Archive for the ‘social media optimization rockwall’ Category

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David Recordon of Facebook has an interesting post titled Why f8 was good for the open web where he talks about how some of Facebook’s announcements at their recent F8 conference increase the openness of the Web. He calls out the following four items as the key benefits to the web as a whole from the F8 announcements

  1. No 24-hour caching limit
  2. An API that is realtime and isn’t just about content
  3. The Open Graph protocol
  4. OAuth 2.0

Of these, the third seems to me to be the most beneficial to the Web as a whole. The first, second and fourth items are really about benefits to Facebook developers. Although I guess you could argue that such a significant service adopting OAuth 2.0 is great for increasing adoption across the Web. However this pales in comparison to the fundamental shifts in thinking introduced by the Open Graph Protocol.

Evolving the Social Graph

The first question is what problem does the Open Graph Protocol solve for Facebook and why are they releasing it?

Figure 1: The Facebook Social Graph in 2006

The original Facebook social graph had a one type of node and edge. The nodes were users and the edges were friend relationships. The operations you could perform on the nodes are also straightforward. How many friends does Jane have? Is Kim a friend of Mary? And so on. As more features were added to the site, new nodes and edges were added to the social graph

Figure 2: The Facebook Social Graph in 2009

Each of these nodes supports similar operations. By counting the number of incoming connections you can tell how many fan’s Justin Bieber has, how many people want to show the world their love for the Ramblin’ Wreck or how many people have added Mary as a friend. However as Facebook tries to model more of our offline world, it is clear that these aren’t the only types of relationships that users can have nor are these nodes the only entities users can have a relationship with. Which brings us to…

Figure 3: The Facebook Social Graph in 2011

The Open Graph Protocol is the first step in allowing Facebook users express relationships with arbitrary social objects. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of social objects, Hugh McLeod wrote a great introductory post on this concept entitled social objects for beginners which is excerpted below

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else. Human beings are social animals. We like to socialize. But if think about it, there needs to be a reason for it to happen in the first place. That reason, that “node” in the social network, is what we call the Social Object.

Example A. You and your friend, Joe like to go bowling every Tuesday. The bowling is the Social Object.

Example B. You and your friend, Lee are huge Star Wars fans. Even though you never plan to do so, you two tend to geek out about Darth Vader and X-Wing fighters every time you meet. Star Wars is the Social Object.

Example C. You’ve popped into your local bar for a drink after work. At the bar there’s some random dude, sending a text on this neat-looking cellphone you’ve never seen before. So you go up to him and ask him about the phone. The random dude just LOVES his new phone, so has no trouble with telling a stranger about his new phone for hours on end. Next thing you know, you two are hitting it off and you offer to buy him a beer. You spend the rest of the next hour geeking out about the new phone, till it’s time for you to leave and go dine with your wife. The cellphone was the social object.

Example D. You’re a horny young guy at a party, in search of a mate. You see a hot young woman across the room. You go up and introduce yourself. You do not start the conversation by saying, “Here’s a list of all the girls I’ve gone to bed with, and some recent bank statements showing you how much money I make. Would you like to go to bed with me?” No, something more subtle happens. Basically, like all single men with an agenda, you ramble on like a yutz for ten minutes, making small talk. Until she mentions the name of her favorite author, Saul Bellow. Halleluiah! As it turns out, Saul Bellow happens to be YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR as well [No, seriously. He really is. You’re not making it up just to look good.]. Next thing you know, you two are totally enveloped in this deep and meaningful conversation about Saul Bellow. “Seize The Day”, “Herzog”, “Him With His Foot In His Mouth” and “Humbolt’s Gift”, eat your heart out. And as you two share a late-night cab back to her place, you’re thinking about how Saul Bellow is the Social Object here.

There are more examples in Hugh’s post but you get the idea. Social objects had been represented by “fan pages” in the Facebook world but with the Open Graph Protocol, it is now possible for any random website to become a part of Facebook’s social graph. This is a very powerful and liberating concept both from the perspective of what it enables Facebook’s platform to do but also because it gets rid of some ugly forms of lock-in. For example, Robert Scoble would no longer need to maintain a brand presence on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/scobleizer that is different from his website at http://www.scobleizer.com to stay connected with fans of his blog who are Facebook users.

Turning Web Pages into Social Objects

The process of turning a web page into a social object that Facebook can add to their social graph is very straightforward. From the Open Graph Protocol documentation we learn

To turn your web pages into graph objects, you need to add basic metadata to your page. We’ve based the initial version of the protocol on RDFa which means that you’ll place additional <meta> tags in the <head> of your web page. The four required properties for every page are:

  • og:title – The title of your object as it should appear within the graph, e.g., “The Rock”.
  • og:type – The type of your object, e.g., “movie”. Depending on the type you specify, other properties may also be required.
  • og:image – An image URL which should represent your object within the graph.
  • og:url – The canonical URL of your object that will be used as its permanent ID in the graph, e.g., “http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/&#8221;.

As an example, the following is the Open Graph protocol markup for The Rock on IMDB:

<html xmlns:og="http://opengraphprotocol.org/schema/">
<title>The Rock (1996)</title>
<meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" />
<meta property="og:type" content="movie" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117500/" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://ia.media-imdb.com/images/rock.jpg" />

The following properties are optional for any object and are generally recommended:

  • og:description – A one to two sentence description of your object.
  • og:site_name – If your object is part of a larger web site, the name which should be displayed for the overall site. e.g., “IMDb”.

For now Facebook supports a limited set of object types from the following categories; activities, businesses, groups, organizations, people, places, products & entertainment & websites. Once your page is marked up and categorized, the next step is to provide a way for users to add it to their social graph on Facebook. This is done by using adding the Facebook Like button to the page. From then onward, when a user clicks the Like button they become a fan of that page.

Not only is your page added to their profile but you can also send news feed updates to all the people who have liked your page (just like “Fan Pages” can) if you associate the Like button with your Facebook ID. Doing that provides you with an admin page where you can post news feed entries from.

The Return of the Semantic Web

One of the things I find most exciting about this development is that sites now have significant motivation to be marked up with extremely structured data which can then be consumed by other applications. Having such rich descriptive metadata will be a boon to search engines especially those from startups since some of the big guys consider their ability to extract semantics out of HTML tag soup a competitive advantage and have thusfought the semantic web for years.

In the social media space, a few people have focused on the fact that this data is put in place to enable sites to be added to Facebook’s social graph. However there is little reason why other social networking services couldn’t also read the same markup as a way to add those web sites to their social graph. For example, Yelp is one of the sites that now supports the Open Graph Protocol so when I click like the Pro Sports Club it is added to the list of “pages” I’m a fan of on Facebook. However I could just as easily see that being a [Twitter – Like] button which would add the Twitter account for the gym to my following list along with tweeting to my followers that I liked the gym. It would only take adding a markup element to what Yelp is outputting to indicate the Twitter account of the page being liked. With my Windows Live hat on, I can imagine going to Amazon or IMDB and clicking a [Windows Live – Like] button which would add the movie to my list of favorite things. There are a ton of possibilities this opens up in a totally decentralized way without forcing services or users to be locked into a particular social network.

This has been the dream Tim Berners-Lee has been pushing for years and I’m quite surprised to see Facebook being the service to take RDFamainstream. One of the things I’m happiest about is that Facebook chose RDFa for their implementation instead of the much hyped yet weaker solution, microformats. As Evan Prodromou wrote a few years ago in his post RDFa vs. Microformats, RDFa encourages interoperable implementations between organizations and avoids naming collisions via namespacing as opposed to the microformats approach which requires a centralized committee process to add/remove elements from data formats. From my example above, adding support for indicating the Twitter account of a page that implemented the Open Graph Protocol would be as simple as adding an element namespaced to some Twitter URI. That is distributed extensibility in action.

Final Thoughts

This is a very exciting time for the Web. I suspect that this will be another Facebook platform hit that exceeds expectations. The same way no one could have predicted Zynga and Farmville when the Facebook platform first launched is the way I feel we’ll all be surprised at the sorts of things that will be powered by the Open Graph Protocol in the next year or two.

*****  This is an awesome post that I am reposting for you.  You can find it here:  http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/2010/04/24/FacebooksOpenGraphProtocolFromAWebDevelopersPerspective.aspx

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Today is Twitter’s fourth birthday, and to celebrate the occasion we asked our Twitter followers: “Let us know how Twitter changed your life – add hashtag #thankstwitter4 so we can find your tweet.”

We got thousands of responses — in fact, #thankstwitter4 has become a trending topic. As promised, we did our best to sift through the tweets and find 140 that represent the Twitter zeitgeist as we enter the social network’s fourth year. Below are our selections, split up into categories or sentiments that we noticed were particularly common.

Consider this Twitter’s birthday picture at age four. Is it cute or is it ugly? You decide!

– Finding Love
– Finding Fame
– Staying Up to Date With Current Events
– Stalking Justin Bieber
– Stalking Celebrities in General
– Making Friends Around the World
– Making Friends With Similar Interests
– Being Better Than Facebook or MySpace
– Decreasing Performance at School
– Tweeting on the Go
– Miscellaneous

See full post here: http://mashable.com/2010/03/21/140-reasons-we-love-twitter/

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I absolutely love Chris Brogan!  He is such a social media expert, was in on the game early, etc.  Check out one of his latest posts:


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When launching and executing a social media marketing campaign, there are several rules of thumb to adhere to in order for your campaign to be successful and yield some ROI:

First, identify and target your market.  No marketing campaign, regardless of the platform being used, can be successful without properly targeting the audience.  It would be like trying to bake a cake without flour.  It just wouldn’t work.  The success of social media campaign relies upon the connections established within your niche community.  Proper targeting is imperative to start so you may engage your audience effectively.  It also determines which sites you should use in compliment of each other:  LinkedIn, facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Ning, etc.

Second, always encourage your followers to link to your site.  This is a way to intertwine SEO tactics into your social media marketing, while engaging your audience at the same time.  Creating and maintaining a blog can be very beneficial because fresh content can be loaded often.  This not only attracts indexing from the search engines, but it attracts a larger, more dedicated population of targeted followers.  You should also include a plug-in that allows your visitors to bookmark, tag and even tweet your blog posts.

Third, become an important resource for your visitors.  Social media optimization is dependent on give and take.  It’s about relationships and two-way engagements.  If you think it is just about tooting your horn and offering your services, think again.  Once you engage and start interacting with your audience, you can offer them what they want. Help them find the resources they need by linking to those sources. There’s no better way to know you audience than to just ask them directly and deliver.  Eventually, your site will be viewed as a resource hub and your followers will start linking to you, then their followers will, and so on and so and before you know it, your popularity will go viral all the while you are attracting inbound links, thus catering to your SEO needs.  It’s like killing two birds with one stone.

Fourth, remember to offer up the FREE.  In order to become a resource hub, you must offer up free advice, tips and guidance to your audience.  This builds trust and credibility.  And again, be sure to ask them what topics they want and get them to engage in the discussion.  Then when you do have an offer, you simply mention it and it pretty much sells itself.  It’s called ‘soft sales’ and it works so much more effectively than any other type of sales tactic.  Usually, the prospect never realizes they have been sold to – they think they made the decision to buy, not that you actually sold them something.  Remember the wise words of Jeffrey Gitomer:  “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy!”

Fifth, implement a measurement system to monitor your success.  Integrate tracking tools to know when your site is mentioned elsewhere and to measure your site’s progress in the SERPs.  Generate linking reports to identify inbound links pointing to your social media pages and primary domain.  Metrics are crucial in determining whether or not your SMO campaign is effective.

And of course, as your clientele list increases, along with your profit margin, that is a metric in itself. Just remember that social media marketing takes time.  Have an audience, have a plan and be consistent.  It will pay off in the end.

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While search engine optimization (SEO) is by far a thing of the past, the overall dynamics of online search is dramatically changing.  The newer, more focused online marketing landscape centers around social media marketing (SMM), also known as social media optimization (SMO).  Effective online search has previously relied upon the positioning of a Web site in the search engine result pages (SERPs), based mainly upon how many links were pointing to the site, thus indicating popularity, and how high of a page rank (PR) the site had been crowned by Google.  Now, with the steady increase of the social media phenomenon, we can foresee this unstoppable force anchoring itself mightily and building a sturdy home.  Page rank is quickly being replaced by friend rank.

Social media is not only the here and now; it’s also the wave of the future that is here to stay.  It will continue to grow and enlarge at rapid speed.  Social media is by far a trend.  According to Nielsen Online, social media networks and blogs are now the forth most popular online activity ahead of personal email.  Member communities are visited by 67 percent of the global online population.  The time spent in social media Web sites is growing at three times the overall Internet use rate, accounting for almost 10 percent of all Internet time.

Social Media’s Effect on Google, Bing and Yahoo

Although the SEO ship has not sailed and should definitely be a part of your online marketing campaign, social media marketing is the alpha male in the online jungle and he brings many changes.  Google used to separate “social” content.  Remember the separate Google search bar you had to download for blogs?  And another one for video and yet another for images, while nothing from the social media sites showed up at all?  Now Google streams ALL platforms into one system called Universal Search.  This means blogs, videos, images, news and user profiles and comments from social media sites are now integrated into the natural SERPs, shoving many previously placed Web sites right out of those coveted top spots.  Bing and Yahoo both have incorporated very similar systems.

With that said, you now understand how critical social media optimization is to your online marketing campaign.  By using social media sites such as facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, you can actually capture a greater number of organic search positions.  Did you know facebook alone has about 350,000,000 members from across the globe?  Talk about having your audience right at your fingertips!  Once you learn how to identify and connect to your target audience, you can definitely take your business to the next level and the next.

Intertwining Social Media Optimization and SEO

When properly executed, social media optimization can seamlessly dovetail SEO efforts. The ongoing, fresh content creation, social bookmarking, engaging and conversing directly with your audience, attracting inbound links by being a resource for your audience, etc.  – these methodologies are essential for pushing your Web site higher in the SERPs, increasing Web traffic and reaping the rewards of conversion and overall ROI.  SMO leverages an additional, effective set of online tools to accomplish the same goal as SEO: more exposure and better positioning for your Web site on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The challenge lies in knowing how to use those tools effectively and without spending all of your waking hours in vain.

The bottom line is this:  The days of launching a basic SEO campaign alone within such a competitive online space and joyfully watching your site rise to the top of SERPs are long gone. Not only has SEO become far more complex than it was just a few short years ago, but social media optimization has transformed SEO from a relatively straightforward strategy into an intricate discipline that is confusing and frustrating to most.

While social media optimization is a must for any business seeking to boost exposure in the search engines, most companies are not up for the task at hand.  Turning to someone with social media expertise and experience to successfully go head to head with the alpha male of the jungle is the key reaping rewards from your online efforts.

Contact us today to face the alpha male for you.  Also, keep your eyes peeled for our next article:  Your Social Media Marketing Campaign:  Top 5 Tips for Successful Execution.

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