To many, Social Media is a that ubiquitous buzz word that seems to try to get your attention in different types and parts of media. The recent Sprint commercial mentioned Twitter, you can now tweet with your favorite news reporters after your favorite newscast, President Barack Obama tweets (or a team does for him at least) and Britney Spears is on Facebook.

Ben Stiller recently jumped on Twitter via @redhourben, and made a huge announcement of his entry to Social Media. The big players right now are Twitter and Facebook, two feathers of the same bird, serving connected but different demographics. It has been said that Twitter is not for teens, but Facebook is.

Twitter's growth was up to 1382% in early 2009.

Twitter\’s growth was up to 1382% in early 2009.

I “officially” entered the world of professional Social Media Marketing late last year, but have worked in its many siblings. Viral Marketing, Buzz Marketing, Word-of-mouth marketing. I have grown greatly in my expertise since last year — now starkly aware of the ineffable connection of SEO and Social Media Marketing, the different tools that make Social Media marketing more effective, the various tools for tracking and measurement, and how to create and customize strategies for specific types of products/services and websites.

Yet to “get” social media is not just all about having the buzzword as part of your title, or even use it on a daily basis.

The difference between a site on Geocities and a Facebook page is the different between a plastic woman (mannequin) and a real live female. The other one is just meant to be looked at. The second one, is meant to be talked to, conversed with. It is meant to solicit feedback. It is a living, breathing thing.

Social Media is living and breathing thing, can cause as much benefit or damage to your brand as a prankster in a retail store. The other cliche buzzword is engagement. A term that is easy to drop, but do we really understand it? Social Media has removed opened the doorway in between the consumer and the brand.

It is far easier now for consumers to express like or dislike of a brand, and even easier to tell others of their opinion.

Different companies have different purposes for stepping into social media. Some of them are branding, brand awareness, customer engagement and brand reputation. Whatever your purpose is, you have to constantly monitor your brand. There are many tools:

1. Twitter Search
– search related keywords and find out what people are saying about your brand in real time
2. Monitter
– much like Twitter search, but tweets stream into monitor automatically for several keyphrase sets
3. Socialmention
– find what is being said about you brand in different social media platforms
4. Tweetdeck
– API that enables you to Tweet simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook, and monitor several Twitter searches.

Why do you have to care about what people say about your brand? Because consumers do. Consumers are swayed by what people say – case in point — the crash of the movie “Bruno” after opening night because of the widespread negative reaction at Twitter. Same thing happened to Funny People.

I digress here and there, but I think I am allowed to, this is my blog after all. That’s the beauty of Social Media. The next question I seek to answer is: Is there such a thing as a fool proof social media strategy? Let me know if you know.

Issues on Viral Marketing

October 30, 2008

Viral Marketing. Whenever somebody asks me what I do for a living, and I say Viral Marketing, I am more often than not met with a questioning look or an inquisitive question that can be summed up by the following question – “What the heck is that?” There have been a lot of definitions for viral – and it’s been interchanged with Guerilla Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing, each a division of grassroots marketing on its own right. Analyzing the word viral, coming from virus, tells us that it is marketing that spreads on its own, once “seeded”, and ideally spreads like wildfire. It is passed on from one unsuspecting victim to another, much like an infection.

Some issues on viral marketing – because of its natural, organic nature, it has been questioned as a valid form of marketing. Can you actually “do” viral marketing”? If it’s supposed to catch on naturally, and an individual or team of individuals help the spreading along, with linking, posting and conversing with the web 2.0 users, is that still natural? In my opinion, this is what we call “seeding”. You have to start from somewhere, and the somewhere is your viral seed in the form of a viral video, a well crafted, yet nonchalant blog comment, or a well-intended viral piece (like a pop-up or a  viral game). You are only as good as your seed. In viral, start good, and you’ll end well, and that trail of people that will lead you to your converting customer are the judges to how virally commendable your piece is. Based on my experience, viral marketing can be done.

Another popular question on viral marketing – “Does it really work?” The partial answer to this is an ambivalent yes and no. It largely depends on two things:

1) Quantity. At what rate are you posting? How many user-generated video sites is your viral video on? Although quantity is not always a guarantee of more clicks, and consequently, more conversion, it does increase the chances. Just like in traditional marketing, the more fliers you hand out, the more chances you have of reaching people.

2) Quality. What do you post? Are you posting mass spammy messages that do the exact opposite of your primary objective, which is drive people away from your site? What about the quality of your site? The viral marketer is only as good as the site he/she is driving traffic to. What are you writing when you post? Do you blend in enough to be perceived as “just another user” but are crafty enough to induce clicks?

Viral Marketing can be a great thing for you, and can have far reaching effects, but like with anything, the approach plays a great factor with its success.

Keywords — The Key!

September 16, 2008

It’s just about fall in Los Angeles, and yes, we Angelinos go through that schizophrenic time, wearing summer dresses with boots, stashing coats in our cars while we wear flip flops, and carrying foldable umbrellas in our purses just in case.🙂 To online marketers such as I, seasons are merely dates. The Net is un unstoppable vial of wealth, waiting to be unlocked, just as long as the right resources are tapped.

What I’m gonna type about today, is keywords, the key to unlocking that wealth,  stringing along keywords in the process as I speak, I mean, write. Anybody knows that the key to proper SEO is the proper keywords — even if you never heard of SEO before and think it might be some hidden organization like the MAFIA that so happens that no one decided to tell you about. It is how your buyers find you. It is the first things I learned about when I started swimming in the beautiful waters of web marketing. Optimize for the best keywords, and you’ve pretty much created an umbilical cord from the bank.

Here are some great links that show you the best keywords for your vertical:

Word Tracker

Seobook Keyword Suggestion Tool

Yet, how important are keywords for viral marketing? It is still significant to determine your top keywords for your brand or site, even though your main goal is not to appear in the organic results. In determining your best keywords, you know, who to look for in Web 2.0, and where to look.

For example, if you were searching for blogs to comment on in — you need to know what search terms to use. If you have a financial blog you want to do some blog marketing for, are you gonna use the word “financial”? Are you looking for people who want money advice or give money advice? Then you could probably use “money matters” or simply “money”. Do you have a real estate blog and are offering advice about how to avoid foreclosure? Keywords obviously would be “avoid foreclosure”, or even “losing my home.” Or maybe you are offering a business opportunitiy. Be creative. You could even use the word “broke” to look for people that are in dire need of money and are blogging about it.

You could also use a search term strategy for Q and A sites such as Answerbag and Yahoo Answers. People ask questions in many different ways, so for example, if your site is about events, and you want to invite people to view/post events on your site, don’t limit yourself to “events.” Use phrases such as “what to do”, “where to go”, and add several places after the keyphrases, for some variation. Then you would use “what to do in New Jersey”, or “what to do in Los Angeles”. You could even use the word “bored with nothing to do” to capture bloggers that are looking for new exciting events to explore.

Keywords are the map to your target demographic! Be creative, use several possible ones. Search engines are meant to be used and abused. Be sure to record the search terms you use so that you don’t end up doing the same searches again and again.

Now turn the key and open the door to conversion.🙂


Yahoo Answers is one my favorite social media tools — with Answerbag and Askville coming in second. It posts questions and answers to anything under the sun you can imagine — from apples to zebras. Indeed it is a great way to build traffic — but has more viral then SEO benefits. Yahoo Answer links are “nofollow”, yet don’t be so quick to dismiss it as a great marketing tool. Punch in your most relevant keyword on the search field and be sure to search open questions.

Why Yahoo Answers is great:

It is marketing to people who are already looking for you. If your website was an actual store — then they have already knocked on the front door. Answering won’t be imposing your product on them, it will be presenting a solution to a problem.

You can answer as many questions as you want. Just be sure not to be “spammy” and always assume the persona of someone who’s out to help people (which are you are doing really). Leave a link and be casual about it. Don’t overdo it though, Yahoo Answers can and will suspend abusers who overpost and are too candidly promoting themselves. Yahoo Answers can be a friend, but can also be a very bad foe.

You can be anyone, anywhere. I am talking about Avatars (in Yahoo Answers I am a brunette in Hawaii). Well this one doesn’t have any viral benefits, but it’s fun.

Search engines love Yahoo Answers. When you plug-in a question on the Google or Yahoo search field, more often than not a Yahoo Answers page will come up.

You earn points every time you answer a question. What are the points for? Just like in “Who’s line is it anyway?” the points don’t matter. But it does give you the freedom to ask a question. You earn 10 points for getting “Best Answer.” Having the “best answer” is a nice little pick up in your day, not only that it could also mean higher chances for traffic and conversion.

And lastly, for the simple reason that it works! It has worked in increasing traffic to several clients I’ve worked with in the past.

So that’s my tribute to Yahoo Answers. Maybe I should post the friend or foe question on the site. What do you think? Is Yahoo Answers friend or foe?🙂

The Tipping Point

July 2, 2008

Perhaps one of the hardest questions to answer in online marketing (and in life for that matter) is what’s the point? In dating you would ask a guy what his intention was, if you don’t want to play the does he/she like me game. In business, it seems simple enough, but you have to know what your client is looking for exactly. Is the client just looking for more traffic — undifferentiated? Is the client looking to attract the attention of a certain demographic? Email list sign up? Newsletter sign up? Of course, the obvious answer would be ROI, conversion, yadda yadda. But not everyone online is selling something, and not everyone who wants online marketing is selling something. The question to ask is “What do you want?” — to be able to deliver the service to the client exactly as they want it.

My professor in extreme marketing has reiterated through the course that “branding” is useless. At the end of the day when you don’t get an 11 to 1 ROI, you’re not generating an “a” business. That is true, yet I beg to differ slightly. Which leads me to another discussion — working in online marketing for about two years now is that persona matters. It’s like choosing the clothes you were when you go out. The way you dress is the way you will be initially perceived. Another point to ask, aside from what the point of the whole campaign is, is who do you want to be? Who do you want to be to your fans/customers? Do you want to be the messianic rapper? Do you want to be the “go to” authority in the happenings and latest news in your area?


Buzz is always great — as the cliche goes “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.” But you have to know the goals of your buzz. Or else, the buzz will have as much effect as cackling chickens. Know your end result and make it your vanishing point. Stare straight forward, and drive on.

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Cross-eyed linking

May 22, 2008


Los Angeles is as ambivalent as a cross-eyed cow crossing the street right now. Hot and Cold, hot and cold, wind and humidity, humidity and wind. Southern California is known for awesome whether, but it’s as unpredictable as the crazy bums in downtown and the crazy filthy-rich stars of Hollywood.

Well, on to linking. What shall we learn and explore today? Crosslinking — You don’t have to link in just one direction.

A great way to drive traffic to your website that I will talk about today is crosslinking. If you’re like me, you’ve gotten out there and shook hands with people and maybe applauded them on their blog efforts. You’ve left comments on other blogs to increase your web presence. If you’re like me, the first thing that comes to mind is to network with like blogs. If you have a dating blog, then you link from and socialize with dating bloggers. If you have a health blog, you socialize virtually with health bloggers. And so on and so forth. But the best kind of linking you can do is to link from sites that are indirectly related – sites with themes that have some connection to your site, but doesn’t mirror your site’s product or content. This is called crosslinking.

Just what exactly is crosslinking? It is linking from and making comments on blogs and sites that are diagonally related. If I’m promoting a blog about a toothpaste, I’d crosslink from a dating site and offer them information on how to get fresh breath on their dates. Maybe I’ll search for sites about diabetes because diabetics are more inclined to have bad breath and might need my toothpaste. If I’m promoting nightlamps I’d want to link from home and garden, home decor or home accessories sites. I might even search for sites that are related to rugs, beddings, or wall decor! The possibilities are infinite.

It’s time to get creative and think of other things that you might think of when you think of your product or service. Get out of your online “shell” and network boldly!

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Apologies to the blogosphere and my readers, it is quite a big crime not to post in two straight weeks, been inundated with several personal and career tasks, plus my brother visited from Philly. Excuses, excuses, I know. Learned much in the past couple of weeks. The only way to really learn viral is to ride on the viral tidal wave and surf and surf!

Apparently online surfing is much easier for me than actual surfing. Went surfing in Santa Monica Beach this past weekend and I barely saw a wave coming when I decided to back off enjoy the cool wind lying face down on my towel, and be a total girl and cheer on the guys as they embarked on the whole new world of riding the cool ocean waves. Water was freezing, I didn’t freeze to death, but I froze enough to want to back off.

Personal updates aside, I want to talk about viral video again — I bring up this topic so much because the explosion of viral video interests me — in how it plays such a big part in viral marketing, the kind of attention it gets (in the form of hits) and how different companies have leveraged user-generated video sites like youtube, viddler, metacafe and google videos put some spotlight on a person, service or product. I’ve found a lot of interesting viral videos — ones that have redefined what they could be used for. There really is no limit — after all, viral video is for us, by us. Many are called, few are chosen though. Posting a video on youtube doesn’t always translate to hits.

What weird purposes have driven people to use viral video? And what has generated a lot of traffic?

1. Communicate with the president. This is a video of literally a throng of Filipino prisoners telling our beloved president Gloria Arroyo to wake up from political slumber and start addressing the real problems of Filipino people.

2. Defend the case of religion. Religion has been getting a bad rap, something meant to be a boon but has been perceived lately as a society bane. Really, you’re not that original if you say that “religion is the root of all evil”. I personally think that my spirituality is an indispensable, inextricable part of me. Don’t be mislead by the sexy picture — it’s a cover to grab attention that has nothing to do with the content. I wish they didn’t have to mislead the viewer though. It is great to be socially relevant without having to use a sexual bait.

3. Apply for a dream job at Disney. Watch the video and learn. Resumes are so last century.

4. Publicly apologize. No apologies for this viral video purpose. Remember Kramer’s (of Seinfeld) big faux pas at his comedy club stint? He said sorry — how many hearts he won back I don’t know, but this video merited 1,686,941 hits so far since November 2006.

5. Lastly, and my favorite one — is to edify women. Too many videos use sex (usually in the form of the female anatomy) to sell, to catch attention. Why don’t we use viral video to inspire and lift up for a change? “I am a woman. Look at me. Get to know me. To be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known.” Check out “Woman at the Well.” This is a contemporary oral interpretation of the Samarian woman at the well that Jesus spoke to in the bible.

The possibilities for viral video is boundless. Find any interesting videos lately?

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