1 Are You Blogging at SportsRantz.com?
Shameless self-plug? Yes definitely, but there is some truth to this statement. If you’re on another blogging platform you have to ask yourself how high the ceiling is for your potential. How hard is the website you are blogging on working for you to be successful? Are they just using your blog as a way to sell advertising? Food for thought.
At SportsRantz, we have something that no other sports blogging platform has. I can say this with 100% confidence. We are structured on strong SEO methods that provides an excellent foundation to build success on. SEO Drives traffic!
I personally crafted the SportsRantz SEO structure and I have been in the SEO industry for close to 10 years. I worked at one of the top firms in the entire industry and was their leading SEO Manager and SEO Specialist my entire tenure. I was in charge of accounts like Overstock, Vista Print, The Golf Channel, Pedi Ped and even Passages Malibu to name a few.
With that experience I was confident to start my own SEO Company and form my own unique methods. Since 2009, my company has worked on some incredible client websites.
Bottom line – NO website provides you the SEO tools, knowledge, advice and/or resources that we do. The proof is in the pudding. Keep in mind that just because someone owns a website, doesn’t make them an SEO.
With that being said, I strongly encourage you to fully take advantage of what we have on SR University.
#2 SportsRantz University
For those of you who want to take your blog to the next level and don’t utilize SR University…what on earth are you waiting for?
It’s common knowledge that nothing good is obtained without hard work. So if you are not actively learning how to make your blog better, educating yourself on methods or utilizing resources provided to you it’s going to be more of an upward battle. Especially if you want to make your brand popular. If you’re not doing all you can do to improve, your competition will pass you by.
I simply cannot stress enough how important reading the SEO section is and putting it to use in your blog. Also, learn about Branding and Social Media as well. Can’t hurt.
#3 How Unique is Your Content?
As soon as a news story breaks you have every blogger and writer covering it on some level. Bloggers are sure to regurgitate the same information but what are you offering that is different?
Give people a reason to bookmark your blog and trust your coverage. Do you offer opinions supported by facts? Do you have access to an interview or studies on information that goes deeper than the headlines?
People don’t want the same information over and over and they certainly don’t want the same information presented to them with the only difference being the tone and language is different. Be different. Stand out!
If everyone is selling glazed donuts, be the one to offer glazed donuts and coffee.
#4 Must Read Blogivision
So i did a bit of “play on words” there but think of this like TV. Reach out to other writers, athletes and personalities to do interviews on your blog.
Let’s face it, chances are Tom Brady won’t be available to do an interview on your blog, but try semi-pro players, players trying to make a team, etc. Offer interesting content and you’ll get dedicated readers
#5 How Interactive Are You?
This is a great point. If you’re solely relying on Rt’s from SportsRantz and Twittering to drive popularity to your blog, you’re not doing all you can do.
Are you sharing with people on Facebook? Are you in the SportsRantz Group on Facebook? Are you Tweeting RT accounts with your articles? Do you have a newsletter setup for your readers to sign up for?
Tools like this can help in the longrun.
I’ll expound on this article in the future, but for now here is 5 good bulletpoints to process.
So you’re getting good at blogging and want to really engage your audience. Whether you started a Facebook Fan Page for your blog or you have a Twitter profile for your blog (or both) it’s important to display them prominently on your sports blog.
It helps bring your readers together, offers your readers more interaction and helps build your brand! It’s Branding 101!
Fortunately, we have a feature on SportsRantz.com that allows your to display your Twitter feed and Facebook Fan Page feed right on your blog. (Keep in mind this does NOT work for regular personal Facebook profiles, only Fan Pages)
Many of you who follow my SR University posts know my love affair with SEO and Social Media. I cannot and will never feel I ever will have stressed enough the vital importance of having some presence of solid SEO on your blog. SportsRantz.com is built on top notch SEO, elite SEO at that and we provide the basic structure of that to all of our bloggers. But you must maximize that.
One way of doing so (this is not the end all be all) is the SEO Plugin feature. If you have a blog on SportsRantz, you will see an SEO tab in your Dashboard.
So let me walk you through how to set up and configure that plugin. Please make sure to read my other SEO blog posts relaing to Co-Citation Interlinking, Keywords and Branding to fully maximize your online potential