eCommerce Marketing Agency | Visiture

Archive for September 2011

You’ve heard of Klout; now comes Kred.  As reported on by Ad Age, Kred’s developer, the company PeopleBrowsr, are looking to make your score more meaningful.  The thought behind Kred comes from the fact that you bring different things to different groups.  CEO Jodee Rich has this to say about how Kred differs from other social media tools:

“Trust and generosity should be the start for any scoring system because those are the qualities that create strong relationships online — just as they do in the offline world. Kred gives a dual score for influence and outreach rather than a single overall network score. Influence, scored on a 1,000-point scale, measures the ability to inspire action or influence others in the form of retweets, replies or new follows. Outreach increases every time a person initiates conversations, interacts with others or spreads their content.

Online activities, of course, are only a piece of what makes a reputation so we built in an offline component as well. Kred lets users integrate their “real-life” awards and recognition — anything from frequent-flier status to academic honors to club memberships — into their score.”


You and your company will be able to use “Kredentials” to measure your influence and outreach.

Do you think you will use Kred or will you stick with Klout?  Do you put much emphasis on these tools?

If not, what other ways do you measure meaningful social interaction?

We are beginning a few series on Magento-specific best practices.  We think that it is a superior platform and easy to build out because the majority of it is already search friendly.  Today, we’ll be focusing on building brand pages.

This is one of Magento’s weaknesses in our opinion.  Brand pages using Magento brand extensions isn’t the best way to go.  That’s because it pulls a field and creates a page, which is fine until you want subcategories, collections or refinements.  If you have subcategories for a brand (and who doesn’t?), the page that results using brand extensions isn’t search friendly.

Our recommendation is to set up brand sections as categories.  Once you’ve done that, it’s easy to add subcategories, which will result in a search friendly page.

Our client, Charleston Naturally, does this with their brand page (shown below):

Also, you want to make sure that your Magento brand pages have good URLs.  You want them to make sense to the user and the search engine.

Here’s an example of a good URL: www.charlestonnaturally.com/brands/pevonia.

A bad example of a URL would be: www.charlestonnaturally.com/?p=1664. << What the heck is that? >>

To avoid confusion, we also recommend that you put product page URL just below the root.  Products can be under a few or many categories in an eCommerce store, so it’s important to keep organized.  You don’t need a product page for each category.

Recently, there have been several studies conducted about how people really interact with brands on Facebook (and Twitter).  Most of the time, people say that they just “like” the page for a deal and rarely visit.  Others unlike a page because there is too much marketing spam.  This caused Brian Solis, of Altimeter Group, to write a blog post entitled “Social Media’s Impending Flood of Customer Unlikes.”

Here is some important research he mentions within his post:

55-percent of Facebook users reported liking a brand and then later deciding they no longer wish to see the company’s posts. Half of fans say that they really aren’t even fans as they don’t visit the page or web site after the “Like.” Seventy-one percent of consumers say that they’re now becoming more selective about the brands they like.

When asked why consumers were breaking-up with brands in Facebook and Twitter, the top reasons cited were:

• The company posts too frequently
• My wall was becoming too crowded with marketing posts
• The content was too repetitive or boring

This can definitely teach us all something.  However, we don’t think the flood of unlikes is happening or going to happen.  Brands are capable of evolving to give people what they want.  The brands who don’t do this might surely get thrust out into the social media cold (I imagine that looks something like My_____).  But I think the important thing here is that small and medium businesses learn from the big guys’ mistakes.  Nothing can be uniform and stale.  Think of it like being a schoolteacher.  You’re not going to be any kid’s favorite if all you do is lecture from the textbook.  You’ve got to let the kids put their hands on stuff, present, have small groups, etc.  In the same way, you need to constantly invent new ways to engage people in social media.

Don’t take the easy way out.  If you have limited resources for social media, make sure that your one half-hour a day gets spent well.  Here are just a few ideas: invent complex contests (like ModCloth has had serious success with), use your brand page like a review page and refuge for good customer service, debut new products/services and give out free trials in exchange for customer feedback, encourage photo sharing from your customers with your product or while using your service (if appropriate), use what’s locally available to you (endorse a band, a new restaurant, buy local), partner with other brands and put on an event, or fundraise for a good cause.

Need more specific help or ideas?  Call Visiture at (843) 225-7000.

If you’re dying to have the new Facebook Timeline profile, you can follow this video‘s easy steps and get it right now.  It’s pretty captivating.  I just spent the last 30 mins. making mine cool.  Here’s a screenshot of it:

Your profile will go back until 2005 (or whenever you joined), complete with photos, wall posts, groups joined and more.  They don’t put past relationships (thank you for that Mark Zuckerberg), and you are totally in control of what to show on your timeline.  Simply click the top right pencil on the post and “hide” it if you wish.  What are your initial thoughts about the layout?

We have gotten asked this question a lot since the @MarkDavidson media coverage.  In case you missed it, Mark Davidson, “Internet sales and marketing professional” fired one of his three (!) ghostwriters and didn’t change his password.  The following happened after said disgruntled ghostwriter got a few whiskeys deep:

To be honest, while this is just plain embarrassing for both parties involved, it should be a cautionary tale.  Sure, this man had three ghostwriters (seriously–who needs three!?) and no one knew for four years, but now who is going to trust his opinion?  And did these three people know as much as he did (in order to speak authoritatively online)?  If so, why did he still have a job?

In short, we think outsourcing is fine when you can find a person or team that can be your brand– someone who knows your business goals, embodies what you want to present to your customers, and is trustworthy.  However, hiring a ghostwriter to tweet or Facebook or blog from your personal name and account?  We would never recommend that.  While we find endless opportunity for engagement and growth on social media platforms, if you don’t have the time or motivation to be active on social media, don’t be.  We’ll all survive without hearing what you have for breakfast every morning.

This seems like a great, new, awesome way to share.  Facebook Timeline.  Basically, what you share doesn’t vanish.  Now you can choose what to show friends, what to highlight – present or past.  When are they going to work on the future?  (Only kidding, that’s just silly.)  I like how aesthetically pleasing it seems to be.  Right now, it seems like Facebook is kind of cluttered, but this definitely looks like they’re working toward a lot of information being displayed in a streamlined manner.

Check out the video about Facebook Timeline here and let us know what you think!

 

Mark Zuckerberg is now talking… rather uncomfortably, might I say.

Things we’re learning: Facebook Connect is dominating.

Now, he’s announcing two policy updates:

-One step permission is becoming even easier from third party sites.

-They’re doing away with “you must not store or cache any data you receive from us for more than 24 hours” policy.

facebook open graph announcement

Now onto the Open Graph.

Zuckerberg says that we’re defined by things that we’re connected to (in the graph).  Showing us an example using yelp–they can give him a good experience on their site, but it is completely separate from his Facebook experience.  He’s looking to connect these.  If you like the restaurant you reviewed, the restaurant can now be displayed on your profile under your likes.

They have created the open graph API and a series of social plug-ins that you can drop into your site that will instantly make your site personalized & socialized without writing any code.  This is just a small example.  He wants to connect all of the graphs from all over the web together.

Now for a CNN example.  Mark is showing that CNN is able to give him a personalized experience with social plug-ins without knowing who he is or who his friends are (privacy).  The user doesn’t have to log in or connect.  ”There is a lot of magic” that goes into it. Now introduces Bret Taylor to introduce the products in-depth.  Bret Taylor discusses how Facebook Connect helped FriendFeeds active users growth.

They want to simplify the Facebook platform.  By “lowering the fiction of sharing, they will increase the volume of sharing.” You can simply now add one line of code to get a like button, which powers a whole suite of social plug-ins in order to personalize your site for the user.  If, for example, four of the user’s friends have liked an article on CNN, the user will see their names and Facebook profile photos next to the like button.  For the Facebook Connect button, the user will see which of his/her friends who have already interacted with the site.  This, they hope, will improve sign-ups for your site.

You can also install the Social Bar plug-in on your site, which will increase the engagement with Facebook chat and streams.

The Open Graph Protocol will be a specification of meta tags for your site and will give your page a semantic mark-up.  When a user clicks a like button, Facebook will use this “like” back on Facebook.com in this way:

You like “The Godfather” on IMDB.com, and it will show up on your Facebook.com stream.  Before, that like would only be relevant for about three hours (the life of a post in a news feed).  Now: since it’s a movie, it will also go up on your Facebook profile under “Movies I Like.”  The Protocol is going to represent anything… movies, bands, likes, books, interests, celebrities, athletes, etc.  A friend can click the link you liked (that appears on your profile) and be taken to the page where you hit like.  It is meant to be dynamic and engaging–changing as often as your taste does.

You’ve heard it one hundred thousand times: “make your site the authority,” “become the authority,” “be authoritative.”  And you probably nodded your head and thought ‘how the hell do I do that?’

At Visiture, we understand that these words don’t mean anything without action, so here’s some advice you can implement.

We recommend that you do several things to make your site authoritative.

do this, not that

1. Simplify navigation.  Think one-click buying: minimizing screens that consumers have to go through in order to purchase a product or inquire about your services.

2. Have an abundance of information.  If there is one thing that Google is obsessed with, it’s making websites more transparent.  This means that the user should be able to tell exactly what your service or product is, how much it costs, what your company’s name is, where your company is located, find relevant phone numbers and addresses, etc.  Anything that you think would help a user discern your page from a scam, include it.

3. Links, links, links. You need other people and sites to vouch for your authority.  When relevant and popular websites link to you, this essentially means they’re giving you approval. The search engine then considers you more authoritative. The more relevant links, the more authority you have and the better your rankings. These links can come from members in your community with whom you’ve interacted, guest blog posts, question and answer forums, directories, etc.

4. Improve your conversion rates.  Do everything you can to improve conversions on your site.  This means testing for where people are dropping out (do they abandon their shopping cart? leave things in it and never checkout?).  Improving your conversion rates will instantly make Google recognize that your site is authoritative.  People like it.  People buy what you’re selling (literally and figuratively).  And don’t worry, we’ll be writing much more on this subject in the coming days.

5. Keep content flow steady.  You need a lot of content, that’s for sure.  But don’t get into writing for a few weeks and then drop off because you’re bored.  Everything needs to be consistent.  Have real expectations about how much time you can devote to getting content on and off-site directed toward your page and maintain whatever flow that is.  It’s better to have one quality post a week than have five, then three, then one, then none.  The search engines want to see that you are keeping up with your industry and providing relevant and fresh information to your customers.

 

Facebook will announce a major profile redesign next week at the f8 developers conference.  People seem to be unhappy about the Facebook changes debuted last night/this morning (what else is new?), so they need to hold onto their hats–more changes to come.

Here’s what we know about the profile redesign (following points are all via Mashable):

  • The redesigned profiles will be more “sticky,” says one source. One of the goals of the new profiles is to get users to stay on them for longer.
  • We already knew Facebook is launching a media platform at f8. However, we’ve also learned that the platform — which will include music and video from partner sites — will display the media content a user is watching or listening to on their profiles. Essentially, when you’re listening to Lady Gaga on Spotify, your friends can see and access that on your Facebook profile. This confirms a recent New York Times report.
  • The redesigned profiles are part of a larger push into social ecommerce. We don’t exactly know what that means, but we’ve heard whispers that Facebook intends to give Facebook Credits more prominence. We’ve also heard that a Facebook app store may emerge at f8.
  • Facebook’s push into ecommerce may be related Project Spartan, an HTML5-based mobile platform rumored to be launching soon.

What do you think about the integration of other media into profiles?  Do you want everyone to see what you’re listening to and doing while logged in?

Have you ever perused Google’s blog directory?  There is a dedicated, specialty Google blog for just about every facet of Google and their products–in several languages.  This means that pretty much any industry you’re in, Google has a blog that can help you get started, troubleshoot or implement changes.  These blogs are very user-friendly, too; they are not written in computer language you can’t understand.

There’s a great blog for Non-Profits and even a blog about Blogger!

There are the three most obvious ones that anyone with a website or involved in search engine advertising should follow:

The Official Google Search Blog

Inside AdWords Blogs

Google Analytics Blog

But here are some of our other favorites that are equally as helpful for more specialized solutions:

Agency Ad Solutions Blog

Google Retail Advertising Blog

Google Consumer Packed Goods Blog

Google Conversion Room Blog

Google Small Business Blog

 

Now that we’ve given you an idea, go visit the blog directory, sort by category and find your favorite!