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It’s Friday night and I thought I’d drop this little Online Marketing Article Roundup into the mix…

One morning this past week, like most mornings, my Inbox was busting at the seams with Online Marketing newsletters, articles, tips, guides and so on.

It’s rare that I have the time to read them, letting my Outlook Filters, Rules and Alerts do their organizing tricks. Of course, with the intention of visiting them at some point in the near future.

But last night, after I finished teaching my Kung Fu class, I opened a few of them and found some interesting reads.

21 Online Marketing Articles to Read Today

We’ve got 6 SEO Articles, 4 Google Articles, 6 Social Media Articles, 3 User Experience (UX) Articles, and 2 WordPress Articles. There may even a Bonus Article at the bottom!

SEO

Google

Google

Social Media

Social Media

User Experience

User Experience

WordPress

WordPress

Bonus

Bonus

Ever come across a tear-jerking video or post on that well-known social media giant, Facebook, and struggle with how to digitally react?

Sure. Everyone has. You don’t necessary Like that a friend’s family-member is in the hospital, but you want to show support and give the post a boost, with the hopes of others will see it – be notified, share emotional support, etc.

Liking something just doesn’t seem to cover many emotional reactions we may have to a story.

Facebook has finally upped their game in this area.

They’ve now introduced more post reactions. If you hover your mouse over the "Like" link, you’re now presented with additional options.

There’s the Thumbs-Up, representing the typical Like. But now you also have Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry, along with their acompanying cute emoticons.

But this has been released for a few weeks now, actually. And although I, personally, have been making use of the new choices, I am only seeing slight traction from others. What say you? Are you using them? Do you Like them?

Big Data

Wikipedia will tell you that Big Data" is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications".

Online Marketers have jumped all over this (not-so-new) Big Data concept, buzzword and hype. Why? Well it’s fairly obvious. Data = Information and Information = Power. But beyond that, it’s what we use in Marketing; email lists, social media profiles, analytics, CRM (Customer / Client Relationship Management), and many other things are opportunities to fine-tune our message, our audience, our websites, our understanding…

There are blatant advantages in having access to deep data in marketing. However, there is also the innate potential that is not so good; and it is happening right now.

Just look at the recent hot trend of Infographics. During 2011 – 2013, I have seen so many of them, but now we are seeing fewer and fewer as it’s become saturated (Marketers and saturation in the same sentence? Say it ain’t so… 😛), over-hyped, over-used, mis-used and just plain tired.

But think for a moment why they popped up in the first place. Unless you’re an Accountant or someone who just gets overly-excited by seeing a gazillion numbers in a spreadsheet, which I doubt, then you need a way to visualize the information being thrown your way.

I’m searching for employment. So I’m looking at Job Boards, LinkedIn, classifieds, blogs – you name it – but basically I am reading a whole lot of Job Descriptions. And I learn a lot from this activity, besides merely collecting Big Data:

  • What the hiring trends are
  • What recruiters, hiring managers and HR Pros believe certain technologies, buzzwords and more mean
  • What these people believe are best practices
  • What they feel is good experience or knowledge to fulfill these roles are
  • What the best KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are
  • What the latest trend, tool, methodology, etc. is and how important it is to them
  • And much more

For the most part, what I learn is both disappointing (as someone fairly knowledgeable in the field) and frustrating (as someone looking to fill these roles). For example, I see many companies with e-commerce websites who want Online Marketers or SEO Pros to specifically have X years in Retail. This tells me that they really do not understand what is involved in these areas; yes – understanding the retail holiday shopping calendar is important – but this is common "marketing" knowledge; yes we need to understand taxes, shipping, etc. and again – this is "marketing" knowledge. Or how about the ads that say they want a Front-End Developer (and this always kills me), yet the Job Requirements list a host of Server-Side Languages. And a bit more relevant…Social Media Marketer needs to be expert in analytics, CRM, CMS, (Content Management System) jQuery and other completely irrelevant things…

Another area of example is the last item in that list up there – the "Latest & Greatest" craze. People listen to podcasts, read blogs and other media, attend conferences, etc. and hear about the hottest new thing. And they gobble it up. This piece of "Big Data" would be called Early Adopters.

Those rare good Marketing Managers source and read a whole lotta Case Studies. And this is a good thing. I, for one, love Case Studies. They help you learn, help you sell, help you win. Often. However…These two things go hand-in-hand more often than not: Latest & Greatest + Case Studies. Take a look at it and think for a minute – Twitter comes out – everybody loves it – it’s the coolest ever! All sorts of studies, all sorts of best practices, all sorts of new tools and methodologies. And then there is our earlier example of Infographics. But look at it today – yes all that stuff is still out there. But now we realize it may not be for everybody. We realize that it takes some sort of magic to have decent ROI (Return On Investment) in its use. Or does it?

You are doing it wrong

Bad Big Data?

So am I saying Big Data, Data Visualization, Case Studies, Social Media, Actionable Data and all the other goodies are bad? Definitely not. However I am saying something similar to a recently popular Facebook meme. You’ve seen them – funny photos with a specific quote – for example the picture of a bus in NYC, where the front LED sign says something like "Moon" and the quote says something like "Go Home bus, You’re Drunk" or "You’re Doing it Wrong". Yep – that’s what I want to say to a whole lot of folks out there – you’re doing it wrong.

Yeah, yeah, I know – Who am I to say such a thing? How Dare I? And so on. But hear me out.

Although I have been feeling this way for quite a while now, it wasn’t until recently when I began re-reading (for like the 10th time) a certain collaborative work that hoped to give a clue to these very people. Reading it for the tenth time should tell you something:

  1. It’s an older work, and more importantly
  2. It’s valuable and still relevant

That last piece is the most bothersome. It’s a very popular work – many people have read it, thought they understood it and implemented it in the way they understood it. And that’s where I have to say yet again You Totally Missed the Boat, Missed the Point; in short – You’re Doing It Wrong.

So get on your thinking caps and take off your PR Magical Buzzwords from the Big Data Boss Hats and let’s get cracking!

Social Media Buttons

Social Media. Facebook. Twitter. LinkedIn. Pinterest. I’m fairly certain you’re familiar with those names.

Branding hasn’t been much of an issue for Social Media. Most everyone at least knows about them, what they are and even their branding images – even if they don’t actively participate.

You can find those little Social Media icons and buttons all over the internet. Like us here, Share us there, Follow us everywhere.

Everybody uses Social Media and they recognize the social media buttons and icons.

For example on this website, you can find ways to share articles on your favorite social site – just scroll down. And up top? You can see links to my various social sites as well.

Social Media Buttons and Proximity

Do these little social graphics actually have any effect, aside from being a clickable way to share?

Some recent research suggests they do.

A joint study by the University of Miami School of Business Administration, Empirica Research and StyleCaster Media Group hints that consumers are affected by these little jewels…Subconsciously.

When social media icons were in close proximity to items that users would be proud to show off, such as sportswear or fragrances, it was found that users were 25% more likely to make a purchase.

However the flip side seemed also to be true. When those social buttons were near items that might embarrass them, like a weight-loss product or acne medication, users were 25% less likely to buy the product.

Interestingly enough, the buttons had the same impact on the users regardless of whether or not they consciously remember seeing them…

As an aside, however, it’s important to note that if you are using a WordPress-powered site, the majority of Social plugins out there cause huge bloat, meaning that they seriously slow down your site. So this is a trade-off. Consider CSS sprites or hard-coding out the links yourself.

Social Media Buttons Study

Disco Google

Google's new Disco

UPDATE:
Disco Discontinued.

Yesterday I posted about Facebook Acquiring Beluga to bolster to make use of their mobile group messaging technology.

Mobile Group Messaging War

Facebook is not the only contender in this space. Now that they’ve acquired one of their would-be competitors, they only have to deal with the applications like GroupMe, Groupflier, Celly, Fast Society and Kik, although Facebook will easily dominate the marketshare in my opinion.

Enter Google’s Disco

That’s right; now Google has entered the fray.

Their new service, Disco, is offered both as an online service and as an iPhone application. No Android download yet, due to the acquisition of Slide; yet this very same Slide acquisition gives Disco the ability to support Facebook integration in order to import your friends, etc.

Disco is extremely bare bones currently and I’m guessing Google just wanted to get into the competitive landscape ASAP.

Mobile, Online and Social Marketing

With such a landscape growing, it will be interesting to see a similar explosion happening for advertising and marketing service providers.

Updated

Google shutters Slide, founder Max Levchin moves to greener pastures

Beluga from Facebook

Facebook Catches Beluga (Whale)

UPDATE
Beluga no longer exists…

You’ve created a social Group on Facebook for the SMM (Social Media Marketing) in your Online Marketing campaign; yet you see very little activity… Sound familiar?

With smart phones all the rage of mobile and Facebook all the rage of social – brand interaction can happen at any time. Except within Facebook Groups; the technology hasn’t been integrated.

Well that’s about to change.

Beluga Whales are Social Critters

"Beluga whales are smart, social, and mobile. Just like our apps." That’s the Facebook tag line for Beluga, a company offering a mobile messaging service within groups they call "Pods". The nifty apps have been freely available for the iPhone & Android markets.

To skeptics of the reliability & technology of this young company, having only launched in late 2010, I point to the Beluga Team itself; Ben Davenport, Lucy Zhang and Jonathan Perlow are three ex-Google engineers – so you know it’s got to be good.

Beluga helps groups of friends stay in touch on the go. Use it to plan a night out or just share updates and photos. It’s instant, intimate and simple. Best of all, it’s completely free.

There’s an old simple marketing formula – "Identify a Problem & Present a Solution". So what if we plugged in Facebook’s mobile group messaging problem with Beluga’s solution?

Big Fish Facebook Chomps Beluga Whale and Marketers Win

Facebook took the bait, acquiring Beluga earlier this month. They took the team and the technology. And I bet they’ve got your attention too.

With Facebook’s preexisting oomph and Beluga’s mobile group messaging, location integration and photo-sharing, it looks like your Social Media Marketing campaigns might be getting the boosts they need – via Groups.

I think Social Media Marketing just got a little more interesting. What do you think?

Read the announcement on TechCrunch:
Facebook Acquires Group Messaging Service Beluga In A Talent AND Technology Deal

Facebook Privacy

Facebook - Privacy

We all know that most folks are a bit up in arms about Facebook‘s Privacy issues…

But, did you know that you can actually be a “Fan” of Facebook’s privacy? Crazy, but true.

On the Facebook blog, they announced that they’ve actually created a Facebook Privacy Fan Page, where you can "Like" it

Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

Facebook Privacy Resources