All posts in January 2012

  • Social Media Guidelines for Law Firms and Lawyers

    You’re in the legal field, so social media marketing doesn’t apply to you. Right? Absolutely wrong. You may be a lawyer or a law firm, but you’re still a business. If social media is where your prospective clients are – and believe me, they are – that’s where you need to be. So how does a smart lawyer use social media without getting into serious trouble? Start a blog that focuses on your practice area. For example: a lawyer with expertise in banking or finance could write a post detailing how to file for bankruptcy. Immigration lawyers could explain the different types of visas, including requirements and application processes. Blogging is a great way for you to show off that expertise (and your finely-crafted writing skills), while also adding more of a “human” personality to your firm. With the correct use of keywords and phrases, you’ll also reap the SEO benefits in the long run. Speaking of personality… For individual lawyers, social media doesn’t need to be all about legal stuff, all the time. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be. Specifically if you’re focusing on Twitter, you can balance legal content with tweets about your hobbies, favorite sports teams, family,…

    read more

  • How Do I Get People to Watch My YouTube Video?

    Let me guess: your company uploaded a YouTube video a few months ago, and you’re still stuck around 100 views or so. You’re not alone – more than half of all YouTube videos will be viewed less than 500 times. Ever. Considering people upload 48 hours of video to YouTube every minute, you’re going to need a better strategy than just recording stuff and putting it out there. “Like what?” you say. Glad you asked! Put your company’s best face forward. We’re talking about human faces, but “best” doesn’t necessarily mean “best-looking” or “highest-ranking” in this situation. The person you want in front of the camera might not be in your marketing department, so branch out. Take inventory of the people in your office: who has the smile that brightens up everyone else’s day? Find that naturally outgoing, charming person – they’re your on-camera talent. Don’t speak in jargon. Oh, so your company is results-focused? Do you integrate/deliver/synergize/think outside the box? By using a phrase like “think outside the box” you are, by definition, not thinking outside the box. Every company on the planet is results-focused; that is the purpose of a company. If you’re talking to people through video,…

    read more

  • Ask Shama: Pondering the Podcast

    Audio and video podcasts aren’t ideal when it comes to SEO. But marketing pro Shama Kabani says they’re still great tools to add to your communications arsenal. Editor’s note: The marriage of technology and communication has been a boon to savvy entrepreneurs, but it’s also a huge challenge for those who aren’t sure how to navigate social networks. To help, Dallas-based entrepreneur and tech expert Shama Kabani is answering your questions. Email her at shama@marketingzen.com, or check out more of her advice at her online marketing company or on video. Dear Shama, I just read your book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, and I found it incredibly helpful—particularly insightful was your section on video podcasting. I wonder if audio podcasting is as effective in increasing the site’s ranking in Google as video podcasting. Do you have any thoughts? —Emily B., Herndon, Virginia To read more about Ask Shama: Pondering the Podcast, check out the article on Portfolio.com.

  • Ask Shama: Kindle, Nook, or iPad?

    Forget about work for a moment. What device should you get if you just want to read a book? Marketing pro Shama Kabani offers her take. Editor’s note: The marriage of technology and communication has been a boon to savvy entrepreneurs, but it’s also a huge challenge for those who aren’t sure how to navigate social networks. To help, Dallas-based entrepreneur and tech expert Shama Kabani is answering your questions. Email her at shama@marketingzen.com, or check out more of her advice at her online marketing company or on video. Dear Shama, I am a voracious reader, and as my library gets out of control, I am seriously considering an e-reader, but I am not a techie. At first I was trying to decide between the Kindle or the iPad, but my neighbor suggested the Nook. What are the differences, and what do you recommend for an old-school reader like me? —Jake L, Vancouver To read more about Ask Shama: Kindle, Nook, or iPad?, check out the article on Portfolio.com.

  • Don’t Call People Names on Yelp and Other Tips

    “Marketing Zen!” you say, “Someone said something rude and awful about my business on the Internet! What do I do about this?” From Yelp to Google Places and many sites in between, consumers now have a variety of outlets to express their opinions about your establishment. This can be great for your online marketing – if you do everything perfect all the time. What if you messed up? Well, here are some tips for dealing with that unpleasant predicament. Keep your emotions out of it. Yeah, we get it. It sucks to put all your effort into something, only to see people trash it on the Internet. For an example from the publishing industry, take independent author Jacqueline Howett, whose defensive replies to a two-star review of her book went viral (although many of her comments have since been removed – probably because she realized in hindsight that responding wasn’t such a great idea to begin with). People aren’t always going to like what you’ve created as much as you like it. That’s just how it works. If you get too emotional when people offer criticism, you’re probably not the right person to be monitoring what people are saying. Find a…

    read more

  • How to Continue Your Online Marketing Education

    It seems like there’s a new development in online marketing just about every day, right? Things evolve so rapidly that you might be having a hard time keeping up. For example, what exactly is a Pinterest and do you need one? You added people to your Circles on Google+ but now what do you do with them? The following tips should help you on your journey to continuing online marketing education. Read relevant blogs. Since you’re reading this blog post right now, you’re already on the right track to keeping up with marketing trends. For those who are serious about continuing their marketing education, it’s essential to stay organized. Once you’ve found more than one or two blogs you want to keep up with, you may want to subscribe via email or RSS feed – for example, using Google Reader. Follow influential Tweeps. You may find that many of your favorite marketing bloggers are also using Twitter to exchange ideas and engage in conversations about the constantly evolving nature of online marketing. Although these Tweets are much shorter and simpler than the thoughts laid out in a blog post, they are often posted much more frequently and allow for more…

    read more

  • Why Your Email Marketing Campaign Isn’t Working

    So you started an email marketing campaign and then…nothing. You’re not sure what you’re doing wrong, but it’s definitely not working. First, make sure none of the following apply to you: You’re sending too many messages. It’s not even noon, and I’ve already received about 20 emails – and that’s without taking my work account into consideration. For many people, that number may even seem low. The point is this: people send and receive a whole lot of email. Only a very small percentage of that constant wave of emails should be from you. Be helpful, not annoying. YOU ARE SHOUTING AT PEOPLE. This should go without saying but…seriously, don’t ever do this. Not only are you practicing poor Internet etiquette, but you’re probably also being filtered into everyone’s spam folders. You’re not offering anything useful. People handed over their email addresses to you with the idea that they would get something positive out of the transaction, too. Make sure your content is relevant, helpful, interesting, and even funny (if that’s your thing). Your subject lines aren’t interesting enough. You don’t even want to know how many emails I’ve gotten in the past two weeks with the subject line “New…

    read more

  • Ask Shama: Branding and Social Media – What’s the Right Combination?

    Striking a balance between strong branding and effective social-media marketing can be a delicate proposal. Portfolio.com’s marketing expert Shama Kabani simplifies the task with some old-fashioned human interaction. Editor’s note: The marriage of technology and communication has been a boon to savvy entrepreneurs, but it’s also a huge challenge for those who aren’t sure how to navigate social networks. To help, Dallas-based entrepreneur and tech expert Shama Kabani is answering your questions. Email her at shama@marketingzen.com, or check out more of her advice at her online marketing company or on video. Dear Shama, I am now in the second decade of my business, and I feel like I need to refresh my brand. Instead of having a company name like Molly’s IT Group, I should change it to Hire Me For IT Services and use this same tag for my Twitter, Facebook, and website. It tells people what I do and sets the tempo. Can you provide guidance on how effective this new branding will be in social media and overall business marketing? —Madeline, Washington, DC To read more about Ask Shama: Branding and Social Media – What’s the Right Combination?, check out the article on Portfolio.com.

  • Viral Marketing: Not Just For Cat Videos Anymore

    From a quick glance at YouTube, you might think that the only way to make your content go viral is to replace your old marketing strategy with a gaggle of adorable kittens. But before you head down to the animal shelter to cast your next video, we think you should read our list of tips for viral content marketing. What is viral content? “Going viral” simply means that your content has been shared on a massive scale. Videos are often associated with going viral. For example, you may be one of the 71 million people who’s seen this Free Hugs video since it was uploaded in 2006. What makes content go viral? As shown in the Free Hugs video, people are more likely to share content that has made them feel some sort of emotional reaction. Other reasons people are likely to share content include: It’s funny. Sometimes you need to take a break from the daily grind with a laugh. Think about it – there’s a reason The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989. It’s useful. It’s nice to help other people, but sharing useful content can also help people seem a little more savvy or in-the-know. It’s…

    read more

  • Google Search Results Now Include Your Private Content

    In the coming days, you may see a dramatic change in how Google presents your search results. Google has already been integrating social search with regular search since February 2011, placing pages that your connections have shared on Google+ or other sites (excluding Facebook) higher in search results. For example, let’s say I search for The Marketing Zen Group. This article by our CEO Shama Kabani appears very high up on my first page of results. Since I am logged into my Google account and Shama is in my circles on Google+, articles that she shares are deemed more relevant to me. When I log out of my Google account, this article no longer appears on the first page of search results. If you want to try this experiment yourself, try searching your own name while logged in and then while logged out. Google Search plus Your World Google’s new personalized search takes the old social search a step further. Search plus Your World introduces three distinct features that are sure to dramatically impact the way people search in the future. 1. You will now see privately shared content in your search results. You’ll still see pages that your friends…

    read more

  • How to Manage and Repair Your Online Reputation

    Know what people are saying about you. The biggest mistake when trying to manage your online reputation is to be totally oblivious of what your reputation even is. How do people see you? Are they saying good or bad things? Is there something embarrassing about you from 10 years ago floating around out there? If your answer is “I don’t know” then that’s bad. Go to your search engine of choice. Type in your name. Read everything. Do this regularly. If you find any really potentially harmful information about yourself, like a leaked Social Security number or other content that should be immediately removed, contact the owner of the site. If you do not get a response, a support team from the search engine should be able to help you have the harmful content removed. Be transparent. If you’re responding to a negative comment on Yelp on behalf of your business, make it clear that you’re responding on behalf of your business. Don’t try to pass yourself off as a satisfied customer, outraged that someone had a bad experience. You’ll come off looking even worse once people find out you tried to mislead them – and believe me, they’ll find…

    read more

  • How to Make Your Corporate Blog Less Awful

    There are some really, really outstanding examples of corporate blogs out there. Of course, for every example of a really great corporate blog, there’s an equally awful one floating around out there too. Your blog can be a powerful tool for communicating with your target audience, so don’t just blog for the sake of blogging. Here are some dos and don’ts do help you improve your blogging strategy. Don’t: “think corporate” Think of a company. Any company, even your company. Do you want to have a conversation with it? Of course you don’t, because people like to talk to other people. Keep this in mind when you’re blogging, because your blog shouldn’t sound like or actually be a string of press releases. You or your bloggers should craft a unique voice and use it when drafting new blog posts. Show a little personality! Your readers will appreciate it much more than they will a jargon-heavy wall of text. Don’t: just talk about yourself If a consumer just wants to know about your company, they’ll go to your main website. If they come to your blog and find the exact same content regurgitated over and over, they’re probably not going to…

    read more