Do What is Right in Business, Give Back

The last few years have been tough for many Americans and tougher for many of the builders and real estate professionals we have the pleasure of working with.  When I founded my company in 1995 I named it Builder Consulting because we were building computers, networks and websites while providing computer and Internet consulting.  I knew many people in the real estate industry so naturally that was a strong part of the business with many of the builders taking my word that this whole ‘Internet Thing’ was going to be BIG.My little ‘hobby’ business went from an extra bedroom at my house to a Main Street office with clients worldwide because of the customers.  When customers started calling and stating they could no longer pay for website hosting, updates or marketing we had a choice to make.  I met with our accounting staff and told them if the customer is legitimately unable to pay and having trouble then Internet Builder Consulting was going to pay it for them and help keep them in business.

My accountant told me it was a bad idea, my office manager actually fought with me about it (she is no longer with the company) but my heart said that we help people when they need it rather than hurt.  These were the people and companies that helped us succeed and the last thing we needed to do was take down their websites so no customers could find them and no leads would come in.  The decision was bad for ‘business’ costing nearly $25,000 in services we paid for customers in the first year alone but I believe it is the way business should operate.  Business should not be just about money, making more and taking more from people – it should be about helping and making things better.

Some of the customers were literally shocked when I called them back to let them know we would be paying for their services until they got back on their feet.  Wallen Builders was a successful New Mexico builder/developer that called to say they were having financial troubles and could not pay to complete the new website.  I called them back and told them we would finish the website, host it and market it for the rest of the year at no charge to help.  Unfortunately it was not enough and they closed the following year but the marketing director, Gia Tidle  let us know that what we did helped them survive and pay their staff a few months longer.

Gary Bringus of Heartland Homes spent his last marketing money with another ‘builder design’ firm who took his money and never produced a website for him.  When he contacted us and asked for help we designed and built him a new website for 1/2 of what we normally charge.  Heartland Homes built some beautiful custom homes throughout Kansas City until the market crash and medical issues nearly closed the business.  In 2010 Heartland Homes made the call to turn off the website and save every penny they could to pay medical bills from nearly a year Gary spent in the hospital.

Rather than turning off the website we looked at the situation and agreed to pay for the services until he was back on his feet and business was stable.  After a few years of paying for customers websites, hosting and marketing it did add up to a significant amount of money that was causing occasional cash flow issues for Internet Builder Consulting so I choose to pay it out of my own pocket.  The last few years I have paid myself around $15,000 a year as the CEO of one of the top Website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country.  It’s was easier than I expected to go from making $175,000+ a year to what is considered poverty but I did it and I live a happy full life not needing anything.

Business is not about how much money you make, it is about how many people and companies you are able to help.  Internet Builder Consulting has been recognized as The Best Place to Work in Kansas City 4 times now and we have a happy team of the top experts in the country who do what they love and take care of customers.  Since 1995 I have never worried about the money, there were been several start-ups I was involved with that brought in more money than I ever thought I could spend.  Money has never been my goal, being the best at what we do, knowing the Internet, Search Engines, social networks inside and out and actually watching the people we work with succeed because of what we did for them is what drives me.

I had to make some adjustments in life to take a zillion percent pay-cut but it made things much simpler and more manageable.  Until things are better and the people who helped us grow the business from a side hobby to one of the top website, SEO and Social Marketing firms in the country are back on their feet I will continue to pay.  There is always another day and another dollar but there may not always be another chance to help a company or a friend stay in business when times are tough!

If you believe in what you do, the people around you and doing what is right than putting your money where your heart is makes sense.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson

Internet Expert, CEO

Internet Builder Consulting

816-842-7774

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Social Marketing Optimization (SMO), Social Networking Optimization & Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The online marketing world changed when Facebook became the #1 destination on the Internet.  Somehow most of the marketing firms, ad agencies and website designers missed the boat.  Social Marketing is not a new ‘separate’ thing for companies to do, it is one of the main requirements for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) success.  Everyone optimizes for Google since Google has 67% of the entire search engine traffic but Facebook has 300 times more traffic than Google.

Facebook has unique insight into users that no other company can complete with.  By joining Facebook everyone must agree to the ‘Terms of Use’ which grants Facebook permission to use ALL of your data (both public and private) for marketing and analytics.  Facebook knows who your friends are, where you like to eat, what companies you ‘Like’, what locations your friends ‘Like’, what kind of music, movies, sports and other things that even your closest friends may not be aware of.

In 2010 Facebook partnered with Microsoft to integrate Bing as the search provider for users.  In 2013 Facebook turned itself into a search engine with the release of Facebook GraphSearch with additional content provided by Microsoft Bing.  Since Facebook has over a BILLION active users as of December 2012 the best place to reach someone online is now Facebook.  Google is competing with Facebook for traffic and users but still uses Facebook posts, interactions and content as the #1 ranking criteria when determining how high to list a website on the Google Search Engine.

This clearly outlines that Social Networking has been a key aspect of Search Engine Optimization since 2008 when the first cooperative data exchanges were introduced.  Social Networking is an art form similar to SEO in terms of how it needs to be setup, linked and optimized.  If social networks are setup incorrectly they will bring little to no benefit for a business, product or service.  Consider the example below setup for Distinctive Homes of Las Vegas where the Facebook page is listed #1 above ALL other builders when someone uses the new Facebook GraphSearch:

Based upon how the company Facebook page and content were setup and optimized they show up #1 above all the competition.  A Google+ profile and company page improves ranking on Google when setup and optimized properly.  Companies who are missing the key element of Search Engine Optimized Social Networking are missing out on more than 50% of potential reach online.  SEO and Social Marketing cannot be separated  they must be managed and maintained as part of an overall cohesive online marketing strategy to be successful.  The Facebook GraphSearch first searches Facebook for content related to what you type then displays content from Bing search engine.  The example below illustrates how a search for ‘Kansas City Pizza’ first shows the top result 11 of my immediate connections ‘Like’ followed by the most popular result, Grinders Pizza and then suggestions for additional terms based on location (Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas City, Kansas).

Adding a location to a search on Facebook is the same as adding a location to a search on any search engine.  People who just search for ‘Pizza’ may end up with results for pizza places all over the world while people who specify a location will end up with better results.  With the results above for ‘Kansas City pizza’ I could easily optimize any of the local pizza joints Facebook page to place them in the top few search results. The Social Marketing Optimization works for any business and dramatically improves rankings on search engines.  A search for ‘Websites, Search Engine Optimization’ on Facebook GraphSearch brings up our company website first along with several suggestions related to this based on the traffic, interaction and how well the page has been optimized.

The key successfully integrating SMO and SEO is understanding how both social networks and search engines organize, rank and display data.  Today the majority of links created TO websites are coming from Social Networks thus a website that is properly search engine optimized integrating social networking with social marketing optimized can easily have thousands upon thousands of active, high value links.  The example below shows how one of our company websites is ranked by Google at 162,656 active links!

A website is not complete without being optimized for search engines and social networks.  Search Engine Optimization is, in part, how a website is built and what content is placed within the website but the largest factor today on how well a website ranks is social networking.  A successful website will incorporate SEO, Social Marketing with Social Marketing Optimization (SMO) and a strong ongoing online marketing campaign.  Social Networking IS part of SEO and must be handled by the same experts who build the website, optimize the website and market the website for the best results.  Ongoing adjustments with the website and online marketing need to be made as social networks change, release new features and search engines adjust ranking algorithms.

Make sure the website firm you hire has a COMPLETE understanding of the Internet, SEO and Social Networks or you may end up wasting time and money on an incomplete solution.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO and Social Marketing Solutions
816-842-7774  

The Art of The Facebook Flirt

When I refer to a ‘Facebook Flirt’ it does not involve trying to pick up a date from a social network.  Many forget the social aspects of social networking which often leads to failure.  People buy from people and they will buy more from people they know and like.  There are easy to spot trends on social networks that anyone with any social skills can spot and track.  Consider a new ‘Facebook Friend’ who may be a friend of a friend or associate who suddenly starts ‘Liking’ and ‘Commenting’ on everything you post.

This may simply be that they never knew you existed before today but in most cases this type of interaction shows an increased interest of some kind.  The art of flirting is more than trying to pickup someone, it is the method to engage and interact with someone that entices them to react and respond.  When our firm began marketing on Social Networks we tested several different methods with several of our staff.

One of the interesting things we discovered is that social networking interaction is nearly identical to the social interactions we may encounter out at a bar or dinner with friends.  The more attractive staff instantly had more ‘friends’ online who interacted more with them.  There is a line to walk in terms of ‘flirting’ and interacting which we quickly found when new ‘Facebook Friends’ began asking our social marketing staff out on dates!

The art comes into play in being able to post interesting things that people actually want to read while integrating the company, brand or product.  The flirting aspect comes into play through the interaction, commenting on updates and posts made by others and keeping everyone interested in what YOU have to share.  If you provide the marketing for another company then you must know their product, service or brand as good or better than people who work for that company.  This requires constant research, insight, interaction and discipline to constantly keep things flowing without distraction.

Social Marketing Success depends upon mastering the Art of the Facebook Flirt by creating memorable interactions, unique messages and compelling posts that buyers connect with.  The methods used and formatting of the company pages, individual posts and updates all contribute to the success or failure of the social media marketing campaign.  Be cognizant of not crossing the line since you never know how others may interpret what you share online.  When someone shows interest keep it online and professional, there is no room for mistakes that can harm your reputation and business.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert
816-842-7774 Office

www.InternetBuilderConsulting.com – Building BETTER Websites, SEO & Social Marketing Solutions since 1995

Facebook Posts Reach 50% of the Total Audience in 30 Minutes

One of the key factors for success with Online Marketing and Social Media Marketing is timing.  Companies who post when people are offline or asleep are marketing to an empty audience.  A Facebook marketing post will get half of its reach in the 30 minutes after it is published, according to research by Socialbakers.

The study found that an average of 1/3 of post reach was obtained in just the first 10 minutes after publication. Socialbakers indicated that after the first 1/2 of reach is obtained in the 30 minutes after the post is made with the remaining reach attained in the following 7 hours.

In the 11-20 minute period after publication, posts reached an estimated additional 13.2% of their total audience, while in the following 10-minute period, they reached just another 4.7% of their total audience. After 90 minutes had passed, the average post was reaching less than 2% of its total audience.  The numbers for social networking reach are significantly different than emails as a recent GetResponse study illustrates.

According to a GetResponse study  23.6% of email opens occur within the first hour after delivery. In the first hour, a Facebook post would have already reached 60% of its total audience.  The importance of timing messages and posts becomes significant when considering the share of opens and reach occurring immediately after delivery.

Facebook Fan Engagement Hovers Around 6% – Or Less

Adobe recently reported that Facebook fan engagement rates surged in the Third Quarter, they still remain quite low. According to a NapkinLabs study of brand pages with between 200,000 and 1 million fans (reported by Mashable), only 6% of Facebook fans engage with brands’ Facebook pages by liking, sharing, or commenting.

That may even be high. Looking specifically at the automotive sector, Socialbakers found that the most engaging post, by Rolls-Royce, had an engagement rate of 5.74%. The 4th-most engaging post saw just a 5% engagement rate.  Smaller brands and companies with a local connection typically see higher interaction rates.  The typical post made by individuals have a significantly higher interaction rate since people tend to connect and interact with other people more than products or brands.

This is the reason ‘social marketing’ works best when a company Facebook Page is used in conjunction with staff and individual Facebook Profiles.  Contact the social marketing experts at Internet Builder Consulting for professional Social Networking setup, management and marketing today at 816-842-7774.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert
Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO & Social Marketing since 1995

Google Penguin Changes the Search Engine Ranking Algorithm

April 2012 Google released the new ranking algorithm designed to combat less reputable online marketing practices.  Google Penguin updated and changed the way the Search Engine indexes, ranks and organizes websites and Blogs.  The Penguin algorithm targets specific practices used by some online marketing firms including:

  • Keyword Stuffing – excessive use of keywords without relevancy
  • Fake Articles or News – publishing hundreds of fake articles or news/press releases on newsgroups and sites designed to improve traffic or links to a website
  • Gateway Pages –  Webpages with duplicate content, single page ‘gateway pages’
  • Link Weight Manipulation – buying links TO a website from link farms, creating too many backlinks in a short period of time, etc.

None of these are new battles for Google, the latest release is simply a more refined system of combating the top known frauds.  This is GOOD for the majority of companies who use ‘white hat SEO’ building websites BETTER with appropriate content, valid links and well designed marketing sites.  A properly built and optimized website will actually rank HIGHER since the websites with inflated values due to over marketing will be excluded from search results.

Google states that 3% of the websites and Blogs within the current search directory will be affected by the Penguin release.  It is more important than ever to have the right team of experts designing,  building, optimizing it and marketing websites properly – no more games or ‘tricks’ will work!

Contact the EXPERTS at Internet Builder Consulting for a complimentary evaluation of your website, SEO or social marketing at 816-842-7774.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert
Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO and Social Marketing
816-842-7774 – Corporate Office

Social Networking, Social Media Marketing & Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Misconceptions & Myths

The largest misconceptions for Social Marketing and SEO are widely accepted, incorrectly, in terms of how marketers and the end users see social networking. 
1.       More Likes Means More Business – a ‘Like’ or the number of likes on a business page has nothing to do with sales nor are all ‘likes’ created equal.  It is simple to create several hundred to thousands of ‘likes’ on a page yet without ongoing interaction, ‘shares’ of the content posted on the page and a strong call to action that leads to a website visit or a phone call, the likes are worthless.  The strength of a page on a social network is within the INTERACTIONS not the number of likes.

2.       Social Media Marketing is FREE or EASY – technically it is free to setup a profile and account on most of the major social networking sites but successfully optimizing and utilizing those accounts for marketing is not.  To be successful a BUSINESS profile needs to be setup, a business PAGE needs to be setup and properly names, links to other social networking feeds and then managed with a balance of MARKETING, INFORMATION, engaging content (questions, ideas, things that will bring people to provide feedback, comments and share what is posted with their friends) and the social networks need to be constantly updated.  This requires time, expertise and skill to create, market, manage, monitor and track the results. 

3.       If I don’t use a social network it is not important for me to market there – WRONG, there are plenty of people who do not use Facebook on a regular basis or have never been on Twitter but the fact remains that over 800 MILLION potential buyers are at every day.  Social Media Marketing is about utilizing ALL of the top social networking channels to reach all potential buyers, brand your business, product or service and control your online reputation.
4.       If You Post it They Will Come – this has been a fallacy of online marketing for years since the same applies with Websites in terms of ‘If You Build it They Will Come”.  If a social networking account, page or site is not setup properly, linked to other accounts, engaging, informative, interactive, humorous and managed properly it will not produce results.  Once an account and page is setup properly it takes time for success, consider it ‘multi level marketing’ where you start out with one user who connects to another and then they connect with others until an exponential network of mass is reached.  It takes time but eventually, if done right, it will work.  Most success comes after 90 days of active marketing since that is the time required to properly build a network of loyal fans, followers and interactions.

5.       Social Marketing is a NEW thing only used by kids – Internet Builder Consulting began marketing on social networks in 2007 and began teaching classes on Social Marketing with SEO in 2008 while today over 800 MILLION people with an average age group of 25-40 year olds are the main audience.  Social Networking may be new to YOU but the majority of your potential buyers are already on social networks waiting for you to reach them!

6.         We have a website so why do we need Social Marketing?  A Strong Website is the foundation for all online marketing but not enough to reach the masses who may not even know your company, product or service exists.  The way to reach the masses is through a strong, well optimized, user-focused website that is marketed and linked from ALL of the top social networking websites.  Social Networking is built for ‘quick’, ‘short’ messages (Twitter is limited to 144 characters since that was the length of a standard text message from a cell phone) thus social marketing should typically be short, concise and to the point of transitioning online browsers to make a buying decision such as visiting your website, signing up for an offer or making a phone call.  The website is only the start of an overall Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy.

Social Marketing IS Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – marketing companies do not seem to comprehend how Search Engines work since most are ignoring the significant effect of social networks on SEO.  The # 1 Ranking Algorithm used by Google today is SOCIAL NETWORKING and having multiple social networking locations setup will ensure your company shows up multiple times on Page 1 of Google, Yahoo and Bing.  

Contact the experts at Internet Builder Consulting for additional information on Social Marketing, SEO, Websites or a free consultation 816-842-7774.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert

Internet Builder Consulting – Building BETTER Websites, SEO & Social Marketing

Sales & Lead Generation Success with Social Marketing, Social Networking

A recent business survey reported 39% of business to business (B2B) marketers are generating leads from Facebook, and 19% generated sales from Facebook.  Business to Consumer (B2C) marketers have higher success with Facebook at 67% generating leads and 39% generating sales.

The numbers reverse on the professional oriented LinkedIn with data from the August “State of Digital Marketing 2012 Report” showing 44% of Business to Business marketers generating leads on LinkedIn and 23% generate sales.  The numbers are lower at 21% of Business to Consumer companies generating leads from LinkedIn and 9% generating sales.

Business to Consumer lead generation on Twitter is a far larger source of leads than LinkedIn with 43%,  Google+ is 15% and Pinterest lead generation is 13%.  In terms of sales the order is the same: Facebook generates 30% of sales, Twitter at 19% followed by LinkedIn at 9%, Google+ at 7% and Pinterest  generated 6% of sales generated.

An aspect of Social Marketing many companies overlook is the engagement with 90% of businesses reporting some type of engagement on social networks.  Engagement is the interaction between potential, current and past customers on social networks.  The higher the engagement rates (people who click LIKE or SHARE or COMMENT on posts) increases rankings for websites, spreads the message, brand or product to a exponentially larger audience and increases the rates of lead and sales generation.

Social Marketing is not going away, companies not activly marketing through social networks are losing out on hundreds of millions of potential buyers, sales and branding.  If your business needs an expert to build the best Social Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or websites contact the Internet Experts at Internet Builder Consulting 816-842-7774 for a professional consultation.

Robert ‘Dot Com’ Jackson
Internet & Technology Expert
www.InternetBuilderConsulting.com