By Christy McNee at

Welcome Leah Bridges

Leah is highly ambitious with a strong background in sales and advertising. She has direct experience in Media Relations, Digital Marketing and Social Media. She has a proven track record for helping any size business grow and making their online presence larger and more efficient. She is very driven, motivated and completes each project with creativity, integrity and enthusiasm.  We are thrilled that she has joined the McNee Solutions team.

By Christy McNee at

California Supreme Court rules, Yelp can't be forced to remove negative posts

Online review site Yelp.com cannot be ordered to remove posts against a San Francisco law firm that a judge determined were defamatory, a divided California Supreme Court ruled Monday in a closely watched case that internet companies had warned could be used to silence online speech.

Justices agreed in a 4-3 opinion, saying removal orders such as the one attorney Dawn Hassell obtained against Yelp "could interfere with and undermine the viability of an online platform."

The decision overturned a lower court ruling that Yelp had said could lead to the removal of negative reviews from the popular website and leave consumers with a skewed assessment of restaurants and other businesses.

Hassell said Yelp was exaggerating the stakes of her legal effort.

Her attorney, Monique Olivier, said in a statement that the ruling "stands as an invitation to spread falsehoods on the internet without consequence."

She said her client was considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hassell's 2013 lawsuit accused a client she briefly represented in a personal injury case of defaming her on Yelp by falsely claiming that her firm failed to communicate with the client, among other things.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Donald Sullivan found the online statements defamatory and ordered the client and Yelp to remove them. Hassell said the client failed to answer her lawsuit or remove the posts, so she had to seek a court order demanding that Yelp do it.

A second judge and a state appeals court upheld Sullivan's order.

"Ms. Hassell did exactly what she should have done," Olivier said Monday. "After both the defamer and Yelp refused to remove untrue and damaging statements, she obtained a judgment against the defamer, and sought to enforce that judgment by requiring Yelp to remove the defamation."

Yelp said the lower court ruling would give businesses unhappy about negative reviews a new legal pathway for getting them removed.

Aaron Schur, a deputy general counsel for Yelp, wrote in a blog statement that Monday's decision assures online publishers in California that they "cannot be lawfully forced to remove third-party speech through enterprising abuses of the legal system."

Internet giants Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft said in a letter to the California Supreme Court that the lower court ruling "radically departs from a large, unanimous and settled body of federal and state court precedent" and could be used to "silence a vast quantity of protected and important speech."

Three of the California Supreme Court justices agreed with Yelp that the removal order violated a 1996 federal law that courts have widely interpreted as prohibiting internet companies from being treated as the speaker or publisher of users' posts.

"In substance, Yelp is being held to account for nothing more than its ongoing decision to publish the challenged reviews," Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in an opinion joined by associate justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan.

Associate Justice Leondra Kruger agreed that the removal order against Yelp was invalid, but for a different reason.

In a dissenting opinion, Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar said nothing in the 1996 federal law allows Yelp to "ignore a properly issued court order meant to stop the spread of defamatory or otherwise harmful information on the internet."

"Even — indeed, perhaps especially — in a society that values free expression, people expect courts and statutes to offer them minimal protections from disparaging misrepresentations or abject lies deliberately circulated to the public," he wrote.

The dissent raises important questions about how to govern the internet, said Eric Goldman, co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law.

Still, Goldman said the court of appeal ruling upholding the removal order against Yelp was an "outlier" and would have led to "open season on internet companies."

 

source:  NBC News

By Christy McNee at

What Your LinkedIn Profile Says About You

These days, first impressions are delivered through Google search results, not in a face-to-face meeting. So getting your brand to gleam brilliantly in bits and bytes is essential because we all know how important first impressions are. Thanks to the popularity of LinkedIn, your profile will likely show up in one of the top spots in Google search results. So, by default, like it or not, your LinkedIn profile is often going to be your first impression. That means it is essential that you invest time and energy to make your profile complete, authentic, differentiated, and compelling. If it’s anything less than that, you’re inadvertently sending a message of mediocrity to those who check you out. Here’s what they’re thinking – along with easy fixes to let your spectacular self shine through.

You’re hiding something.

If you don’t have a photo, you’re immediately suspect. “What’s she hiding?” The same is true if you use your company logo or another image that’s not you where a headshot would normally appear. The web is a weird, nebulous place. Content is suspect. Showing your face and letting people look in your eyes will make your words more believable and will give viewers a window for connecting on a deeper, more emotional level.

LinkedIn profile

You’re lazy.

If you left the summary blank, you’re missing out on a key opportunity to tell people not only what you do but who you are. And it whispers “lazy.” Your LinkedIn summary will likely be the most-read version of your bio – so spend time making those 2,000 characters tell your story in an authentic and compelling way.

You’re a commodity.

If you don’t craft your own headline, LinkedIn uses your current job title as your headline. That’s boring, and it puts you in a commodity category, preventing you from showing what sets you apart from everyone else who does what you do. Use your headline like the headline of an ad. Its job is to capture the attention of decision makers and entice them to want to learn more.

You’re outdated.

One of the best features of LinkedIn is the opportunity to follow Influencers, publications, and topics. If you don’t belong to any groups and have left the “Follow” category blank, it gives the impression that you’re not up to speed. If you’re only using LinkedIn as your digital resume, overlooking the full powerful of LinkedIn for keeping the saw sharp, you’re not only losing out on the site’s most important features, but you’re also telling people you aren’t interested in what’s happening in your field.

You’re not connected.

Having 500+ connections says you have built a large network. Having 499 connections or fewer says you’re not a player yet. Strive to get to 500 connections. That number shows up prominently when someone is checking out your profile.

You're a jack of all trades.

Your endorsements should match what you do. Let’s face it; we all think the LinkedIn endorsements feature is silly. We are often endorsed for things we have no business being endorsed for and receive endorsements for skills from people who have no idea if we actually possess those skills. You need to keep your endorsements pure. They should show people the skills you’re best at, showcasing the ones that will help you land your next role.

You’re paranoid.

If you're not willing to show people your connections, you’re saying that you’re afraid people will poach them. The spirit of LinkedIn is to be open and generous with networking.

You’re distant.

When you write your summary in the third person, you’re missing out on connecting fully with the reader. Using first-person pronouns is almost like having a conversation with your audience. Third person puts up a barrier between you and decision makers.

People don’t value you.

If you don’t have recommendations, your profile is just you talking about you. Recommendations give you a way to validate what you say about yourself with input from others. Request recommendations from people who have witnessed your work, especially if they are known in your industry or have impressive titles and work for respected brands.

source:  Forbes

By Christy McNee at

Why Is Instagram Good For Business?

What Is Instagram?

Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. It behaves similar to Facebook or Twitter in that everyone who creates an account has a profile and a news feed.

When you post either a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your “wall”.

Other users who follow you will see your posts in their own feed. Likewise, you’ll see posts from other users who you choose to follow.

With more than a hundred million of Instagram users actively posting forty million pictures within a day, imagine the number of people that you can reach to promote your business. With this big of audience, Instagram could be a great way for your business to reach your customers.

Now that you know the basics of what Instagram is, let's delve into why Instagram is GREAT for your Business.

1. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Instagram is primarily a photo social media platform. Users mostly share photos.

That means users see a lot of photos from people they follow. So how could your photo rise above from anyone else? That’s where your creativity can come into place: you need to have your photos and images stand out and look better than others.

With more interesting photos, people will be more likely to visit your profile and get more interested in the products your business offers.

Always remember, a good photo will create potential customers. Instagram is a great way to build a business brand just by sharing good quality photos and videos. It helps you to get connected with a number of potential clients very easily.

2. Fastest Growing Social Network

Facebook growth has plateaued. Instead Instagram is currently growing faster than any other social network.

As a business owner, it’s always important to stay ahead of the curve and to quickly adapt to changes in consumer trends. When it comes to consumer trends in social media, Instagram is the hottest thing going right now.

3. Instagram Encourages Customer Participation

Customer participation in Instagram is one of the strategies that businesses use to enhance the organizational relationship with its target audience. This involves both existing and potential new customers. This is a strategy that mainly includes a free exchange of opinions and experiences… for examples customers take a selfie with the product brand and post it. A business can run photo contest increase customer participation.

Through this, your followers’ followers will be able to notice your brand, thus increasing your brand exposure. This has been proven as an effective tool for increasing sales.

4. Create Personality

Photo and video posts tend to do a better job of reaching users emotions than simple text posts. When you tap into users emotions, they’re more likely to remember your brand in the future.

Instagram is an ideal place to create a personality and a feel for your brand regardless of what product or service you’re offering and what audience you’re trying to reach. Instagram is the perfect place to create and/or reiterate what your brand stands for and why people should care about it.

5. Build Trust

Through the photos you post on Instagram, your followers will be able to know more about your business brand. This helps build trust in the products you are marketing online. People need evidence. They believe in the things that they see. If they see how reliable your product is then you will eventually gain their trust.

6. Geotagging

The ability to geotag posts on Instagram allows local businesses for marketing to local audiences on a large scale. So when you upload a photo or video to Instagram, you can tag the location where the photo or video was taken. By doing this, nearby users can discover your content and business location, even if they don’t already follow your organization on Instagram.

Instagram lets users view posts based on the on the tagged location of the post. A user may then begin to view all uploads that are tagged as being in the town or city that your business is located in. In the feed of photos and videos that they see, the photos that you uploaded from your business will be visible. The user then sees your product and physical location, which will lead up to visiting your business and/or following you on Instagram.

Contributing:  Mike Marko

 

By Christy McNee at

Can Customers Find You?

Real SEO! At McNee Solutions, we actively manage all our SEO clients and are constantly updating and changing your site so that it gets you the best results. We don't use short term tacticts that only get your site short and unsustainable boosts.  SEO is vital to your Business and we want to help make that process easy for you.  We have a great platform that let's us know how your listing is performing across all Search.  It is crucial that your listing appear the same across different sites and social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Bing, Foursquare, and HotFrog.  Not only will you be confusing your potential customers, but this mis-information will actually hurt your search rankings.   

We want to make sure that your company is Found! 

Of course, being found is only a small part of SEO.  We also make sure that you have content on your site and social platforms once a week as well as determining what is right with your site and what needs fixing so that it performs better in search results.  We continuously monitor all of your demographics and analytics of your site's traffic as well as make sure that your site is listed and verified with over a 100 search directories.  

Make sure that you are doing EVERYTHING to optimize your site and your Business.

 

 

By Christy McNee at

Are You Optimizing Your Images?

1. Give Your Images Alt Text (Alternative Text)

If you upload a picture of coffee cups to your blog, it’s clear to you and your readers that the image is of coffee cups.

However, search engines can’t actually see your images, so they use your alternative text (alt text) to determine what the image is.

To edit your images alt text, in your media library (Media > Library), click on your image, and place a short description of the image in the “alt text” box.

Alt Text Explanation

2. Give Your Images a Title

Never keep the images default title (such as IMG_1111) when uploading images to your blog.

When saving your image to your computer, give it a descriptive file name.

For example, if saving an image of two cups of coffee, you can name the image “cup of coffee with friends.”

To name your image title in WordPress, go to your media library (Media > Library), click on the image, and insert your title in the title box.

Alt Text ExplanationYou can also edit your title and alt text within your post by going in to edit the post and clicking on the image you want to name. Next, click on the pencil button and simply edit your title and alt text.

Bonus Tip

Your blogs load time also contributes to your SEO ranking. Keep your blog speed up by re-sizing your images (don’t upload images at their full size) before uploading them to your blog.

You also want to make sure that you are using images that you have the right to use.  My favorite site for Beautiful Free photos is Unsplash

By Christy McNee at

Important Technical Announcement

Technical AnnouncementWe pride ourselves in making sure that our clients have the best service.  We will be doing a routine maintenance and systems upgrade on our email server(s) tonight 4/25/2018.  This will cause an interruption in our client's email services for up to an hour. 

Thank you for your patience.

By Christy McNee at

Top 4 Reason You Need an SSL Certificate in 2018

If you have a website, you’ve probably heard of SSL certificates, but are you aware of what they are and why they are important?

SSL is an acronym for secure sockets layer. SSL certificates are the backbone of website security and are vital for any business with an online presence, especially in 2018. SSL certificates allow someone’s browser to bridge a secure connection to your server, ensuring that the information is securely transferred.

You can tell if a website is SSL secure by looking at the URL structure. If a website’s URL starts out with “http,” it is not SSL secure. If it starts with “https,” then it is secure.

These are the top 4 Reasons your Website should have an SSL Certificate.


1. Stops Information Theft

When information is submitted on a website, it usually goes through a channel of computers before it reaches the intended party. The chances of that information being stolen along the way are higher if SSL is not applied. SSL encrypts the information so that it’s readable only to the party it is intended for. It does this by adding random characters to the submitted information, which can only be accessed with an encryption key. The information is useless to anyone who doesn’t have that key.

2. Provides a Sense of Security to People Visiting Your Website

With identity theft on the rise, information security is more important than ever. SSL ensures you keep everyone’s information safe, which builds confidence in people who are visiting your site.

3. A Necessity for Online Payments

An SSL certificate is a requirement for any website that accepts payments with an encryption of at least 128-bit. If you have an ecommerce site, you have to have an SSL certificate installed if you plan on taking credit card payments.

4. It’s Mandatory in 2018

To ensure safer browsing in 2018, Google flagged any website that doesn’t have SSL certification by the end of 2017. It’s important to note that this change will affect all websites and not just ecommerce sites. So, if you’re a restaurant owner, lawyer, dentist, realtor or consultant, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that this change doesn’t apply to you. It does.

Now that January 1st has passed, when people try to access a website without a SSL certification, a ‘Not Secure’ message will appear, which will more often prompt them to leave.

Maintaining an online presence can be tough, so don’t make it any harder for yourself than it already is. If you don’t already have an SSL certificate on your website, NOW is the time to do so.

 

source: Business 2 Business

By Christy McNee at

Does Twitter Impact SEO?

Does Twitter Affect SEO?

When you’re trying to increase your website’s rankings in search engines, there are hundreds of elements to consider. And while some (like content and inbound links) are weighted more heavily, it’s worth keeping an eye on the smaller factors, as well.

One of the most commonly discussed ranking factors today is social media. It’s indisputable at this point that platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, among others, are effective channels for reaching and engaging with customers – but there’s a little more confusion over whether or not they have an impact on SEO.

As an SEO company, we are often asked this question. In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between Twitter and SEO, and how your company can use the social media platform to improve your online visibility.

Does Twitter affect SEO?

Most clients just want to know whether a strong Twitter presence can directly affect rankings. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a straightforward yes or no.

Because tweets aren’t hosted on your site, they can’t affect rankings in the same way that links and content do. However, Google and Twitter signed a deal that gave Google access to Twitter’s data stream in 2015.

This doesn’t mean that Google indexes all tweets, though. Before this deal, they indexed roughly 7% of all tweets, and even now, the number is only around 12%.

As always, the more content Google indexes about your company, the better.

 

How can you use Twitter as part of your company’s marketing strategy?

As a social media platform, Twitter’s primary role in your marketing strategy should be helping you reach and interact with potential customers. Even if search engines didn’t pay attention to tweets, a strong presence on the platform would still be beneficial.

With 320 million active users, its value is clear. There’s huge potential for growing brand awareness and expanding your audience simply by having an active presence on the platform.

However, you want to take full advantage of the benefits of Twitter for SEO, there are a few things you can do to make your account even more effective.

LINK TO YOUR SITE CONTENT

It can be difficult to convey a message within Twitter’s 140-character limit. Thankfully, some of those characters can be used to link to content on your website.

Of course, not every tweet needs to include a link. If you can explain an idea within that short amount of space, that’s great. If not, links can be a great way to provide more information on a given topic.

Twitter links are an effective way to drive traffic to your company’s site. If you tweet content that your followers are interested in, this can have a huge impact on your overall traffic as your social following grows.

Plus, if your followers like your content enough to retweet it and share it with their followers, your reach will only continue to grow.

INCLUDE IMAGES IN YOUR TWEETS

Visual content is more engaging on all channels, and Twitter is no exception. Including images in your tweets, (I can't stress this enough) will help them stand out in your followers’ timelines, and make them more likely to stop scrolling and read what you have to say.

WORK ON ATTRACTING NEW FOLLOWERS

This is likely already one of your goals for all of your social platforms, but it’s important to have a dedicated strategy for attracting new followers. Google appears to index higher percentages of tweets from people with high follower counts, meaning that the more you have, the more likely your tweets are to show in search results.

This is often easier said than done, but one of the easiest ways to get started is by promoting your account on your other social platforms, as well as your website. If someone is already interested in hearing from you through other channels, there’s a good chance they’ll want to hear from you on Twitter as well.

 

source:  Webpage FX

By Christy McNee at

Wanting more traffic to your website?

Wanting more traffic to your website?

Of course you do. I have yet to meet a business owner who doesn’t.

And yet, most small business owners aren’t doing any search engine optimization for their websites. Only 28% of them – about one out of every four – do any search engine optimization at all.

Wasp Barcode

If you’re in this group of owners who aren’t doing any SEO, maybe it’s because you’re worried it will be too technical. It also may be that 

you don’t trust the advice you’ve gotten before or it was bad advice.

Often people are leery about changing their websites just to please a search algorithm bot. However, good SEO involves making some changes for the bots, but your site visitors should figure into this, too.

How people behave on your website – how they interact with it (or not) – effects how well your site does in the search results.

This makes a lot of sense in the broader view. After all, Google is obsessed with delivering the best results for each search. So is it any surprise that they’re watching how people behave on your site? That they’re ranking your site based on whether visitors seem to like what they see - or not?

These “user engagement metrics” may not be as influential as other search ranking signals (link inbound links and proper on-page SEO), but they do affect your site’s rankings.

How people interact with your website helps your real live visitors, too. If real human beings like your website, they’re more likely to place an order or go to your physical store.

So as you take a look at these different ways to measure user engagement, think about the search engine algorithms. More importantly, think about how your website visitors will respond. On that point, you and Google are perfectly aligned:

You both want to deliver the best possible experience for everyone who comes to your site.

Dwell time (long clicks).

This is a measurement of how long someone stays on your website’s pages. The more time someone spends on your website (the longer the dwell time), the better your pages will perform in the search engine rankings.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Say someone does a quick search for “Mortage Brokers.” They see your Mortgage Brokers page among the results. They like what your page says, so they click through. They like what they see enough to stay on your page for twelve whole minutes.

When they’re done reading that page, they go back to the search results and try a competitor’s page. They don’t like what they see there, and click back to the search results in just 30 seconds.

Google’s algorithm monitors and remembers that interaction. If your pages consistently keep people on them for longer than average, the algorithm will adjust the search results to favor your site. This happens on a page-by-page basis, but the performance of individual pages also contributes to how Google ranks your website as a whole.

Here’s the key takeaway: The longer people stay on your website pages, the higher your pages will appear in the search engine rankings.

That’s why dwell time matters.

Now that you know this, what can you do to improve your pages’ dwell times? Here are a few ideas:

Make sure to have a website that:

  • Loads in 2 seconds or less
  • Looks attractive
  • Is easy to scan (few people read closely online)
  • Is easy to understand
  • Add an embedded video or two.

Many visitors will prefer the video(we have become a visual society), and will stay on a page longer if there is one. There’s also evidence that the Google algorithm is partial to pages that have at least one piece of multimedia content on them.

  • Experiment with interactive content like quizzes, polls, and calculators.
  • Make sure your page is extremly focused on what visitors expect to get from it. Make sure to match the content of your page to the keywords people are using to find it.

Click-through rate.

If you’ve done any email marketing, you’ll be familiar with this term. But for SEO, “click-through rate” refers to how often people click through to a page from search results pages.

Google

Google tracks which links get clicked the most in their search results. Links that get clicked more often are moved up higher in the search

results. As a result, those pages to get much more traffic.

Return visits.

How often do your website visitors come back? According to Brian Dean of Backlinko, Google does consider returning visitors in its algorithm.

Not sure how many of your website visitors are coming back. You can find out if you’ve got Google Analytics installed. 

Google

 

Leaving a comment.

This only applies to blog posts, of course. But you do want to encourage people to leave a comment on your blog posts. And you definitely don’t want to turn off comments entirely. If you’re worried about spam comments, use a plugin like Akismet, which protects tens of thousands of blogs from the spam comment bots.

WordPress

If they share your page on social media.

There’s been some dispute about this, but the matter is mostly settled: Social signals boost search results. So if your visitors happen to tweet or share your pages on Facebook, that will help your rankings.

These social signals aren’t as powerful as links, but they can help. So consider asking your site visitors to share your posts on social media. Or actively recruit your employees to share new content to their social media accounts.

It also helps to have active Twitter, Facebook accounts (and a company LinkedIn page) associated with your account according to Backlinko. Google figures that real companies will have a decent following on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. 

BuzzFeed
 

They subscribe to your RSS feed.

Google owns Feedburner, so it makes sense that they’d value this metric. Again, this is not anywhere near as powerful a ranking signal as inbound links or your on-page SEO, in fact, you might think of it as a third-tier ranking signal. But it can give your rankings a nudge.

Final Thoughts

As search engines become more sophisticated, they also become more sensitive to user behaviors and preferences. We are no longer dealing with algorithms that can be fooled by keyword stuffing and artificial link schemes.

However, it continues to be obsessed with the primary goal of search: "To deliver the best possible result for every query."

If your site can be that best result, and you can demonstrate it to the algorithm through these engagement signals, you won’t have to worry about getting enough organic search traffic. You will also not be penalized in the next algorithm update.

 

 

 

 

By Christy McNee at

Website Elements That are a Must

Website Elements That are a Must

The homepage is often a prospect’s first impression of your website. Long, scrolling pages are the expectation these days so think of your homepage elements as a bit of journey. Don’t try to cram it all above the fold, let people get further and further as they scroll.

To get the most out of their visit, consider implementing the elements below.

1. The promise 

The purpose of the promise headline, above the fold on your homepage, is to show the visitor that you understand the challenges they face. You need to make them a promise that will solve their problems.

The Promise
The Promise
 

The promise -  “that our custom-built websites get results, look great, and work flawlessly across all screen sizes and devices.”

2. Call to action

A call to action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors, leads, or customers to take a specific action. CTAs help to guide people through the customer journey and advise them on next steps.

Your call to action can be to request more information, schedule a consultation, or download a free report. Make sure it’s relevant and useful – the days when people simply signed up to receive an email from you are over, but people still want to be led to useful activities and resources that get them closer to solving their problems.  McNee Solutions offers you a free SEO site Audit.

Call to Action
Call to Action
 

3. Video

Many companies are beginning to feature video on their homepage, and for a good reason! Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story. It’s also a great way to produce content to engage your audience.  Some put this in the nice to have category, but I think it’s a must these days for small business websites.  Video is increasingly becoming more important for SEO and brand awareness.

4. Trust elements

You need to have elements that build trust on your homepage, whether they be logos of current customers or testimonials for your audience to glance over. Have reviews or accolades you want your audience to see? Make them easy to find and place them on the homepage.

This is almost a content category for many businesses as things like reviews, case studies, and testimonials should be part of your ongoing content building efforts, but once you collect them use them to build trust and social proof.

McNee Solutions Case Studies
McNee Solutions Case Studies
 

5. Changing content

It’s a good idea to feature frequently changing content from your website on your homepage. For example, place a blog or social feed on the homepage that shows recent activity. It’s a great way to show your company is active and to keep content fresh on the homepage.

McNee Solutions Blog
McNee Solutions Blog
 

6. Core services

Create boxes that feature your core products or services and include about 100 words of content with each. Since these are your core services, you’ll likely have full pages or sections of your site related to each, but by placing them on your homepage accompanied by descriptive content, you’ll also get some additional SEO value.

McNee Solutions SEO/Core Services
McNee Solutions SEO/Core Services
 

 

                         

By Christy McNee at

Video Marketing is Today’s Most Important Business Strategy

Video Marketing is Today’s Most Important Business Strategy

The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, the content you need to be thinking about creating and marketing on social for your business is video. Period.

No matter what you’re selling, no matter what your company does, if you don’t have a video marketing strategy for the biggest video platforms, you are going to lose. In case you haven’t noticed, the platforms of distribution for video content online have shifted drastically over the last 18 months. Facebook is getting more daily minutes watched than YouTube, Snapchat’s daily views are now in the billions, and video on Twitter has taken listening and one to one branding to a whole new level.

Now, maybe YOUR scared a bit, but don’t worry because we are here to make sure you understand a few of  the biggest social platforms that matter right now.

YOUTUBE VIDEO IS A LIBRARY OF CONTENT

Let’s get started with the obvious, YouTube is the grandfather of online video. That is why, I won’t be focusing on YouTube in this article. I know, you’re already skeptical, but hear me out. YouTube is huge. I’m not denying that. It’s a library of video content: 300 hours worth of video content are pushed to YouTube every minute.

The problem with YouTube is that it’s in a downward trend compared to Facebook’s 4 billion daily video streams; A number that’s only going to continue to grow with time.

Due to its sheer size, there’s a ton of competition amongst videos on YouTube all fighting to be seen. When you have a platform with over a billion users, all wanting the same thing (exposure), it’s going to get noisy. It is much harder to break through the noise, which makes hosting your content on the platform much less valuable.

FACEBOOK VIDEO IS GOOD AT EVERYTHING: SMART, SHAREABLE & PERSONAL

Facebook video has become the best way to reach fans at scale. Couple that with their new video ad products for sales and direct response and the fact that they’re the greatest data company of all time for marketers and you have some serious reasons to spend some real money on Facebook video ads and video content for Facebook.

Think about it for a second. If you’re creating video content for YouTube, and not putting those videos onto Facebook as well, your brand or business is losing distribution – not to mention relevancy. No questions asked.

You don’t want to cross channel promotion by pasting a link to YouTube on your Facebook page as a status update. Instead you want to upload the video to Facebook, so that it lives in your Facebook page’s video content. Why? Because right NOWFacebook’s Newsfeed algorithm is placing an enormous amount of weight on videos, otherwise known as “reach.” When you upload videos, instead of linking out, you have a much higher chance of your video being seen by your community (and new fans, too). Google and Facebook are competitors, so if you think Facebook wants to have YouTube links perform well in their Newsfeed algorithm, you better think again.

Facebook has added features in the last few months that point to the fact that they are increasing the amount of attention they give video: view count, embedding options, video for website conversions. This means there is more to come.

Facebook should be an enormous priority however, don’t ignore the other social channels that might be more in-tune with your brand. There are a ton of other social channels to be creating video content for that offer what marketers love — reach and attention.

TWITTER VIDEO IS FOR ENGAGEMENT: DIRECT, SOCIAL, & REAL

Twitter’s released a new video product in late January. Video on Twitter truly is social and the best way to use Twitter video is by connecting and engaging, rather than just pushing. Twitter has grown in size, it’s become a listening platform. Six years ago, you could send a tweet and get more engagement on it than you do now. It was more serious. Now the amount of information and users on that platform has gotten so intense that it’s hard to have that same engagement. It’s hard to get anyone’s attention.

The real way to win with Twitter video, is through engagement — using it as a “pull” rather than a “push.

The truth is, people respond to effort. When a celebrity favorites your tweet, you get excited. Someone you admire likes a photo of yours on Instagram, it makes you feel good. In reality, it’s not about the 100th of a second it takes to double tap that photo — it’s about the fact that they looked at your profile. They chose a photo. They saw it. And they “liked” it. That interaction, which takes all of 5 or 6 seconds, really touches people in a way that is unique to the powers that be on social.

With Twitter’s new video feature, they’ve been able to take that feeling to the next level.

All you have to do is get in there and engage. Reply to a tweet using the camera option, select video, and start talking. Those extra seconds hold a lot of meaning. Not to mention it’s more personal, visual, and we are living in a world where the visual is often regarded as a better engagement than the written.

There’s also more room to set the tone. A lot of things can get lost in a tweet. You might say “thnx” but that person isn’t 100% sure what your tone really was. But with Twitter video, the message comes across loud and clear.

It’s fifteen seconds of your attention on one person instead of two seconds. Do you know how much that means? Time is so incredibly precious to people. We are in control of it and we hate when it’s wasted. But you know what we value more? When someone else decides to lend their most precious asset to us.

That is what excites me most about Twitter video. Giving time to people. More time. Personalized time. And that is awesome.

VIDEO IS THE #1 WAY TO CAPTURE YOUR AUDIENCE

Bottom line is there is a lot going on in video right now, and it’s the #1 way to capture the attention of the audience you’re going after for your small business, brand, or company. All these platforms use video differently and they all have their own social context that needs to be respected and taken into consideration. Take the time, put in the work, and produce the videos that will move your business in the right direction.


contributing:  Gary Vaynerchuk

 

By Christy McNee at

A Better Way to Reply to a Bad Review Than Screaming or Brooding

Growing up, my dad always said, "if a customer isn’t satisfied, he’ll tell 10 people about his bad experience." Today is no different, but instead of telling 10 people, a single customer might be able to reach 1,000 or more people.  

Thanks to sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews and Facebook your customers can tell other customers exactly what they think of you.

The best way to handle this is to make customer service your # 1 priority.  If you take care of your customers, they’ll return the favor with their loyalty and supportive word of mouth.

However, you can’t be everything to everybody, and you’ll probably disappoint a customer. You’re going to get some negative reviews. How you manage this is what truly affects your company's reputation.

At McNee Solutions we respond to Negative Reviews within 48 hours.  It let's our customers know that we have heard them and we want to address their concerns and problems. It also allows us to engage with our customers and use their feedback to make improvements to the company. You should be monitoring your online presence so you can improve your company and your customer service.  Here are a my top tips:

  • Automate the process.

Invest in a service to notify you when new reviews about your company appear online. We find Yext helpful for monitoring listings across multiple platforms (including Yelp and Google reviews).  *We include this in our premium SEO package.*

  • Stay calm and step back.

When you see a negative review, your first instinct will be to respond from an emotional place. Hitting “send” when you are angry and hurt will just come off badly and put the customer on the defensive. Remember, keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.  Take time to compose yourself, collect your thoughts and respond in a considerate and helpful way.

  • View criticism as an opportunity.

It’s often difficult to view negative reviews as anything other than personal attacks. Criticism can be constructive, or at least used constructively. Start looking at every negative review as an opportunity to improve your company. Transform the criticism into creativity.

  • Turn it into an advantage.

If you’re authentic in your response and resolve problems promptly, it shows other customers that you care about their experience and will go out of your way to correct any issues.

  • Reply to ALL Reviews.

Be diligent about responding to every review. It is possible you may find a review that’s clearly not from a real customer or one that’s making an unreasonable request, but these are few and far between.

No matter how committed you are to customer service, you might make mistakes. However, regaining the customer’s trust is often as simple as apologizing and fixing the problem.

  • Make customer satisfaction a priority.

Most companies incorporate customer care and communication into their policies. For instance, Tony Hsieh empowers all Zappos employees to satisfy customers by offering refunds, upgrading shipping or sending flowers. Having a plan in place will make the process easier for you as a company and make sure the customer is put at the forefront. 

A key step in providing good customer service starts with remembering that your customers are human and connecting with them… in a human way. In our hyper connected world, it’s so important to manage your online reputation. Your customers expect you to find solutions to their problems whenever possible, but more importantly, they want to feel heard and understood.

Don’t be afraid of bad reviews. Having some cynics or defeatists in the mix adds validity to all those glowing five-star reviews. Do not take bad reviews personally, but do have a response plan.  

By Christy McNee at

Is Online Marketing Really Necessary For Small Businesses? YES

If you’ve spent any time networking with local small business owners, working for them as employees, or pursuing them as potential clients in the past 15 years or so, you’ve undoubtedly heard some variation the following phrase: “we don’t need online marketing.” Today, most such business owners have at least made the concession of attaining a website, but what about optimizing it for search engines? Designing it in line with a brand? Offering an e-commerce platform for online purchases? Engaging with customers on social media?

To the “traditional” business owner, these concepts often seem like fads, or otherwise like wastes of time. To the professional marketer, the benefits seem obvious. Where, then, is the root cause of this dissonance? Is online marketing really necessary for today’s traditional small businesses, or is it possible to survive without an online strategy?

Common Points of Contention

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why a traditional business owner would reject online marketing as a necessity (or even a value) in the first place. It’s important to recognize that not all online-resistant business owners have the same motivations or views. Furthermore, some of these points of contention are quite valid, while others can be dismissed with a bit of supporting data.

  • I don’t need more customers. This one’s pretty simple and hard to argue with. If you’re satisfied with your existing customer base and aren’t interested in growing, I won’t try to dissuade you. It’s a nice position to be in—just make sure you can count on those customers for the long haul.
  • All my customers are offline. This is the usual complaint of businesses that find customers through existing partnerships and networking. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it’s a representation of biased thinking—of course you’ll only attract customers offline if you’re only marketing offline! There are 5 billion Google searches every day and over 1 billion active Facebook users; don’t you think at least some of those users might be interested in your business?
  • Online marketing doesn’t work for me. If you’ve tried marketing before and have seen little to no success, that doesn’t mean marketing is inherently flawed—it means there was a flaw in its design or execution. It happens, even to the industry’s best, but the correct response is to make improvements by finding new partners, pursuing new channels, and increasing the quality of the data you work with.
  • Online marketing is a fad. This usually applies to a specific strategy, rather than online marketing in general: SEO and social media are frequent targets. Now that both fields have been around for more than a decade, traditional business owners are starting to take them more seriously, but I have no proof that they’ll be around forever—just a suspicion that they’ll transform rather than fade away entirely.
  • It’s too expensive. This is another valid point, but remember, marketing is an investment. If executed properly, you’ll see a positive ROI, meaning you’ll get back more revenue than you put forth in the first place.
  • I don’t get it. Just because you don’t “get it” now doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of getting it. The Internet is alive with communities willing and able to help you figure it out. Besides, you can always hire a contractor or agency to design, execute, and manage a campaign for you.

Now that I’ve addressed the common points for why online marketing isn’t valuable, I’d like to make a few points about why online marketing could be considered a “necessity.”

Point for Necessity 1: Consumer Expectations Have Changed

Almost every American has access to and regularly uses the Internet. Most of us, when we hear of a business for the first time, immediately look for a website or social media profile where we can learn more. We don’t stop in for a visit. We don’t look you up in a phone book. We don’t consult a rolodex. People expect you to have a website, and if you don’t, they may doubt your legitimacy or discard you as a potential option altogether. There’s a “bare minimum” standard that consumers expect to see of businesses online, so strive to achieve at least that.

 

Point for Necessity 2: Competition

Just because you’ve been reluctant to adopt an online marketing strategy doesn’t mean your competitors haven’t. They could be conquering the digital landscape, poaching your potential customers and offering a better first impression to anyone searching for businesses like yours in your area. To make matters worse, every day they continue to follow these strategies is another day ahead of you they’ll be.

Point for Necessity 3: Rate of Change

Finally, I want to point out the rate of change in technology accessibility, reliance on online stores and services, and of course, consumer behaviors. Big breakthroughs in technology, such as high-speed Internet and mobile devices, make us more dependent on the Internet and less dependent on physical structures every day. This means online marketing becomes more important on a consistent scale as time passes. If you don’t think online marketing is important for your business today, there’s a chance you’re right—but think about next year. This is a long-term investment.

All in all, I think it’s unfair to say that online marketing is truly “necessary” for every business. However, if you aren’t engaging in any kind of online marketing campaign, you’re definitely sabotaging your own potential and possibly setting yourself up for future collapse. Your business might be getting by just fine without a website or any online outreach, but that doesn’t mean you’re better off that way. Challenge your assumptions and change with the times, no matter what industry you’re in—you’ll thank yourself for it later.

source:  Forbes

About This Blog

This blog is a place to read about the latest news and activity going on at McNee Solutions