A good friend of mine once told me that he liked to surround himself with people smarter than himself. He said we’d all be in trouble if he were the smartest person in the room. While there is plenty that this friend is the smartest about, I have taken that advice to heart and try to hang out with ubersmart people. I’ve found the really smart ones are also the ones most willing to share what they know.
That was definitely the case at Blog Indiana 2010. The two-day conference was filled with smart presenters who gladly shared their knowledge and expertise with everyone in the room. With 35 speakers, I wasn’t able to attend every session but there were two in particular that stood out.
I learned a lot from Jeremy Dearringer’s, of Slingshot SEO, session on Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM). If you think search engine optimization is all you need to worry about, think again. For example, have you ever considered the impact of Google’s suggested search pop-up? Because users search for negative search terms, those will show up in the pop-up. And since people are impulsive searchers, they will see the negative search result and often decide not to click into the results to see what the story really is.
Jeremy also shared this nugget. Just because your site becomes popular, it doesn’t mean people will remember and access your URL directly. Most people do branded search – sometimes even entering the URL into the search window. And if company website has negative result directly below it in the Google search results, up to 70% of surfers will click on the negative result first. Yuck.
So what are we to do? Jeremy suggested being proactive with the sites under your control, which isn’t new, but also advised us to do nothing to add to the negative conversation. Somewhat counterintuitive, yes? After listening, it makes sense. If you respond to a negative comment, you only strengthen its position in the search results. So take that negative customer service response offline.
I’d also like to give kudos to Chad Richards from Firebelly Marketing who presented a session on Facebook for Business. Not only did Chad give oodles of information, his presentation style was calm, measured and easy-to-follow. He briefly covered the basics of Facebook pages vs. profiles and how to create a relevant page, but want struck me was his attention to setting goals and a strategy to reach those goals. One of the standout comments was, “Anticipate and plan so you don’t have to react on the fly.” That’s the way I like to do business, so I immediately was prepared to trust just about anything he presented after that.
I won’t get into all the tactics he presented about how to promote your Facebook page and build your community here. He also had great information on how to explore Facebook data and identify trends in what people respond to on a page to find an optimal time and place to post. In addition, he walked us through the process of creating a static FBML page and using Facebook Places – including prepping us for changes that are coming Monday (August 23). He also spent time talking about Facebook’s promotion guidelines and shared how to conduct a promotion or contest the legal way.
What struck me about Chad’s presentation was the number of tools he shared during the course of his presentation. Remember Firebelly gets paid to build Facebook strategies, create tabs and develop promotions and contests for their clients. Here Chad was in essence throwing candy on the table and teaching the group how to do what he does every day. Jeremy did this too, even suggesting some of his competitors as resources for SERM. That is the mark of a true, confident professional.
Both Slingshot SEO and Firebelly Marketing gave a great presentation but they also positioned their companies well in the process. If they were giving away that much information, imagine what else they know and can do for you?
(Note: While I’m not getting paid to promote Slingshot SEO or Firebelly Marketing, I do have the chance to win an IPad from Slingshot as a result of this blog post. Out of fairness, I thought you should know.)