The Mantra of Digital Marketing: Be of Value!

Strive to be of value albert einstien

 

Some great words of wisdom from Albert Einstein. This is something that directly applies to Digital Marketing. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” The key here is “To be of VALUE.” By creating something of value, success will follow.

Here are 3 things to think about when creating content:

  1. Is it valuable to someone? (other than yourself)
  2. What am I providing that is unique?
  3. Is it timely information?

Algorithm – Online Marketing Term of the Week

SEO algorithm diagramAlgorithm

  1. A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
  2. In SEO, the formula that search engines use to determine the ranking of websites on their results pages.

Being a Solution Provider and Building Relationships

Last Thursday we took a trip to Middletown Connecticut to do a photo-shoot for one of our newest clients: A.R. Mazzotta. It was a lot of fun and great opportunity to spend time with the A.R. Mazzotta staff.

A.R. Mazzotta Logo - A Connecticut Staffing AgencyA.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists is a staffing company that serves the state of Connecticut. They contracted us to develop their new website as well has to partner with them for their Digital Marketing. In the past few weeks we formulated the plan for new site and also started development.

Of course one thing every new website needs is quality images and photography. The President at ARM, Laura is fundamentally against using stock photos. You know, the photos that you can buy online that hundreds, maybe thousands of other companies are using. So, she wanted to use real photos of the company staff and employees.

One thing we always incorporate in our projects is a weekly status call. So while working on the planning stages of the website, I really started to get to know Laura’s and her company’s personalities. In this time I watched Laura go through two local professional photographers, without getting the quality of photos that she really wanted. Instead of just sitting and waiting until she found the right photographer or trying to push her to use stock photos, I decided to be proactive and take action.

Thinking outside the box to solve a client’s hard to resolve problem goes a looong way.

We don’t have an in house photographer, so I reached out to a photographer in our area: Matthew Lester. He travels around the country doing corporate photography. His niche is really recruiting material for universities. Recruiting for universities… a staffing company… I’ve seen a bunch of his work through social media and his site and I was sure he would be a good fit for ARM. One of the selling points besides the quality of his photos, is he also uses a special tool that syncs his camera to an iPad as he shoots. So we can see what the pictures look like as they are taken. This is something I think all photographers should use. No waiting, you can tell if the shots are working or not, right away. This excited Laura!

So we set everything up and headed to CT for the shoot. And guess what.. it went REALLY well! We managed to get all the shots we wanted and more. The client was at ease because they saw how good they were right away. Now with so many good shots, the hard part is choosing which ones should go on the site! I Can’t wait to see the finished product when the site launches.

“I really appreciate that you are solution driven. A perfect example is the photo dilemma.” Laura Pedersen – A.R. Mazzotta

This experience is not new for us and it embodies the philosophy of Blackbird e-Solutions. Thinking outside the box to solve a client’s hard to resolve problem goes a looong way. Even though we don’t typically do photography, being a solution is much, much better than waiting and letting the client get frustrated. After all sales and successful businesses are about building relationships. Not taking orders and dispensing a product.

Check out some “behind the scenes” pictures or our photo-shoot on Google+ or Facebook.

~~~ Just a disclaimer these are photos of Matt (Taken with a Samsung S4 phone), not by Matt. So don’t judge Matt’s skill by these photos. You can blame me. Haha ~~~

Photo-shoot with A.R. Mazzotta

 

August TweetUp In Lancaster PA

Lancaster PA Tweetups every 4 Thursday at 7:30 AM

It’s time for our monthly TweetUp! Join Blackbird e-Solutions LLC as we co-host this month’s Tweetup at Commonwealth On Queen.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It’s a great way to meet a few new people and enjoy good conversation with your morning coffee.

We had a great turnout last month. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone this month.

RSVP Here

Be sure to follow the hosts at @BbeS and @CommonWealthOnQ

How Staffing Agencies Can Leverage Facebook Graph Search for Recruiting

Last February I wrote a piece about Facebook’s, then new, Graph Search (Clarifying Facebook Graph Search). The post centered on how Graph Search worked and what digital marketers need to do to take advantage of it.

“Think 6 degrees of separation. Graph Search is Facebook’s attempt to really use their platform to find information.”

facebook graph searchToday I’d like to talk about how staffing agencies can leverage Facebook’s Graph Search for recruiting.

Graph Search has been live for a little more than a year and with it Facebook has revolutionized the way that you can find information on Facebook. As I often say, “Social Media is like word of mouth on steroids.”

Graph Search makes it so you don’t even have to ask your “friend’s” opinions because it’s all already on Facebook!

What they’ve done is further developed Facebook’s traditional search functionality and gave it the ability to better understand natural language, making it much more intuitive and precise for searchers. This means users can search using natural language to find things such as people, events, personal information, photos, interests, or a combination of all of these and more. Here are some examples:

  • Friends who are interested in soccer
  • People who graduated from University of Tennessee
  • Nurses who live in Cherry Hill NJ

Search Tips for Staffing Agencies and Recruiters

As you can see from the list above, one of the things you can search for is Job Titles (nurses, fork lift drivers, etc.). You can also refine your search by adding a location: “Fork Lift Drivers who live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania”

Forklift drivers philadelphia Graph search

Furthermore you can refine your search by using a particular Employer’s Name. If you want to recruit from a particular company, or someone that has worked there you can simply search for the company or organizations name. If you would like to find particular job title from that organization you can refine it like this: “Software Developers at Google.” And Facebook will show you a list of software developers at Google.

Facebook Graph Search: Software Developers at Google

Another example: “Nurses at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia”

Facebook Graph Search: Nurses at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Let’s say you are working on filling a position for a company that will only hire from Ivy League schools. Facebook Graph Search can help you there too. You can search for graduates of Wharton Business School by searching by Education. “People who graduated from The Wharton School”

Facebook Graph Search: People who went to The Wharton School

You can also add the year: “People who graduated from The Wharton School 2013”

Facebook Graph Search: people who graduated from the wharton school 2013

Sample Search Queries for Staffing Agencies and Recruiters:

  • (Job Title) who live in (location of position).
    • Engineers who live in San Francisco
    • Nurses who live in Philadelphia
  • People who graduated from (University)
    • Doctors who graduated from Georgetown University
    • Accountants who graduated from Pennsylvania State University
  • (Job Tittle) at (company)
    • Fork lift drivers at Costco
    • Office Managers at Vanguard

Leverage Graph Search Filters to Refine Your Recruiting Efforts.

You may find that Facebook is returning lots of results when you use some of the broader search parameters such as location. Luckily though, Facebook gives you many options to refine your search. When searching via Employer’s Name, you can then filter using things such as “Current City”, “Gender”, “School”, etc.

Or for Education you can further refine your candidate search with “Employer”, “Degree”, “Concentration”, etc. These refinements could be useful for finding someone that lives close to where the position you’re recruiting for is located, or if the employer is requiring a certain type of degree.

facebook graph search filters

Contact Prospective Employees Directly

By using Facebook Graph Search for recruiting you also get the option to contact candidates directly via their profiles. You may find that in many cases when you try to message a prospect via their profile, you are shown the message, “Your message will go to Art’s Other folder because you aren’t connected to him on Facebook. See More.”

Similarly to LinkedIn’s paid accounts where you get a certain number of messages to people you aren’t linked to, Facebook allows you to pay to contact people you are not connected to. The difference is Facebook does it on a Per message basis; $1 per message. This is a great low cost way to directly let the recruit know you value their skills enough to reach out to them.

 

contact prospective employees via Facebook Messenger

 

Are There Any Challenges to Using Graph Search to Recruit?

Like anything, Graph Search has some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is your search results depend on what people have included in their profiles. Unlike LinkedIn, Facebook is traditionally a more social platform that people use to connect with friends and family, so not everyone will have their employer or job title filled in. However despite this limitation the up-side for staffing agencies and recruiters is that Graph Search provides more personal data such as, hometown, current city, gender, interests, activities and more.

The ability to customize search with Facebook’s Graph Search is its biggest benefit to recruiters and staffing agencies. LinkedIn is a great resource to find white collar talent, however using Facebook will give a competitive edge in recruitment and talent acquisition because it offers access to passive job seekers and prospective employees that traditionally don’t use LinkedIn.

Does your agency use Facebook Graph Search for recruitment? What success have you had with it? We’d love to hear your story.

digital marketing strategy

Digital Marketing w/o Analytics is Like Driving w/o a Steering Wheel

Digital Marketing without Analytics is like driving without a steering wheel.

digital marketing without analytics is like driving without a steering wheel

You wouldn’t drive down a windy road through the woods without a steering wheel would you?

Can you image just hoping that you’ll make it through the woods without running off course, or even worse crashing into a tree? Yikes!

So why do so many companies develop digital marketing campaigns without looking at the data they can gain from Analytics? Just think of all the obstacles you could avoid, just by knowing what was happening. Analytics not only tells you what has worked in the past, it can help you steer clear of the obstacles in front of you.

A/B Testing – Online Marketing Term of the Week

A-B TestingA/B Testing

  1. Or A/B Testing is a method of comparing the performance of two sponsored listings, landing pages or other promotional content.
  2. A controlled experiment containing 2 variants, A and B, one as a control and one as a test.  The goal is to identify changes that increase or maximize a set outcome: I.e. clicks, conversions, etc.

How to Create the Perfect Blog Post

if hemingway wrote the perfect blog postBlogging is not something that happens by accident. It is a skill that includes a process. Here are the key factors that go into creating “The Perfect Blog Post.”

Use an Enticing Headline

The title or headline is the first thing that people will see and it’s what shows up in search results, emails and social media platforms. A good title can be what makes or breaks your success for catching a reader’s eye. It should be concise and have an impact!

Don’t Forget the Visuals

Images, graphics and other visual pieces are what draw in readers. They make a blog post more interesting by breaking up the text. There’s nothing more boring than a long page of text. Make it POP with relevant images. Spend some time to search for royalty free images, or if you have a bit of dough to spend, buy some great stock photos to liven up your posts.

Don’t Write a Book

Keep your blogs post short and to the point. Even if you have aspirations of writing a book, don’t do it on a single blog post! If it’s too long people won’t read it. On the flip side though, your post needs to add value, so don’t just write a sentence and add a link to something else. A good length is between 450 and 650 words. Also, use headers, bullets and other formatting to break up the copy and make it easier for readers to digest.

Give It “Shareability”

Give readers a reason to share your content and make it easy for them to do so. Most blogging platforms have plugins that will allow readers to share your content with one click. Use them! Also, use a SEO/Social plugin and make sure you have added a good enticing description. This will encourage more people to read and share your blog posts.

 

digital marketing strategy

SEO and Web Design – Plan for a Ongoing Updates

I’ve written about this before (read Building a Website & Getting it Found Online is Not a “Once & Done” Tactic), but unfortunately many people still believe if they build and optimize a website once their site will be #1 in Search. Sadly this is rarely if ever the case with SEO and Web Design.

website optimization servicesYou could look at it like buying a bike. When you buy it and take it home from the bike dealer it is shiny and new.  Everything works great. Gears shift smoothly and you can stop on a dime with the brand new breaks. You know what it’s like, it’s exciting!

To keep your wonderful new bike in top shape you need to do some small regular maintenance.  You need to oil the chain to make sure it doesn’t start to wear out and maybe eventually break.  If you ride it in the rain, wiping it down afterward is good practice to keep it from corroding, rusting or so pieces of dirt or rock don’t damage the rims when breaking. The brakes may need adjusting or the pads may need replacing. It’s the same with websites.

This is why many SEO experts charge a monthly or quarterly fee.  As you add blog posts, pages or other content, even when you remove content, you need to think about how it affects the optimization of the site.

Create a Procedure for Updating and Optimizing Your Website

One of the best things you can do is create a process for website updates and optimization. If you have a system in place for adding and removing content as well as optimization, you’ll have a concise process that leads to the best SEO results. This will ensure that everyone in your organization is on the same page and your site stays uniform.

Here are a few examples:

  • New pages and posts: Each time you add a new post or page you should take into account a few aspects. What is the purpose or intent of the page/post? What keywords are you targeting? What part of your business does the post or page support? Each post or page should be designed with these factors in mind.
  • Moving content and redirects: This is critical when developing a new site as well as maintaining a website. Maybe you have a page that is no longer relevant and you want to remove it. If the page received any traffic you need to create a 301 redirects (permanent redirect) to let the search engines know where the visitors show go now.
  • File naming: With the invention of Universal Search, it is now possible to rank for multiple types of media. So you can be found in search via many different types of media. By making sure that your files are name correctly, i.e. clearly describe the content or media and include relevant keywords, you have a better chance of ranking in multiple ways. You can also add descriptions for images and other content.
  • Linking – Internal and Inbound Links: Both are very important. For inbound links you should create a standard for linking before you start acquiring links. This means the anchor text should be established as well as what type of links you want to acquire.  Internally this also means making sure links are up to date and not pointing to pages that have been removed.

Having a process in place will definitely help keep your website uniform and help maximize your SEO efforts.  So if you don’t have one, get your process plan in place today!

Need help with your process? Contact us to see how we can improve and maintain your website and digital marketing. 

 

ALT Tags – Online Marketing Term of the Week

alt tags used to identify images on a websiteALT Tags

  • Or ALTernative Text Tags are HTML Tags that describe an image on a website.
  • Search engines cannot understand images or text within images, so by added an ALT Tag, search engines are able to categorize them to help searchers find relevant images.
  • If a browser is unable to display an image for any reason the it will typically show the ALT Tags.
  • They are also useful for blind website visitors.