Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Benefits of Selling and Buying Via Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace has been revitalized and the social media giant is hoping this time it is a success. In an attempt to compete with sites such as Craigslist and Ebay, the revamped eCommerce app was rolled out on Monday, October 3rd.  It comes complete with an easy to use template to guide you through the process.
In a post by the LA Times, it explains more about the benefits of selling and buying via Facebook Marketplace:

‘Discover, buy and sell’: Facebook takes on EBay and Craigslist with its new Marketplace feature – LA Times

Facebook Inc., looking to take a chunk of business from EBay Inc. and Craigslist, unveiled a feature Monday that lets users buy and sell products among themselves.Facebook with Smartphone
The feature, called Marketplace, is “a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community,” Mary Ku, Facebook’s director of product management, said in a Facebook post.
EBay and Craigslist are formidable targets, with each proving to be resilient and dominant players in the world of online commerce despite rapid changes in technology and competition from various rivals over the years.
But Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook, with 1.7 billion monthly active users, poses a substantial threat to take some of their market share.
Facebook said its Marketplace will roll out in the next few days to users over 18 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It will be available on the Facebook app for both the iPhone and Android smartphones.
In this video, Bloomberg West reports on the new app allowing you to shop while you catch up with your family and friends on Facebook:

With the premiere of a new product, there are usually some kinks to work out. For Facebook’s Marketplace, the glitches that appeared the day after the launch were not what they had expected. Some of the items that slipped through their filters caused some embarrassment, but Facebook was on top of the situation:

Facebook apologizes for all the weird things that showed up on Marketplace – Oct. 4, 2016

Within hours of Facebook launching Marketplace, the Craigslist-esque forum had already been overrun by users selling a mix of bizarre and illegal items.Facebook Logo
In Pittsburgh, a can of beer was listed for $25. In London, someone was trying to “sell” his pregnant girlfriend for $400. And in New York, someone listed “About 6 Oz. Water (Bottle Not Included)” for $56.
On Tuesday, Facebook (FB, Tech30) blamed a “technical issue” for all the strange posts, but didn’t elaborate on what the issue was other than to say it prevented the review system from screening posts that violated its Commerce Policies.
Facebook’s guidelines prohibit a dozen categories of products from being sold on its platform, including drugs, animals, “adult items or services,” alcohol and weapons. Although Marketplace is a new feature, people have always been able to buy and sell things on Facebook. Stopping things like private gun sales has been a problem before.
With the success of online shopping sites, it makes sense that other companies would attempt to replicate or reinvent their own platform. Since the Marketplace does not create any actual revenue for Facebook, it remains to be seen as to whether it will become the go-to place for buying and selling. After a year of experimenting with the platform and all of the initial bugs are worked out, I think it will be a great way to stay connected and promote your goods.

Originally posted on S&S Pro Blog

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Is Using Adwords Worth It?

Google seems to be the almighty and powerful ruler of the online world. They give away many of their products for free, making them a little hard to compete with, especially for small business startups.Google Search With all of their resources, including their brand value of 101.8 billion dollars, Google has become so dominant that it is hard to imagine anyone ever taking them down. It will happen someday, though, just like it happened to Sears, Kodak, and other brands. Here is just a sampling of the top 16 services Google offers, some free and some paid:

Top 16 Most Popular Google Products And Services - eCloudBuzz

  1. Google Search Engine
  2. Google Chrome
  3. Gmail
  4. Android
  5. YouTube
  6. Google Adsense
  7. Google Drive
  8. Google Adwords
  9. Google Maps
  10. Google Public DNS
  11. Google News
  12. Google+
  13. Blogger
  14. Google Docs
  15. Google Books
  16. Google Translate

Read the full post here:  Top 16 Most Popular Google Products And Services - eCloudBuzzIs using Adwords worth it

If you haven't tried using some of these platforms, you should consider checking them out. One in particular that is good for business is Google Adwords. If you aren't familiar, it is an advertising service that enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads, also known as pay-per-click advertising. Paid advertising is also the bulk of Google's revenue. In 2016, it amounted to almost 80 billion dollars. There have been constant tweaks to the service, and in March of this year they changed how their exact match keywords and close variants of those phrases work, helping advertisers get more focused clicks. If you do plan to check out Adwords to see if it is a good fit for your company, you better be ready to set aside a chunk of time to learn how it works. Like maybe...a year or two! Seriously, though, it is such a robust platform that once you start clicking, you may get lost in the sea of options. It wasn't always that complicated but since they changed their interface in 2009, they have added so many new features that it isn't very friendly to the novice user. There are tabs inside of tabs, scrolling menus, and links scattered all over the page. The good news is that Adwords has their own tutorial series and it is geared toward beginner users. This is the Step 1 Video on how to create an Adwords campaign:
Before you begin, you need to have a gmail account and a website for your business. Then you go to http://ift.tt/mYita6 and click the Start Now button. The site will guide you through the basics of signing up. The real key to getting started with a Google Adwords campaign is doing keyword research to find phrases that online shoppers are searching for. The keyword suggestion tool included in Adwords is where the complexity begins, but you cannot skip this step or you will just be throwing your money away. This post offers some advice when researching what keywords to focus your campaign on:

How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign (from Scratch)Business Revenue from Adwords

The keyword tool acts much like a thesaurus. You enter in phrases you think your prospects are searching, and Google tells you other similar, relevant phrases. Google also will tell you how often people search these phrases, how competitive the keywords are in AdWords, and how much it’ll cost to advertise on each keyword. All of this information will help you determine which keywords you want to use in your first campaign.

Before you start using the tool, make sure the Advanced Options are set. If you’re in the United States, then set the Location to United States and set the Language to English. The Device should default to desktops and laptops, which is what you want unless you’re targeting only mobile devices. Next, click on the Columns drop down menu and make sure to check Competition, Local Monthly Searches, and Approximate CPC (cost per click). Local Monthly Searches will show the searches in the United States (if you picked the U.S. in the Advanced Options). Plus, you’ll see the AdWords competition and the cost per click for each keyword. This will help you analyze the keyword opportunities.

See the full post here:  How to Create a Profitable Google AdWords Campaign (from Scratch)

After you follow the above steps, enter the optimal keyword phrase you think your customers might type in when searching for a business like yours. At that point you need to decide whether there's enough search volume on that keyword and whether you can afford it. Honing in on the best keyword phrase to fit your situation and one with high buyer intent will help you to get the most out of your Adword dollars. You can literally spend hours doing this type of research to find that perfect search term. Is using Adwords worth it? The answer is yes, but the time you need to spend learning the system may not be. Most businesses in our area hire a Denver online marketing agency to manage their pay-per-click advertising campaigns so they can focus on running their company.    

The following post Is Using Adwords Worth It? See more on: S&S Pro Services LLC

Monday, June 26, 2017

Google’s New Penguin 4.0 Update

As of approximately last Friday, September 23, 2016, Google rolled out the Penguin 4.0 algorithm update. If you remember, the original Penguin update
Google Penguin
Image from Pixabay
came out in 2012 and was meant to nail sites that were loaded with spam-filled links causing misdirected search results.
So what is the Penguin 4.0 update all about?
It is a real-time update that constantly goes out and evaluates links on web pages to decide if they are relevant to the site. Back in 2012, if a site was found to have spam-type links, it took much longer to get your site out of the sandbox and back into search. But in real-time, the ability to get your inbound links fixed so you comply with Google’s Terms of Service is faster and more visible.
The other main change is that the algorithm will crawl a site page by page and not penalize the whole website if a violation is discovered. There are over 200 signals that Google uses to determine rank, allowing for a more reliable evaluation process. This article from Practical Ecommerce offers more insight on the Penguin update:

Google Penguin Now Part of Core Search Algorithm | Practical EcommerceGoogle Penguin Update

Google just announced that its Penguin algorithm is now a part of its core algorithm, updated in real time. Google last updated Penguin a few years ago. Updating Penguin continuously will likely affect many businesses.
In this article, I’ll address what this latest Google update means, and how it will likely affect your website.
The Penguin algorithm accesses the quality of inbound links to a website. Google attempts to identify which links are unnatural and spammy. It will penalize your website if you have a disproportionate number of low quality, inbound links.
Google use to review links only periodically — as infrequent as every few years. Now, with this latest Penguin update, there will generally be no wait between updates. If you can get spam links removed, Google will presumably recognize and adjust in a short period.
Google use to review links only periodically — as infrequent as every few years. Now, with this latest Penguin update, there will generally be no wait between updates. If you can get spam links removed, Google will presumably recognize and adjust in a short period.
If you aren’t sure your site has been affected by Google’s new Penguin 4.0 update,  you can use Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools to check for a decline in the number of visits to your site. In this video from a digital marketer in Sydney Australia, he explains in simple terms what the new update is all about:

A lot of people are wondering if the update is fully rolled out or whether it will take a lot of time to become worldwide. The process has begun and will most likely take a couple of weeks, although at this point Google will not confirm or deny that the update has begun or when it will be complete.
This article by Search Engine Roundtable’s Barry Schwartz provides more insight:

Google Penguin 4.0 Fully Rolled Out?

One of the bigger questions folks are asking since Google launched Penguin 4.0 on Friday was if it was fully rolled out. Google was clear when they said it
is rolling out but they didn’t say how long it will take to roll out.
Google told us it is really never done rolling out because it is real-time, meaning, the signals are constantly being updated. As Google crawls and recrawls and indexes and reindexes the URLs across the web, Penguin scores are being pushed in real time. Thus, it is never ever really fully rolled out.
But many are asking, if the first iteration fully rolled out? Is this new real-time version fully rolled out?
The most direct response we had thus far is “I don’t know,” from Gary Illyes from Google. He posted this on Twitter in response to the question from Pete Meyers:
@methode Understood, but is the real-time Penguin code roll-out complete?
@dr_pete I don't know off the top of my head, I'd need to check how many datacenters have the new code, but it's not trivial without coffee
Read the original article here:  Google Penguin 4.0 Fully Rolled Out?
Will there be more updates soon?  As usual, Google is keeping that information under their hat…and it’s a BIG hat to hide under.

Originally seen on S&S Pro Blog

Sunday, June 25, 2017

How Critical is Social Media to a Small Business?

Big businesses with tons of resources, employees, and bigger marketing budgets are plentiful, but there are also 28 million small businesses across the U.S. which account for 54% of all sales. Another interesting fact is that big business has eliminated 4 million jobs since 1990, but small business has created 8
Business Networking
Image from Pixabay
million. Basically, smaller companies are a vital part of what makes our country successful.
Owning a small business is also what gives people hope; following their dream, not relying on someone else to earn a living, and having the flexibility to create their own schedule.
With owning a small business, you are required to wear a lot of hats. You are the accountant, HR department, investment officer, marketing director and much more. As the one making decisions about online marketing, how much time should you delegate each day to social media?
In this article by Susan Friesen at Business2Community.com, she presents compelling reasons to allot a part of your day to connecting on social media:

Is Social Media Really Worth It For A Small Business?

Since time costs money to business owners, let’s look at the amount of time the average business owner spends on social media.
According to a survey by Vertical Response, about 43 percent of small businesses spend about 6 hours per week on social media.
Writing and posting a weekly blog post can take 1-3 hours to do. So this means it takes a full day to write, schedule, and post to social media plus write Social media and Businessand post a blog article each week.
This is assuming you, the business owner would be doing everything required to fulfil these two marketing tasks. If you decide to hire someone to help, then the money you pay out needs to be the ROI factor as opposed to your time.
On the flip side let’s look at the advantages of social media for your business. In general, there are 5 benefits a business owner can count on if using social media marketing:
1. Relationship Building: Social media is an excellent way to build relationships with prospects. It provides an opportunity for multiple exposures to your fan base by using a mixture of information and calls to action.
2. Lead Generation: Add followers to your email marketing list by sharing links to downloadable freebies on your social media accounts. This allows you to send follow-up emails and information that can lead to sales.
3. Traffic Generation: SEO optimized blog posts can help your website rank higher for important keywords in the search engines. Plus, when you post blog articles, you can tell your social media followers about them and share the link to your blog to read more.
4. Consistency: Staying top of mind requires frequent marketing touches. With many people spending hours a day checking their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts on their smart phones, social media gives you lots of exposure to your target market.Sharing daily social media posts and weekly blog articles keeps the relationship with your customers strong.
5. Customer Service: Social media offers an easy way for customers to reach you with questions, problems, or complaints about your products and services.This gives you a chance to respond immediately to address the issue. Plus, giving the VIP treatment to customers in need shows that you are a company who cares and goes a long way towards building your reputation online.
This infographic is part of the Vertical Response survey that was mentioned in the above article. It offers some intriguing stats on how much time small businesses spend on social media. Amazing that 90% of all small businesses have a presence on Facebook:
Time spent on social media by small businesses
Infographic via Vertical Response
Due to the fact that most business owners fail to show an actual return on their investment when using social media, you can imagine the lack of faith and level of frustration. On one hand, you are spending precious time creating relationships that don’t result in any income. But on the other hand, you will be left in the dust as far as brand awareness by everyone else who is using social media.
So the question “how critical is social media to a small business?” isn’t easily answered. Figuring out a way to monetize your efforts will make the time spent worth it.  In this Inc.com post, author Carolyn M. Brown provides some tips for generating income through social media outlets:

How to Monetize Social Media | Inc.com

How to Monetize Social Media: Build Brand Awareness
The first step is to use traditional media or word-of-mouth advertising to drive awareness and traffic to your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin or
Social Media Likes
From Pixabay
Myspace pages, says Jamie Turner, author of How to Make Money with Social Media. Unless you already have a recognizable brand like Nike or Apple, your brand needs to develop social media magnetism before you can look to make any money. You also need to create circular momentum across many platforms when designing your social media campaign, says Turner. By providing multiple channels for users to talk with you, you let customers choose the channel that they are most comfortable with, he adds; and by doing that you increase the likelihood that they’ll connect with your brand in any number of ways.
How to Monetize Social Media: Engage Your Audience
Social media is about having a dialogue. When you have a dialogue with a customer or prospect, the communication is much more fulfilling and much more profitable, says Turner. The PETCO brand has developed a strong presence in social media. The pet store chain has a YouTube channel, its Facebook page generates a lot of discussions among pet owners, and there’s lots of activity on its PETCO Scoop blog, which has received hundreds of ‘likes’ and comments. PETCO’s customers are true pet lovers and treat their pets as part of the family. The company tries to keep conversation going by aiming Facebook and Twitter posts so that there’s an explicit question to answer, or at least a specific piece of information to which people can react. Industry experts stress that you have to know your community and know how to take part within that community and through that create great content or conversation that will raise awareness and increase sales.
Read the full post here…How to Monetize Social Media | Inc.com
The previous article is one of many that are out on the internet to help people use social media to their advantage. My advice is that your primary objective has to be listening to what people are saying, finding those that are unhappy with or looking for a service or product you supply, and offering your services instead in a way that doesn’t come across pushy.
This is not a task that can be done quickly, but by using social media as a search engine for new clients, it can bring in more traffic to your company, keep you in the front of your follower’s minds, and increase your brand exposure.

Original post on S&S Pro Blog

Friday, June 23, 2017

How Will Verizon Utilize Yahoo?

In July of 2016, Verizon acquired Yahoo for a mere $4.8 billion. This means that Yahoo, one of the big online names from the 90’s through the early 2000’s, is
Mobile Device
Wikimedia Commons
no longer an independent company. Yahoo had been struggling to keep its stock value up even with all of the impressive stats of the past.
What’s the reason? One word:  Mobile.
As mobile use has climbed exponentially, Yahoo didn’t keep pace. So why would Verizon, a major player in the mobile market, want to own Yahoo?
This article from Entrepreneur Magazine writer AJ Agrawal describes how Verizon will utilize Yahoo and what the investment means to mobile marketing:

Verizon Purchased Yahoo: What Does This Mean for You?

Mobile video will become even bigger

When one looks at the rise of mobile, it’s easy to see why Verizon decided to make this deal. Marketers are taking advantage of mobile and they will soon
be able to take advantage of a combined mobile network and content-marketing machine.
Yahoo comes with an enormous amount of content. And this is content people are still reading on a regular basis. With more and more people reading from a mobile device, an unprecedented opportunity presents itself for marketers to hit mobile browsers.
Verizon runs one of the largest mobile networks in the United States, and it’s widely expected that the company will combine its mobile network with a huge cache of content. The content footprint will be much bigger, as a result.

Advertisers will find it easier to track their results.

What a lot of people haven’t yet talked about is how Verizon has managed to gain control of the Yahoo Gemini ad platform and the mobile analytics suite Flurry. Flurry is the interesting acquisition for advertisers because it’s universally recognized as one of the better ones for tracking results.
Verizon hasn’t made any announcements on the future of Flurry, but if it intends on appealing to advertisers, it will either keep or rebrand it.

Data that advertisers use will be cleaner.

Verizon Wireless Logo
Wikimedia Commons
Advertisers always want clean and accurate data when they deal with a platform. Yahoo has always had the problem of hosting thousands of Yahoo Mail accounts that are out of data and unused. It’s widely expected that Verizon will clean these up to demonstrate to advertisers that the data it has is relevant.
This is good news for marketers because they will know exactly where they stand when it comes to the numbers they have at their disposal. It’s not yet known whether these accounts will simply be deleted, though.

Will the new Yahoo acquisition provide another viable advertising platform for marketers?

Despite the coming together of two big brands like Yahoo and AOL, the number of regular users is still lacking compared to those on Facebook and Google. There’s still no competition there, but that doesn’t mean marketers should completely discount using Verizon as an advertising platform.
Mobile advertising is continuing to grow at an exponential rate, and Verizon controls a huge amount of the mobile network in the United States. The leveraging of this huge network could make Verizon a “must have” for mobile advertisers in the coming years.
This video by Anthony Tornambe gives a quick replay of the purchase and reiterates that the reason for Verizon wanting to buy Yahoo.  At 1:40, he provides a quote from the former CEO, Marissa Mayer on what the buyout means for Yahoo. Of course, the fact that she is receiving a $50 million severance package might help to make the pain of failure a little easier.


Interestingly, throughout the process of acquiring Yahoo, Verizon is also announced they are buying Sensity Systems, a company that helps businesses transition from older, less efficient lighting systems to LED lighting systems that can be remotely controlled. This tweet links to an article about the purchase:

Verizon has been busy buying up a lot of companies in the last few years. Names such as AOL, Telogis, and Fleetmatics are part of the big picture that Verizon is designing. Maybe they are going to challenge names like Facebook and Google for the top big players in technology and IoT.

First seen on S&S Pro Blog