Saturday, 30 November 2013

Arine Solutions - The Online Reputation Management Guide


Two decades ago, an executive made a very public and damaging mistake. They spent years regretting that decision and abandoned their profession. They found a new, honest career and in 2007 took a promising job. In 2008, a coworker dug up their past on Google. They were instantly terminated.

In 2008, a business owner found their personal beliefs exposed to the public. There was an immediate and hostile reaction that cemented itself at the top of the search results for both their name and the company’s. The company’s bottom line suffered.

In 2009, an industry leader found that they were the subjects of a disparaging article from one of the world’s major news networks. In a matter of hours, the article was ranking in the search engines for the company’s name. Clients started calling inquiring about the news report, asking “are the allegations true?” They weren’t, but their reputation was tarnished.

In 2009, a small business found their former employee posting negative remarks on an industry-specific forum with an anonymous username. A day later, the forum was ranking second on Google for the company’s name. In the midst of an economic recession, responding to their accuser wasted precious time and energy.

What do those situations have in common?
Neither the executive, the business owner, the industry leader nor the small business were proactive in managing their online reputation. The executive’s name only appeared in legal documents from two decades ago that were now public record online. The business owner had no presence online outside of small news blurbs and people searches. The industry leader only had a brochure site and a number of casual references. The small business was only mentioned online in their flash site, a handful of press releases and on competitive research sites.

When prospective customers, clients or employees are searching for you, what do they see? Is a hate site or Rip Off Report the number two listing for your name? Or, is there a news report telling the story of your incredible growth in the industry?

Let’s assume the old AOL click data percents from 2006 are still accurate:

Photo credit: SEO Book, Google Ranking Value

How many of those users are absorbing the top ten search results before they click? With embedded videos, indented news results and other Universal Search listings, users’ eyes and clicks are getting drawn deeper down the page. If they see a sensational or negative result, how much more likely are they to click on that versus the positive? And, if you don’t have a negative listing, how many of the results are relevant and within your control?

Why do you need an online reputation?

If you don’t control your brand online, someone else will. Consider recent advancements on the major search engines in:

  • Universal search
  • Personalized search
  • Enhanced search results
  • Rich snippets

  • There are more opportunities than ever before to quickly rank negative or slanderous results. If you don’t protect yourself, someone can easily post a comment, make a video, create a blog post, file a complaint, promote your competition, develop a hate site and more. Or even worse, an angry employee will leave the company with revenge on their mind and reek havoc with to yours. Managing your online reputation isn’t shameless promotion, it’s a means of defense and best practice.

    Who cares about your online reputation?

    Your online reputation can be seen in a number of ways. Whether you’re seeking employment, selling a product, looking for an investor or trying to score a date, someone is going to turn to a search engine to learn more about you. The most common groups are:

    • Consumers
    • Business partners
    • Stock holders
    • Marketers
    • Journalists
    • Prospective employers
    • Co-workers
    • Personal contacts

    How can a negative online reputation affect you?

    The results of a negative online reputation may be as subtle as a user clicking on a competitor’s search result instead of yours or as damaging as an industry-wide boycott of your products and/or services. Besides the obvious financial implications of having a company’s credibility called into question, there are potential legal ramifications that could dominate your time and cripple your financial sustainability, as well. This will often cement trusted news and legal results in the top search rankings so that even if a case is dismissed or resolved, you’ll be living with the consequences for years to come. Things like, determining who is responsible for the negative reputation, if you’ll have to reposition or remove certain employees or dealing with potential losses in workforce, add further monetary, morale and growth consequences.

    How do you assess your online reputation?

    Most users won’t look past the first page or two of search results, so you only need to look at a couple pages for each keyword on the major search engines. Start with simple searches on Google, Yahoo and MSN for all that apply:

    • Your Name
    • Company
    • Brand(s)
    • Product(s)
    • High profile employees
    • Handles/usernames

    Given advancements in personalized search, results can show large discrepancies based on your location and search history, especially when searching for vanity terms you look at often. To get the most accurate search results, first log out of your account on the search engines or, if you’re searching on Google, use a shortcut for disabled personalized search.

    ORM Assessment ORM Assessment How do you decide whether you need to build or fix your online reputation? Once you’ve searched for the relevant keyword phrases on each search engine, use a simple spreadsheet or list to determine whether you need to manage your online reputation. Click here to download a basic sample of an online reputation management assessment sheet.

    Now that you’ve recorded the top thirty search results for each relevant keyword phrase and search engine, tally the results. You want to record how many were negative, indifferent and how many weren’t about you. These numbers will tell you whether you need to build or manage your online reputation.

    The Potential Problem
    If you find that you have a number of search results ranking for your name/company that aren’t about you (especially in the top 10), you will need to start building your reputation. Even though there isn’t an obvious problem, you still need to worry. If you haven’t actively grown your search results, then it’s much easier for something to creep to the top when someone does have a problem with your company or personal brand. By not being proactive about creating your online reputation, you leave yourself vulnerable for someone to do it for you.

    The exception to this is when you share a name with a celebrity, politician, another company, etc. Unless you have a reputation management disaster, it’s unlikely that you or others will be able to rank well for your name when you share it with a high profile subject. With that said, people will still want to find you online, so consider how others will refine their searches to locate you. Will they add an industry, location or product to the search terms? Filter the search results to locate oddities and a significant lack of results, both of which can negatively impact your reputation.

    The Not-So-Obvious Problem
    If there are a number of search results that are about you, but they’re indifferent, you still need to focus on growing your online reputation. Why?

    When consumers, shareholders, employers, the media, etc. are seeking information about you, you want them to find relevant and positive results. If the search results are crowded with indifferent Web sites detailing competitive research and company profiles, the user isn’t finding something that immediately wins them over. It’s to be expected that you’ll have a Wikipedia entry if you’re a big business, or a directory listing, but if that’s the majority of your search presence, how is the information gatherer supposed to build a positive impression of you? They’ve simply recognized that there’s nothing glaringly wrong.

    Also, how many of those results are within your control? For example, a Web site you own, a social profile you registered, a local listing you’ve verified, etc. The more results you see that are within your control, the better. Of course, high profile and positive news results or interviews can only help lend credibility to your brand, but the more results you physically manage, the more control you have over your perceived reputation online.

    The Obvious Problem
    If someone reports your company to a consumer watch group, a competitor follows you around leaving negative comments or an angered customer devotes hours to publicly hating you, then it’s pretty obvious you have an online reputation management problem. Is that negatively impacting the search results though? If you find a number of, or even one, negative search result, you need to fix it.

    The most common reputation management problems come from (ordered by least to most severe):

    • Squatted usernames
    • Squatted domains
    • Doppelgangers
    • Job changes
    • Name changes
    • Negative comments
    • False information
    • Fake profiles
    • Trademark infringement
    • Bad news coverage
    • Legal documents
    • Complaint sites
    • Competitor attacks
    • Hate sites
    • Personal scandals
    • Corporate scandals
    • Industry perceptions

    What should you do about those problems? Seek professional online reputation management services if you don’t already have someone that can effectively fix the situation. We’d recommend contacting Arine Solutions.

    Build Your Reputation
    The following are simple steps you can take to build your own online reputation.
    ORM Safety Net

    Protect Your Name
    The first step to building your online reputation is to register your username. Purchase all relevant domains and TLDs. If you haven’t yet, also register your username with these five essential social networks:

    • Facebook
    • MySpace
    • LinkedIn
    • Twitter
    • Naymz

    Everyday a new social network pops up and if you don’t act fast, someone else can claim your name. Nearly every client we’ve worked with has had a situation where one or more social networks didn’t have their name available and it was causing a major gap in their brand strategy. In many of those situations, the individual that registered the brand’s username was an affiliate, an angry customer or just someone squatting on the username hoping to get cash from the real owner.

    Building your brand is difficult when you don’t have the same handle across each of the social networks. Unfortunately, individuals and business owners don’t have time to chase after those names. Use a service like KnowEm to quickly check and register your name, handle, company, products, high profile employees, domain, etc. across more than two hundred social networks. You can also subscribe to their monthly service and KnowEm will continue to build your profiles as new networks surface on the Web.

    Set Privacy Settings
    Once you’ve secured your username, you need to protect it. If it’s a personal account, manage your privacy settings. With the widespread adoption of social networking, more and more users have found themselves facing a reputation disaster at the hand of drunk photos, inappropriate remarks, slanderous statements or other poor decisions. Most users don’t realize how their social profiles are getting indexed in search results or how they appear to users outside of their network. Familiarize yourself with the settings of each network you belong to.

    You can control whether your Facebook page appears in the search engines by selecting “create a public search listing for me”. Edit this by going to:
    Settings > Privacy > Search > [select search visibility]
    You can now also control the types of information displayed on your Facebook profile if it is indexed in the search engines. By default, your profile picture, friend list, link to add me as a friend, link to send me a message and pages you’re a fan of are public.

    If you want to build your online reputation, keep your profile public and everything visible, but be aware of what you’re using as your profile picture and whether anyone would be shocked by your choose of friends. You can find more information about Facebook privacy settings here:

    • 10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know
    • How to Block Facebook Photos

    MySpace is less advanced than Facebook when it comes to privacy settings, but you can still control how much the public is seeing. If you want your profile to remain private go to:
    My Account > Privacy > [select “profile viewable by”]
    Twitter accounts rank very well if you use your real name as your handle and/or in your profile. Keep in mind that users can find you if they have your email address and tweets are constantly scraped and archived. You should be very cautious about what you tweet unless you’re selective about your friends and make your profile private:
    Settings > Account > [select “Protect my updates”]
    LinkedIn has the most robust controls for the types of information you can show on your public profile. You can choose which fields get indexed in search engines or you can turn your public profile off entirely. Find these settings from:
    Account & Settings > Public Profile Settings > [select view preference]
    Online Reputation Monitoring
    Outspoken LogoAn important component to building your online reputation is to monitor what is already being said. The tools below are designed to help you track the important conversations happening around your brand so that you can identify opportunities to get involved, locate people to engage, and to handle small customer service issues before they grow out of control.

    Tools to Track Your Online Reputation
    Set up alerts and feeds to catch every mention of your name, company, brand, employees, domain, etc. You want to get notification before a problem escalates or enters the top search results. There are hundreds of tools that can help you manage your online reputation, but as a small business owner or individual, the following are the most comprehensive and user-friendly solutions we’ve found.

    Feed Reader
    Google LogoSet up a feed reader to help you view the custom feeds you’ll be tracking for your keyword phrases. Your reader can be as simple as a gadget on your iGoogle home page or a full feed service like Google Reader.

    Google Alerts
    Google LogoSet up Google Alerts for free to track Web results, news, blogs, video and groups. Subscribe via email or through a feed.

    Yahoo Alerts
    Yahoo LogoSet up Yahoo Alerts for free to track news by keyword, stocks, local news, feeds and more. Receive notifications via email, Yahoo Messenger or mobile.

    Twitter Search
    Twitter LogoFormerly known as Summize, Twitter Search makes it simple to search Twitter for any mentions of a particular keyword phrase. There is also an array of advanced search parameters that let you search by location, sentiment, dates, links, a particular person and more. Subscribe to the feed for your search results.

    Technorati LogoSearch Technorati to find mentions of your blog or specific keywords across other blogs. Subscribe to the search results feed and get notified of new mentions.

    One of the most robust comment solutions is BackType. With it, you can claim your comments on blogs, find comments that mention a particular keyword, view all conversations from a particular post or article and subscribe to those conversations.

    Social Mention
    Social Mention is similar to Google Alerts, but specifically tailored for social media. Since Google Alerts can be buggy, Social Mention helps catch immediate conversations around a specific keyword. Subscribe to the feed, get email alerts or download the Excel file.

    Track conversations across forums and message boards with BoardReader. You can refine results by date, from a particular domain and by relevance.

    Q&A Tracking
    Yahoo LogoIf anyone is asking questions about you, your company or a particular keyword, you can track those on certain Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers. Do an advanced search for a particular keyword and then subscribe to the RSS feed at the bottom of the page to allow you to keep track of future mentions.

    Trackur pulls keyword mentions from a variety of sources, not just Google Alerts, but its biggest use comes from the ability to save, sort, tag, share and subscribe to particular feeds. It costs less than $20 a month and is perfect for small businesses.

    Get Involved
    Now that you’ve secured your username, set up your profiles and created ways to track your keywords, you have to dive into the conversation. What’s being said about you? If there isn’t much, it’s time to get involved. Besides building your credibility, each of the following suggestions will help strengthen your rankings in the search engines.

    Build your professional and personal networks. Find your coworkers, friends, clients and business partners, then befriend them. Get involved in their conversations, answers questions, keep them informed of your life or business, etc. Do this on:

    • Professional sites like LinkedIn, Naymz and Plaxo
    • Personal sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
    • School-related sites like Classmates and Reunion
    • Corporate sites like BusinessWeek, Crunchbase and FastCompany
    • Review sites like Yelp and Amazon
    • Media sites like Flickr, YouTube or Vimeo
    • Resume sites like Emurse, Resume Social and Rezume
    • Bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg or Mixx
    • Popular industry blogs
    • Industry-specific social networks, forums and groups
    • Local social networks, forums and groups
    • Special interest or lifestyle social networks, forums and groups

    Position yourself as an authority in your space. When you become an authority, the community is more likely to link to you, send business opportunities, refer you to the media, etc. Here are several ways to grow your authority:

    • Start a group, organization, MeetUp or TweetUp
    • Participate in Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers or
    • Optimize your corporate profile on the company site (if applicable)
    • Create a personal Web site
    • List your business in relevant local listings
    • Make videos
    • Make podcasts
    • Create a personal blog or Tumblr
    • List your blog in relevant blog directories
    • Write guest posts on popular industry blogs
    • Conduct interviews with industry leaders on your blog
    • Get interviewed on other’s blogs or podcasts on sites like Odeo
    • Speak at industry events and/or conferences
    • Get quoted in local, regional and national news
    • Donate to charity
    • Sponsor an event or conference
    • Receive nominations and awards
    • Promote news-worthy information through press releases

    Prevent Reputation Problems
    As you grow your presence online, you’ll find that there is more to keep track of. This isn’t a bad thing, but you do need to monitor and manage it to prevent potential problems. You can do this by using different social media management tools, being accessible to your customers/clients, responding to customer service inquiries, owning your negatives, building credibility and responding to criticism.

    Social Media Management

    Use tools like HootSuite and EasyTweets to manage multiple Twitter accounts.
    Use to distribute tweets to multiple social profiles at once.
    Use Disqus to track your comment threads.
    Use Atom Keep to update multiple profiles at once.
    And, keep an eye out for SocialStream to aggregate multiple social accounts

    Be Accessible

    Most reputation problems start because the user isn’t able to effectively communicate with the business or individual. Then, in frustration, they turn to “simpler” channels like Twitter, blogs or complaint sites. To help combat this, display accurate contact information on and off-site. If you can’t respond within 24 hours, tell users that you will get to them within a specific time frame. Provide multiple forms of contact information. Some users will not want to contact you through email or the telephone. Make both options available to them.

    Invest in Customer Service

    If you don’t have the budget for a costly contact management system or call center, build a Web-based customer service portal on site. Use tools like Suggestion Box or Get Satisfaction to help you do this.

    Own Your Negatives

    Why would you ever purchase the domain [companyname] Because if a user is searching for an alternative to your brand or looking to express frustration, wouldn’t you like a chance to win them over? By ranking for your negatives, you give your company one last chance to convince a user why they should stay with your service or give your product another try. You should also purchase negative domains so that others can’t make a simple hate site and rank on domain relevance.

    Another important way to own your negatives is to create a Frequently Asked Question or customer service area on your site that asks questions with those phrases in the text like “What are some alternatives to [product name]?” Then give them a different version of your product or services or send them to a friendly partner’s site.

    Build Credibility
    Do you have client or customer testimonials? If you don’t already have those testimonials, make an effort to collect them in the future. Then, post those testimonials on the site. You can also track positive mentions on sites like Twitter or LinkedIn and add those to your site. Give customers the ability to add product reviews. In short, engage your community to give them recognition for finding you and build your credibility to prospective users in the process.

    If you belong to industry-specific associations or groups, establish trust by displaying those logos on your site. Do the same with quality rating services like the Better Business Bureau and security logos (like Verisign, Thwarte and McAfee Secure to name a few). And, give your users a guarantee (that you can keep), so they feel more secure with their decision.

    Respond to Criticism
    Once you start monitoring your online reputation and you discover there are negative comments being made, how should you respond? If someone is genuinely upset, contact them and try to resolve the issue. Don’t get defensive, just apologize and give them something comparable to the situation whether it’s a promise that they’ll be treated differently in the future, a refund or free products/services. If the user appears to be a troll, a response may not be the best solution, learn how to respond to negative reviews and print out the Air Force Blog Assessment to help you assess users.

    If you find yourself facing a serious reputation management problem, contact us for professional online reputation management services.

    The ORM Industry
    Outspoken LogoStay informed about the latest online reputation management and monitoring news, products and techniques. Here are some industry books, additional guides and articles to read if you can’t get enough ORM.

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    Read more :

    Friday, 15 November 2013

    Google Webmaster Tools Adds “Security Issues” Section


    Google has announced the addition of a new section within Webmaster Tools named “Security Issues.” This new section is aimed at better communicating to website owners security issues, such as site hacks, malware, and so on and then giving a more detailed and concise method of fixing the problem and submitting a review request.
    In the new security issues section, you’ll be able to:
    • Find more information about the security issues on your site, in one place.
    • Pinpoint the problem faster with detailed code snippets.
    • Request review for all issues in one go through the new simplified process.

    Find More Information:

    You’ll be able to see all sorts of security issues that may be on your site, including malware code injection, error template injection, SQL injection, content injection for spam and much more.
    Here is a screen shot of some of these security issues as seen in Webmaster Tools:sec-issues-1k

    Pinpoint The Security Threat:

    Google will then let you zoom into the actual hack or malware, so you can quickly scan your site for a match on that suspicious snippet of code or content. Here is an example of what that may look like:

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    Google’s Matt Cutts: Don’t Worry About An SEO Down Side To Responsive Design, There Is None

    In a video released today by Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, he said you don’t have to worry about there being a down side, related to SEO, when using a responsive design approach for mobile web sites.
    The question posed to him was:
    Is there an SEO disadvantage to using responsive design instead of separate mobile URLs?
    The answer is no, in fact, there is no duplication of efforts when it comes to linking and PageRank, which does have a benefit when compared to using separate mobile URLs.
    Here is the video:

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    Google’s Matt Cutts: When Commenting On Blog Posts, Try To Use Your Real Name

    In a recent video published by Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts talks about are blog comments with links spam?
    In short, most of the time, commenting and leaving links to your site or resources is not directly spam but like anything, it can be abused.
    Matt offers some tips on how to make sure your comments are not considered spam by Google or the site you are leaving it on:
    (1) Use your real name when commenting. When you use a company name or anchor text you want to rank for, it makes it look like you are leaving the comment for commercial marketing purposes and thus may look spammy.
    (2) If your primary link building strategy is about leaving links in blog post comments and it shows that a majority of your links come from blog comments, then that might raise a red flag.
    Here is Matt’s video:

    Google Offering Online Site Reviews This Monday, November 18th

    Google’s John Mueller announced that on this Monday’s Google office-hours, Google will be offering “short website reviews” for webmasters who are looking for advice.
    To participate, you must add your website to thisGoogle Moderator page. Then, if Google has time and wants to review your site, Google will review it live, this Monday, November 18th at 10am EDT via Google+ Hangouts.
    If you want to be live on the hangout yourself, you can add the event to your calendar and then wait for Google to launch the Google+ Hangout on air.
    The site reviews will last one-hour and seems like it will be lead by John Mueller. I am not sure if John will have other Googlers helping him with the site reviews or not.
    John explained:
    For this hangout, we’ll review sites that are submitted via the moderator page and give a short comment on where you might want to focus your efforts, assuming there are any issues from Google’s point of view.  :)

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    Tuesday, 12 November 2013

    How to Increase your SEO with Google Plus

    Categories: Google Plus, Google plus marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

    Google Plus is more than just a social media site. It can be a tool that can help boost a website’s ranking on Google’s search engine.
    With the changes and updates on the Google algorithm which was introduced as the Hummingbird, Google Plus becomes an integral part of any online marketing and SEO strategies of bloggers, webmasters and internet marketers.
    So what is Google Plus, really?
    Google describes the service as connecting social, communication and people which is designed to build your website’s ability to rank higher on search. Here we show you how to increase your SEO with Google+.

    4 tips to build content relevance on Google Plus

    Blogger and content marketers use their Google Plus profile to associate their content to their own authorship. By writing high quality content about subjects belonging to your business category will help the search engine to identify you as an authority within your niche. Your content should always be relevant to your business industry to help the search engine identify your business niche where you are trying to build your authorship.
    The main objective of Google Plus is to improve the user’s experience by integrating quality content publication to your social networks. It requires that your content should be one that is relevant, accurate and updated for the benefits of your readers.
    In order to help the search engine identify your authorship and field of business industry, Google Webmasters offer the following tips to help you build your content relevance on search:
    • Optimize your Google Plus profile. It is important to optimize your Google Plus profile in order to make it more revealing to your followers. As much as possible, complete all the required fields from your Google profile such as adding your profile image (no one will like to follow an  anonymous Google Plus author), website URL, business details and description. If you can, have your Google Plus Page get verified by Google to improve your credibility. 
    • Link your Google Plus Page to your site and social extensions. By adding your Google Plus Page directly on your website will make it easier for the search engine to associate your website to your Google Plus profile. Use the snippet of the code for your Page and connect the code to your Adwords campaign as well as to your social extensions. Using the Google Plus badge or the +1 button will also make it easier for your social connections to follow and identify your authorship to your website.
    • Be consistent in posting high quality content. People are more likely to follow you if you are able to constantly connect with them by posting high quality content that they find useful. By writing highly relevant content,  the search engine queries can assist you in achieving high rankings in Google web search and even on the Google Plus search results. 
    • Make your content dynamically engaging. To make your post engaging, offer your readers solutions to their problems. Commenting on the conversations on your Google Plus page will help your readers to easily connect to your content, making it more relevant to their needs and to the search engine as well.

    Creating your Google Plus page and snippet

    In order to help your authorship become more popular in the search engine, you need to optimize your Google Plus snippet. This will be crucial in order to drive traffic to your Google Plus Page. The Google Plus snippet will show your Google Plus Page image alongside your content in the search result. Web users can also immediately find the number of your Google Plus circles directly from the snippet.
    The benefits that can be derived from optimizing your snippet include:
    • Building more credibility and professionalism on your content and authorship.
    • It can capture the attention of web users that can encourage more clicks and grow the number of followers.
    • It can also be a good tool for building your own personal branding.
    All these can help boost your website’s rank on the search engine through your Google Plus authorship popularity online.

    How the Google +1 button can boost your search ranking

    The Google +1 button is another tool available that comes with your Google Plus profile. If you are already familiar with the Like button on Facebook, the Google +1 works in a similar way but much better.
    The button provides its users the benefits of conveniently sharing their content in their social media networks and to encourage others to click on the button to express how cool the content is. This can significantly increase the traffic of your website and helps boost its search rank. Each time a web user clicks on your Google +1 button, it is a way of sharing your content to their networks. The more people sharing your button sends signals the search engine that your content is relevant and worth sharing to others. This gives your authorship a boost in the search engine calculations.
    The use of the Google +1 helps your search engine ranking as well. Google announced upon the launching of the Google Plus that they will be using the Google +1 button as a social signal for website ranking on the search engine and will likely to be used on search quality in the long term. Each time someone clicks on your Google +1 button it adds to your credit on the search rank that adds more relevance and credibility to your website.
    Adding the Google + button to your website is easy with these steps:
    1. Go to the Google Developers ( Google+ Platform under the Products section.
    2. Select the options that are available to suit your preferences as to where you want the Google+ button to be annotated on your website and the button size. There are also advanced options available for you to tweak upon to create your button.
    3. The tool will then generate the code for your Google+ button. Use this code to paste on your website which should appear like this on your HTML:
    <title>+1 demo: Basic page</title>
    <link rel=”canonical” href=”” />
    <script type=”text/javascript” src=””>
    It is best to position the Google+ button on a specific area in your content that will make it more accessible to your reader’s viewing. Google Webmaster suggests that you should place the button above the fold to make it more visible to your website visitors. It can also be placed near the title of your content. These positions will optimally make your button more easily accessible without the need of scrolling down your website page.

    So what about you?

    Have you set up a Google+ page? Have you created Google Plus one sharing buttons on your site? Do you enjoy using Google+?
    Look forward to hearing your insights and stories in the comments below.
    Guest author Kelly Wilson 

    Want to learn how to make your blog a success with social media marketing and contagious content?

    It is now available to download. I show you how to create and build a blog that rocks and grow tribes, fans and followers on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It also includes dozens of tips to create contagious content that begs to be shared and tempts people to link to your website and blog.

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    Friday, 8 November 2013

    Arine Solutions : Why choose SMS marketing?

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    Mobile Marketing Ideas for Christmas

    Mobile Marketing Ideas for Christmas
    I hate to say it, but Christmas is coming and it will hopefully be a busy time for many of us. As a marketer or business owner we are all going to be need to do everything we can to maximise the opportunities this period offers by ensuring maximum exposure for our businesses, products and services. And don’t forget, the increased footfall over the Christmas period is also an excellent opportunity to grow your direct marketing database in preparation for your New Year marketing efforts.

    Lets Make it a Mobile Christmas!

    In this post I’d like to highlight a few ideas and case studies to show how some leading brands have run some very simple Christmas based mobile marketing campaigns that proved very effective at promoting their products and building up a subscriber list that could then be used in their future marketing efforts. While the examples below were run by some leading brand names, a version of each of these ideas could equally be executed by any small business with minimal effort and budget.

    McDonalds Run a Text Competition to reward loyalty, promote the brand and build their “mobile club”

    A text competition is a great way to build some buzz around your business while building up your mobile database and rewarding customer loyalty. Restaurant chain McDonalds most successful mobile marketing campaign was a simple Christmas based text competition run in Italy.
    McDonalds bound the option to enter a competition to purchase by printing a code on the bottom of cups that were given to customers when they made a purchase. McDonalds reported a stunning 25% response rate - with more than 1.5 million participations in five weeks. While we are not all going to get that kind of response rate, running a simple “mobile competition” is very easy to do, can be set-up in days and is very cost-effective.
    So how could this work for your business? The first step would be to register a keyword on a 5 digit short code (e.g. 51444) with a mobile marketing service. Then just decide on your call to action and publicise it. For example, ask your customer to text the word ABCD to 51444 to enter a draw for a x-mas hamper or voucher. Bind the competition to a purchase by displaying this message at point-of-sale or why not print it on a compliment slip that you put into the customers bag with their purchase.
    When the customer texts the number to the short code their details will be stored in the mobile marketing service of your provider and their details will be available for you to use in future marketing efforts such as your New Year sales promotions.

    Promote Your Business With a Mobile Ad

    Like them or loathe them smart phones are everywhere. In November 2010 a survey conducted by Sponge It suggested that over half of Irish consumers owned a smart phone. With more and more of your customers researching their Christmas purchases online (a survey by The Mobile Marketing Association in 2010 found that 67% of those surveyed said they expected to use their phone for Christmas shopping and organising their celebrations), this provides a great opportunity for your business to connect with potential customers while they are “on the go” and you don’t need to go and build a costly smart phone app to do it.
    Using a mobile ad network such as or using Google Mobile Adwords will allow you to create an ad which you can configure to display on mobile websites only i.e. when your customers are browsing the web on their smart phones.
    Mobile ads can be very effective, with a recent study from mobile audience media company JiWire revealing that 52% of those surveyed claimed they have acted on a mobile advertisement with 18% having made a purchase directly from a mobile ad in the last month.
    So how can this benefit you? If you already advertise your business using Google adwords, why not allocate some of your budget towards a mobile ad campaign. The process of creating the campaign is very similar to creating a standard Google Adwords campaign so don’t be put off. However depending on how you configure the campaign, your ad will only display on certain mobile devices etc. When the consumer clicks on the ad in their mobile browser they will be directed to a web page of your choosing or you can even configure your ad to automatically phone your business when the consumer clicks the ad.
    Like them or loathe them smart phones are everywhere. In November 2010 a survey conducted by Sponge It suggested that over half of Irish consumers owned a smart phone. With more and more of your customers researching their Christmas purchases online (a survey by The Mobile Marketing Association in 2010 found that 67% of those surveyed said they expected to use their phone for Christmas shopping and organising their celebrations), this provides a great opportunity for your business to connect with potential customers while they are “on the go” and you don’t need to go and build a costly smart phone app to do it.
    One thing to bear in mind is that your company’s website will have been designed to have maximum impact on a PC or laptop screen. Mobile phones have much smaller displays, so if you want your ad to have maximum impact consider getting a mobile optimised landing page created for your ad. Or even better, create a page that will engage the consumer and promote your brand. An excellent example of this is a mobile advertising campaign run by Honda to promote the launch of their new hybrid the Honda Insight.
    Honda decided to promote the environmental credentials of the Insight by linking the ad with the World Wildlife Funds Earth Hour initiative where people were encouraged to “turn off the lights” for an hour on 28th of March 2009. When a consumer clicked on the Honda Insight mobile ad they were taken to a mobile web page where they could enter their mobile number to get a reminder SMS to “turn off the lights” on WWF Earth Day. This innovative campaign received click through rates of 26.9%, a remarkable achievement. Now we are not all Honda and we may not be in a position to remind our customers to save the environment, but this idea could apply to many of our businesses. Are you planning to run a big Christmas event or post Christmas sale. Creating a mobile ad linked to a web page where a consumer could enter their number to receive a reminder before the event is surprisingly easy and affordable. You do not need a “Honda Budget” to run a campaign like this. Not only will you be promoting your brand and event, but you will also build an invaluable consumer database which can be used in the future to promote other events.

    Running a Christmas Event – Promote it by sending a mobile invitation.

    Are you planning to run a special Christmas related event or post-Christmas sale? Well running a “text-for-invite” campaign is a great way to promote your event, build some buzz and reward your customers. With this type of campaign, customer’s text a special keyword to a short code number to receive a VIP invitation to the event.
    The Starserve invitations were simple SMS messages with a unique invitation code in each message sent. However, equally the SMS invite could contain a link to a branded mobile web invite with your company’s logo and graphics. A great way to promote your brand. So how could this idea work for your business? Well are you considering running a Christmas event or post Christmas sale? Why not offer priority treatment to regular customers who display their mobile invite. By texting to receive an invite you will be engaging your customers and promoting your event/sale while also building up your mobile database for future use.

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    7 Marketing Truths Every Business Leader Should Know

    "Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department."
    – David Packard, co-founder, Hewlett-Packard
    If you ask 20 business leaders to define marketing, you’ll probably get 20 different answers. Why is marketing so hard to pin down? Probably because most marketers don’t understand it themselves. They spend their careers locked in a narrow purview and never really see the big picture.
    According to the father of modern management, Peter Drucker, "Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."
    So, what is marketing? Legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former Intel executive Bill Davidow said, "Marketing must invent complete products and drive them to commanding positions in defensible market segments." The man should know. He wrote the seminal book on high-tech marketing
    Funny thing is, Davidow didn’t learn marketing in school. All his degrees are in electrical engineering. Steve Jobs, another brilliant marketer, dropped out of school. I’ve run marketing for a number of high-tech companies and my degrees are technical, as well. Not an MBA in the bunch.
    So how do great marketers learn about marketing? On the job.
    Startup companies are great places to earn your marketing chops because they’re all about developing innovative products and getting customer traction – and not much else. Besides, they’re always strapped for cash and needing people to wear lots of hats. That’s how I got started in marketing more than 20 years ago. Here are 7 truths I learned along the way that every business leader should know:
    Marketing is like sex: Everyone thinks they’re good at it. 
    There are more posers in marketing than other fields, probably because the demand is strong, the supply is weak, and it’s easy to fake. As David Hornik of August Capital once said, “VCs like to think that they are marketing geniuses. We really do.” The reason, he says, is because “we can fake it far more convincingly than in other areas …” They’re not the only ones.
    Brands win … still. 
    Many thought e-commerce would level the playing field and render branding irrelevant. Not only has that not happened, I can make a case for the opposite being true. Back in the heyday of AOL, Bob Pittman said, “Coca-Cola does not win the taste test. Microsoft does not have the best operating system. Brands win.” Big brands like Apple, Google, Coca Cola, IBM and Microsoft have never been more powerful.
    Marketing is about understanding people. 
    It’s about determining what customers want, sometimes before they know it themselves. If you’ve got a knack for that sort of thing, trust your gut. Be your own focus group of one. And while it’s tempting to think of markets as amorphous virtual entities, remember that, even in the B2B world, every product is purchased by a human being in the real world.
    Innovators don’t reinvent the wheel. 
    Some people are great inventors. They come up with wild concepts that nobody’s ever thought of. But great marketers tend to be innovators who turn inventions into things people can use. Marketing thrives on reusing ideas in new ways. The groundbreaking Intel Inside branding program was actually an ingredient marketing scheme – like Smuckers jam in Pop Tarts – adapted to the PC industry.
    Marketing is too important to leave to the marketing department. 
    Marketing is the hub of the business wheel. It’s where product development, manufacturing, finance, communications, and sales all meet. Marketing’s stakeholders are every critical function in the company. Every member of the leadership team is an adjunct of the marketing department.
    Markets are zero-sum games. 
    Contrary to today’s popular feel-good wisdom, in business, winning is everything. Every transaction has one buyer and one seller. If you do it right, buyer and seller both win. All the other would-be sellers lose. The real world is brutally competitive. Period.
    You don’t need a big budget to create a big buzz. 
    By executing the right communication strategy, great marketers can create a groundswell of customer excitement and viral demand for a company or product that nobody’s ever heard of. And it can be done on a shoestring budget. Steve Jobs was a master at maintaining secrecy and controlling exactly how and when anybody learned anything about Apple’s products.
    The truth is that great marketers are few and far between. Which begs the question, who exactly are you trusting the most important aspect of your business to? Something for you to think about.

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