What Does Google’s Hummingbird Update Mean For Your SEO Efforts? Nothing

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News broke at a Google press event that the largest upgrade to its search algorithm since 2001, dubbed Hummingbird, had already rolled out last month. “Algorithm?” you ask. “Isn’t that the thing the determines how websites are ranked? And you say this is the biggest change in their algorithm in 12 years?! What about all my SEO work? Is it ruined? Do I have to change everything?” Rest easy, you don’t have to change anything about your SEO efforts, at least not if you’re already doing what you should have been doing all these years.

If you’re looking to get all the details on the Hummingbird update then head straight on over to Danny Sullivan’s Hummingbird FAQ at Search Engine Land. But if you just want to know what you need to do about Hummingbird, then I’ll save you the task of reading Sullivan post and cut to the chase. It comes near the end where Sullivan asks the question “Does this mean SEO is dead?” He answers:

No, SEO is not yet again dead. In fact, Google’s saying there’s nothing new or different SEOs or publishers need to worry about. Guidance remains the same, it says: have original, high-quality content. Signals that have been important in the past remain important; Hummingbird just allows Google to process them in new and hopefully better ways.

Nothing has changed. If you have original, high-quality content, and you have high-quality and relevant websites linking to your own website, then your website is still going to rank well. If anything, your website’s rankings will improve just as they should have after the Penguin and Panda updates rolled out.

The key to making the right decisions about SEO is to understand where Google is going. Google’s goal is that when someone creates a new search, what Google shows that person is exactly what the person wants or needs. We’ve all had the experience of searching on Google and seeing websites come up that obviously aren’t what we want. We don’t even need to click on the link to figure that out, because what Google shows us is enough. When this happens to me I think “Good heavens, why in the world would Google think that’s what I wanted when I typed in those words?” Google wants to get to the point where I never think that again. To lose sight of this goal would be the death of Google. This is, in part, why Google employs a few thousand PhDs.

Many people have been frustrated by Panda and Penguin, and they’ll now see Hummingbird in a negative light. Don’t fall into that trap. If you’re the best at what you do, these updates Google has been rolling out are opportunities to separate yourself from your competition. They may have been engaging in spammy tactics to get good rankings, but if you’ve been focusing on creating content that provides real value to potential customers, their days are numbered. These changes will help you rise above, and the good news, as mentioned above, is if you’ve been doing the right things for your SEO you don’t need to change a thing.

Have you seen any impact to your website(s) as a result of the Hummingbird update? Do you see any details in the update you feel will give you an advantage?

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20 Ways to Be More Creative on Your Blog

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Between attempting to monetizing your content and trying to build your community, it’s easy to forget that at its core, blogging is an outlet for creativity. Yes, professional blogging allows you an avenue for educating, inspiring, and entertaining your readers, but it can also be a channel for you to explore your ideas about a topic in a creative way.

When’s the last time you infused a little creativity into a blog post?

The fringe benefit is that a bit of creativity creates a pattern interrupt. It isn’t just good for the soul; by doing something different, you give your readers a little jolt that can be extremely effective in sparking them back to life. That’s why humor is so popular. So much of what we read online is serious that something funny catches our attention.

Creativity isn’t just about being funny (though that can be one form). Here are some other tips to help you be more creative on your own blog:

1. Challenge yourself to imitate a blogger you admire.

Humans learn by intimidating, so one of the best ways to grow creatively is to emulate bloggers your respect. It seems like an oxymoron, that copying someone can help you be more creative, but the innovation comes from expanding your horizons and trying new things. (When imitating, remember to never cross the line into plagiarizing. Always respect others’ work.)

2. Get out of your comfort zone with content creation.

Do you usually write short posts? Write something longer. Does video scare the crap out of you? Record one instead of always posting text. The comfort zone is, well, comfortable, but doing something a little scary can help get the creative juices flowing.

3. Tell a personal story that you might not otherwise share.

Creativity comes in many forms, but one of the most underutilized is storytelling. Telling your story, especially a personal one that you wouldn’t normally share, can help you more creatively blog about a topic.

4. Write about the opposing opinion.

It can be an awesome challenge to talk about the other side of a debate. Play devil’s advocate, even if you feel strongly about a specific topic. When you’re done, you might not what to publish your blog post if you stand strongly on the other side of the argument, but writing the opposite can help you strengthen your own argument. And you never know, you might expand your way of thinking. Questioning our own ways of thinking can help us grow.

5. Change your scenery.

Want to be more creative? Go outside. Or take your computer to your local coffee shop. Or even just work in another room. It’s amazing what a change of scenery can do for your creativity and productivity.

6. Get visual.

Usually, I start with a post idea and at the end, I find images to fit. When I want to get creative, I do things backward. I find an image that I think is beautiful or inspiring or interesting, and I try to write a post around it. An example? This post: “Blogging and the Candy Corn Problem.” While searching for an image for another blog post, I came across this shot of candy corn on a black background, which I thought looks striking, so I decided to get creative and think of a way to incorporate the idea of candy corn into a post about blogging.

7. Look for a connection between two seemingly-unrelated things.

Think about the things that inspire or interest you in life. For me, this happens when I learn something new. I like to share what I’ve learned with others. But what if it’s not related to my niche? How can I tie these two things together? Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but looking for these connections can help you get creative. Remember, you don’t have to publish every experimental post you write!

8. Open your mind about your own skills.

What are you really good at?

Okay, now what if I told you that everything you knew about that topic is wrong? Questioning your own skills and knowledge is a great way to think creatively about a topic. For example, this doctor gave a TED talk about how questioning his knowledge about diabetes helped him think about the problem in a new way. Be confident, but always ask questions, even of yourself.

9. Stop asking yourself how you’re going to monetize or drive traffic.

The pressure to make money or drive traffic to a blog can stifle your creativity, because we’re worried about failure. Give yourself permission to fail by not caring at all about the ROI of a post. Certainly, if you want to make money with your blog or are otherwise using it to support a business, ROI is import, but we occasionally need to let loose and simply be creative.

10. Take a risk.

Risk-taking is scary. Again, the fear of failure is very real and can be suffocating when you’re trying to be creative. Every once in a while, though, you have to take that leap of faith and just do something different. Put yourself out there and do something that just might be a flop. It’s okay to fail occasionally, because that’s how we learn and grow.

11. Do some mind-mapping.

I’m not a huge fan of brainstorming. There are actually studies that show this isn’t a super effective tool because there is no criticism (see the next point). However, mind-mapping is a different beast. With mind-mapping, you’re organizing your thoughts, which allows you to see holes in your place. It can help you pull some creative ideas out of those nooks and crannies of your brain.

Lifehacker has a really great post on five mind-mapping tools you can use to help you with this process.

12. Be critical of what you’re doing.

Brainstorming is supposed to give you a safe environment to dump everything you can think of onto a paper or whiteboard or whatever, no matter how bad your ideas may be. The thought is that if you aren’t inhibited by being worried that your ideas stink, you’ll come up with some great, creative ideas, even if most of what you brainstorm is crap.

Except this model for creativity doesn’t really work. What works better, according to some studies, is to freely brainstorm ideas, but to debate and critique these ideas as you go. So as you’re coming up with some creative ideas for blog posts, look at them with a critical eye. Or, better yet, work with a friend or a mastermind group to “brainstorm” some ideas, but using the debate model, where you think about each idea critically.

13. Consider Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats.

The Six Thinking Hats that de Bono wrote about can help you with thinking…and with being creative about your blog posts. These hats are:

  • White: the facts
  • Yellow: optimism, benefits
  • Black: judgement (devil’s advocate, see point #4)
  • Red: feelings, intuition
  • Green: possibilities, alternatives
  • Blue: management of the thinking process

The last hat, the blue one, is more about how the other five types of thinking work together, but take a look at what the white, yellow, black, red, and green hats represent. When you write a post, “put on” one of these hats and think about how you could rewrite differently. For example, if you wrote a highly emotional post (red), could you put on the white hat and go back to add in more facts? Or if you wrote a most about why something is great (yellow), could you go back into the post and address the downsides (black)?

You can learn more about the six thinking hats here.

14. Think about alternative realities.

It’s a lot of fun to play “What if…” Think of some crazy scenarios and write about them.

15. Solve a problem with limitations.

Sometimes, the best way to think outside of the box is to put yourself inside of the box. Set some crazy limitations for yourself and see what you come up with! For example, if the readers of your fashion blog could only buy black and white items, how would you suggest they add style to their wardrobe? Or if the readers of your food blog needed to prepare a satisfying vegan meal that the meat-eaters in the room would also enjoy AND that was low-carb, what would you suggest?

16. Practice.

Like anything, creativity takes practice. The first post you write might stink. That’s okay. Don’t publish it. Try again tomorrow!

17. Keep a journal and use note-taking tools.

Sometimes, a creative idea may come to you from an unlikely source. Once, I was at a Holocaust museum in Israel when I realized it would be the perfect feature for a post about storytelling. If I didn’t have Evernote to jot down my idea on the spot, I would have forgotten it by the time I got home.

18. Work with people from different backgrounds.

Blogging is often a lonely endeavor. But as writers, we can sometimes benefit from working with our peers. Lots of bloggers belong to mastermind groups, but I actually think you need to go a step farther. Get out there and work with some people who aren’t in your current circle of friends. Look for people who come from different backgrounds, like different countries/cultures, different niches, and different experience levels. Fresh eyes on your project (and lending your critiquing skills to their projects) helps everyone get more creative.

19. Work on projects that make you excited.

It’s hard to be creative if you couldn’t give a you-know-what about the blog post you’re writing. Stop what you’re doing and move on to a project that does make you excited.

20. Ask why.

I’ve found that when I question the norm, people get uncomfortable. But it also allows me to say, “I’m not going to take this rule at face value. I’m going to get creative and come up with another solution.” If everyone is saying there’s one best way to do something, question it.

Bonus Tip: Stop reading, thinking, and planning. Start doing.

To be creative, you need to get out of your head and start DOING. Stop thinking about how you can make your blog post more creative. Just try something. Don’t plan out every little detail or outline your post. Start writing.

And for heaven’s sake, stop reading this post. Get out there and start working!

How to Create an Instagram Photo Hack

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Social media users across the web have created amazing photo hacks for their Google+, Facebook and Twitter profiles, and you may have even recreated some yourself. So, why not show your Instagram profile a little hack love?

Hacking your mobile or web Instagram profile comes with some challenges, since each time you post a new picture, the profile shifts and looks a little different.

User @heralddayrit, who had nearly 5,000 Instagram followers at the time of this post, has perfected the art of the Instagram hack on his mobile profile. He incorporates quotes into his posts, using them to highlight images that transition seamlessly.

While photo apps like InstaBanners can split one picture into nine images for you, we wanted to take our hack to the next level and make something really special. We encourage you to do the same.

Here is our finished product:

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For those of you who want to take a crack at it, we’ll walk you through the process, step by step. Then, show us your creative genius in the comments below. 

To hack your Instagram mobile profile, you’ll need the following: nine different images, a photo editing service like Photoshop and patience — a lot of patience. For our hack, we chose to combine several different shots together to make one unified image, but you can also create a pattern or split one image into separate photographs.

1. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

We started on Pinterest, which was a great place to scroll through images until we found the right ones. By compiling the images onto one board, we could easily swap one option for another by taking a screenshot of the image we wanted to use. (Flexibility with image placement helped, too.) More often than not, an image we originally chose to use as the “mouth” of the face ended up being one of the “hair” pieces.

pinterest-board

2. Start Strong

Once you have a solid number of pictures to work with, decide strategically where to start. It may be easier to begin in the middle and push outward, or start in the lower-left corner and work your way up and over.

cropping

3. Crop to Perfection

Open each photo individually in your photo editor. While this step may not be necessary for every collage, we found it very helpful to line up the images next to each other before we sending them to our phone. It helped ensure that the hack didn’t turn out like this:

photo-3

4. Up, Upload Away

Once you crop your images, email them to your phone and save them to your phone’s photo library. Then upload them to Instagram in reverse order.

5. Now, It’s Your Turn

Congratulations! You now have the coolest Instagram profile of all your friends. Let’s see your finished collages, whether they’re on your mobile profile or the web version.

New Multireddits Customize Your Reddit Homepage

Multireddits-1

Get ready to hone your time-wasting skills.

After two months of beta testing, Reddit released a new feature called “multireddits,” which allows users to view specific, customized groups of subreddits as opposed to the default front page. Reddit administrator chromakode announced the feature in a blog post that generated nearly 2,000 comments — most of which are negative.

Multireddits can be started, viewed and customized through a new sidebar located on the left edge of the front page. Many of the announcement’s top comments detail complaints about the feature’s obtrusiveness, though the new sidebar is easily hidden by clicking the arrow on its right edge. Regardless, a few users have already found and posted multiple methods for disabling the feature completely.

This isn’t the first time the Reddit community has reacted poorly to change.

This isn’t the first time the Reddit community has reacted poorly to change. When the site gave users the ability to comment on submissions, many decried the innovation, citing its uselessness and leaving comments like “get rid of them” and “noooooooooooooo.” Today, comments are arguably the community’s main draw, allowing users to discuss current events and participate in crowdsourcing.

In response to comments, the Reddit admin revealed that developers would soon add the ability to order multireddits in the sidebar and follow other users’ multireddits.

After a few upgrades, multireddits should be incredibly useful. They certainly add efficiency to browsing the site; users will no longer have to create new accounts or insert lengthy URLs to view certain subreddit clusters.

Creating a multireddit is very simple. In the new sidebar, click the “create” button. After titling the multireddit, you will be directed to another page to group together subreddits. When finished, the new multireddit will be accessible via the sidebar. For a few example groupings, take a look at ours here and here. Many more user-generated groupings can be found on /r/multihub.

What do you think of multireddits? Will it change the way you use the site? Tell us in the comments below.

Complete Social Media Design Templates [infographic]

This  infographic was too good to pass up. How many times have you wondered what the best dimensions are for a Facebook graphic or the format for a Twitter background? From LinkedIn company pages to Google plus updates, this infographic gives you the proper dimensions for any social media site. Now you can design social media profiles that really have an impact.

Social Media

SEO Tips For Bloggers

SEO for blogger

 

 

Content in CONTEXT is what Matters

This is what the folks that write great content were happy to hear! Write good stuff that your readers can use and you are off to the races. There are so many people that are fretting about what the Updates have and will do to their websites rank. If you write good content with the correct context you have nothing to fear! What do I mean by context? The definition of context is; the parts of a written or spoken statement that precedes or follows a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect:
“You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.”

I think we all know what it feels like to have something we said taken out of context and misunderstood or misquote us. Google search is a program that can do that. It can index words or phrases and take them out of context. Giving words a different meaning than we intended or indexing our sites or articles in places we never intended for them to be. When we link out to other articles and back to our own previous work we can help Google understand the context of our work and help place content in search for our ideal clients to find them.

When you approach back linking with a strategy to link to other content that is relevant to your article and topic you can help Google and your readers understand the context of your article and content. This article by Search Engine Watch can help explain further great basic back linking strategy for SEO.

 

For many years SEO was worked so that sites and articles would come up under as many key phrases as possible. This can cause sites and work to end up in places they just don’t belong and with ranking not deserved. Google wants its clients to find what they are looking for just like we want our ideal client coming to us! This is a good thing! We don’t want our readers boucing from our site because they didn’t find what they were looking fror nor do we want to be left out in the cold because some other site is ranking for keywords that aren’t relavent to their business.

 

Now there are SEO best practice skills that still apply and learning how to get your content out to the people that are most likely to need and share our work is more important than ever. Social media plays a much bigger role in helping you get the search rank that will get you the traffic to increase your business. Finding the right traffic is what we all should be after.

Don’t be upset if what you were once getting indexed for isn’t getting the same rank anymore. Get off it and write content that is mixed with the correct context that will be shared, commented on and of value to your readers. Stop wasting your time writing junk that will not help anyone thinking more is better. DELIVER the goods and you will receive the rank you crave and the business you were hoping to find when you built your website. You see, the best scret SEO tips are what we all should be doing to start with!

Hackers Find WordPress Easy Pickings

WordPress — one of the most widely used tools on the Internet — is rife with vulnerabilities to hack attacks. The problem lies mainly with the plug-ins. No less than 30 percent of the top 50 WordPress plug-ins were found to have one or more critical flaws, according to a recent study by Checkmarx. The results were shocking, said founder and CTO Maty Siman.

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Adobe Reader and Oracle Java aren’t alone in having a bull’s eye painted on their code by hackers. WordPress also is becoming a popular target for Internet outlaws.

It’s quite a large target, too. About 18 percent of the sites on the Web — about 60 million of them — use WordPress.

One reason WordPress is attracting hacker attention is that it’s so easy to write plug-ins for it, noted Maty Siman, founder and CTO of Checkmarx.

There are more than 25,000 plug-ins written for WordPress. “That’s good for WordPress, but it has some bad security implications,” Siman told TechNewsWorld.

For instance, every week there are at least two advisories on critical security vulnerabilities in a WordPress plug-in.

Hacker’s Paradise

Checkmarx is releasing a study on vulnerabilities in WordPress plug-ins. The task was daunting, Siman confessed.

Six months ago, the company started scanning just the top 50 WordPress plug-ins.

“We were overwhelmed by the sheer amount of results,” Siman said.

So the researchers limited themselves to the five most critical vulnerabilities — SQL injection, cross-site scripting, cross-site request forgery, file inclusion and pass reversal.

“Once we limited ourselves to those vulnerabilities, the results were more meaningful — yet shocking,” Siman said. “We found that 30 percent of the top 50 plug-ins were found to be vulnerable to at least one of the vulnerabilities.”

With numbers like that, it’s no wonder hackers are paying more attention to WordPress.

“They’ve found it’s relatively easy to hack WordPress,” Siman observed, “and the benefit of hacking such a website is huge, because once you find a vulnerability, you can hack into millions of websites.”

Coalition Targets NSA

Mozilla and more than 60 technology and business organizations announced last week a coalition to prod federal action to address what they see as broad violations of U.S. citizens’ privacy rights by the National Security Agency.

The NSA has been exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden as mounting a massive data fishing expedition through the servers of Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others and daily hoovering all phone calls made on Verizon’s phone network.

The high-tech giants all initially denied any willing participation in the NSA’s surveillance campaign. However, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple have recently disclosed some information regarding their compliance with government requests.

There’s a lesson about responsibility from the NSA flap, said Free Press Internet Campaign Director Josh Levy.

“This moment is a wake-up for Internet companies — for established companies like Facebook and Google, but also for startups and folks trying to get into these spaces,” he said.

With Great Nets Come Great Responsibility

“They’re realizing that storing users’ data and creating these vibrant platforms, if successful, become mainstays of people’s lives,” Levy continued.

“It entails quite a bit of responsibility,” he added, “and maybe it’s the kind of responsibility that folks like Mark Zuckerberg didn’t really expect to have when they started out years ago.”

The Mozilla StopWatching.us coalition is calling on Congress to take the following steps:

  • Reform federal law to prohibit blanket surveillance of Internet activity and phone records of any person residing in the United States, and to require that violations of that prohibition be reviewed in adversarial proceedings before a public court;
  • Create a special committee to investigate, report Unified Server Monitoring: Free Trial. Click here., and reveal to the public the extent of domestic spying, and to make specific recommendations for legal and regulatory reform to end unconstitutional surveillance; and
  • Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for unconstitutional surveillance.

Trojan Spreads via Bluetooth

Some Android malware that includes Bluetooth in its propagation toolbox was discovered by Kaspersky Lab last week.

The malware — dubbed “Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.a,” is a multifunction Trojan that can send SMS messages to premium rate numbers and download malware to a phone.

It also tries to infect other phones over a Bluetooth connection.

“It’s pretty unusual,” Kaspersky Senior Malware Analyst Denis Maslennikov told TechNewsWorld.

“We’ve never seen this before — but it’s unlikely that this technique would become common and widespread,” he added.

“Besides the fact that Obad can operate as a classic backdoor, it’s as sophisticated as many other types of malware for Windows,” noted Maslennikov. “Growing complexity of mobile malware is becoming a new trend today, and we expect to see more sophisticated threats in the near future.”

PayPal Galactic will help people buy stuff in space

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When you’re in space and you need to buy something, how do you pay for it? That might sound like a ridiculous question right now given the lack of businesses in space and the massive amount of support each space traveler has, but this situation is about to change. In the coming months — yes months, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo is supposed to fly on December 25th — space tourism goes from a dream to a reality. At that point individual citizens will be taking private flights into space, where they will likely need some way of purchasing Dramamine, pictures of themselves in front of the Blue Marble, and all forms of rehydrated food.

How will the world’s cutting edge travelers pay? The simple answer is that no one knows, but PayPal wants to start a conversation about the topic. Sure, someone could just take a wireless credit card reader into space and then handle their transactions — the ISS has a more-than-adequate 10Mbps down/3Mbps up connection — but Paypal is looking for a modern solution to this thoroughly modern problem. Their initiative to answer the question of space payments is PayPal Galactic.

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PayPal Galactic is intended to address the problem of “universal space payments,” which implies a larger solution than transactions that are tethered in some way to the Earth. Missions to Mars and the needs of “astro-tourists” were specifically cited, and Galactic spokesperson Buzz Aldrin agrees with PayPal President David Marcus that cash is not a viable option in the depths of space. Other involved parties include the SETI Institute, the Silicon Valley Space Center, and the Space Tourism Society.

While payments from one person to another in space seem like the obvious goal here, PayPal also noted that making a payment from space back to Earth is an issue as well. The company said that, “Astronauts inhabiting space stations today still need to pay for life’s necessities — from their bills back on Earth to their entertainment, like music and e-books, while in space.” This seems like a less pressing issue given the fact that we’ve been solving that problem for 45 or so years, but as more people travel to space — specifically people without support organizations — hurdles will arise. With an internet connection and a minimal amount of bandwidth you could just use a credit card or Bitcoin to pay for something, regardless of where you are located, but that’s a limited solution given potential problems with jurisdiction (say, in the case of fraud), customer support, taxation, and government regulation.

Right now Galactic is nothing more than a conversation between interested parties — it’s not a consortium or proposed standard or anything like that. PayPal’s current goal is to simply raise awareness about the lack of a proper solution for making non-terrestrial payments. The company freely admits that they don’t have all the answers, but they want to start finding solutions.

Interestingly, PayPal’s Senior Director of PR told me that PayPal co-founder and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has no involvement in Galactic. Virgin Galactic (despite the similarity in names), NASA, the ESA, and other prominent space organizations haven’t gotten involved either.

PayPal Galactic might not be necessary just yet, but it will lead to some interesting questions if it’s taken seriously. It seems unlikely that it would fall to a private corporation to decide on a standard for space payments, though the 1979 Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (commonly known as the Moon Treaty) makes no specific mentions of payments, currency, or the regulation of commerce outside of the Earth’s orbit. If anyone, I suppose this would fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Space Commercialization, which is part of NOAA, and the wider purview of the US Department of Commerce. Of course, if this just ends up being a way to facilitate payments and not, say, a new unit of currency — like the ill-fated Quasi Universal Intergalactic Denomination — such oversight would not be necessary.

The program is being officially announced and more information will be made available at paypal-galactic.com.

Canned Social Media Marketing in an Hour Per Day

Can-of-Social-Media

 

Under normal circumstance, I do not like the types of social media strategies that try to can them into basic processes with time limits. Sure, it’s good to have guidelines, but I find that they’re normally too limiting to allow people to make the right decisions. This infographic is somewhat like that, but it’s design is just too cool in its simplicity to ignore it altogether.

The concepts are actually pretty strong, but unfortunately they’re not realistic in many ways. Spending 15 minutes on content curation and 15 minutes on blog writing, for example, are both potentially unrealistic for all but those who have their processes down (and have the ability to type really, really quickly). It also seems to be giving too much time to everything else other than Facebook which requires much more than 10 minutes a day for it to be effective.

Those disagreements aside, the aesthetic of the infographic is still quite awesome. In a world of complex infographics, having something this simple is refreshing. Is it possible to get social media done in an hour a day? Yes. Is it easy? Yes. Does it take practice and strong strategies? Absolutely.

Social-Media-Hour-Infographic

 

Infographic via Dendrite Park.

How to Know in 30 Seconds if Your Facebook Presence is Working

 

Investigating

Over the last couple of weeks, my exploration into the world of effective automotive social media has turned more towards pitches and consultations. We’ve spent 9 months now digging deeper than ever before into what constitutes success and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty simple – if you aren’t selling cars and driving business to the service drive through social media, you’re not doing it right.

The posting strategies that have proven to be successful are a whole other topic that couldn’t fit into a single blog post, so for now I just want to explore the quick and easy methods that I’ve used to tell if a Facebook page is working or not. It comes down to reach, which means that the answer has absolutely, positively nothing to do with fans. I’ll demonstrate that in a moment.

First, let’s take a look at what you want to see on your page or other pages to determine if they’re posts are actually being seen and having an influence on local people on Facebook.

Low-Engagement-Ratio

 

All of the examples above have varying levels of likes, many of which are higher than most dealers. This is used to grade how well a page is doing, but it’s a false positive. The real number to look at rather than likes is the number to the right – “talking about this.” You can determine how many people are actually being reached based upon this number. For example, look at the second example from the top. It has a ton of fans so it must be doing well, right? Wrong. With only 67 people talking about it, that means that the vast majority of the “fans” are not seeing the posts at all in their news feeds.

Keep in mind that it’s a small ration of reach. In other words, the bottom example that has 70 people talking about this is reaching much more than the one above it that has 14 people talking about it. As a rough estimate, you can multiple the number of people talking about it by 20 and that’s approximately the number of people being reached by the page in a given week. In other words, the bottom example is reaching around 1400 people per week and the one above it is reaching around 380 per week.

Here are some examples of what pages should look like after a few months or even weeks of doing the right things on their page:

High-Engagement-Ratio

 

As you can see, the engagement ratios (determined by dividing the number talking about this with the total number of likes) are much higher in this batch. Even the page at the bottom with a mere 267 likes is talked about by nearly three times as many people as the page above with over 73K fans. The number of people reached by the dealerships’ messages through use Facebook news feeds is much, much higher for these properly managed pages.

It’s not just about how many people you’re reaching. It’s also about where the people you’re reaching live.

Here’s an example of a page that is reaching a lot of people:

Wrong-Area

 

As you can see, they have 2,769 people talking about the posts. They have a good engagement ratio relative to their fans and they’re growing nicely. They are very popular in New York City and reaching more 18-24 year olds than any other demographic. You can easily tell when they started targeting more people with Facebook ads based upon the graph.

It all looks great, right? Well, considering this is a dealership in California, it’s likely that they’re focused on getting nationwide popularity. This is a very bad idea.

I went through 74 people who had liked, shared, or commented on their posts. I could not find a single person engaging with the dealership that was within 30 miles of the store. You cannot easily sell cars to people when you’re targeting the whole country. Is it possible? Sure. Is it much less likely than if you maintain a strong local following and target the people who can actually drive to the dealership and buy a car or get their transmission serviced.

In thirty seconds and two clicks of the button, you can tell very quickly if your Facebook presence is working even without seeing the Facebook Insights. I’ve shown dealers how to dig deeper into their insights to prove it even further, but these two telltale signs are very clear indicators of a page’s presence and how well it is working.

Facebook should be localized. The number of fans is a much less important indicator than the number of people who are actually seeing your posts. The sooner you understand the way that Facebook marketing truly works, the easier it will be for you to find success and start selling cars as a result.