Google: The Next Monopoly?

May 7, 2012
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                             return to JayVee Media Link LLC

all of Google's service offeringsGoogle has changed its algorithms yet again as it strives to maintain its spot at the top of the search engine heap.  It has brought us the Chrome browser, Google Plus social profiles, Gmail, Google Maps, Adwords, Analytics, Google Documents, Alerts.  It has given us the Android phone along with tons of mostly free apps in Google Play.  It owns You Tube; it just rolled out Drive, a cloud based service.  These days, is it even possible to go ANYWHERE on the web and NOT use a service that has some connection to Google?

Back in the day, there was an entity through which ALL telecommunication was routed.  Mind you, there wasn’t much beside literally telephone communication.  The entity was known as Ma Bell, and it was unquestionably a monopolistic enterprise.  It owned all the equipment and all the lines, right down to the phones in our homes.  It was the only provider of telecommunication service.  It charged what it charged, and the only recourse we had if we were unhappy was to not have phone service.

In the 1970s, an Antitrust lawsuit was filed against Ma Bell.  Years later, when the dust finally settled, the big ol’ girl was broken up into several smaller companies.  A number of them have since merged back together, but Ma Bell itself is no more.  With the introduction of competition came an amazing set of phenomena.  Suddenly, prices were negotiable.  We could buy our own equipment. Phones became more stylish, more functional, and even wireless.  We saw the dawn of the digital age, and of fiber optic.  Competition also brought us our lifelines: our mobile phones.  And of course, we were able to hook in to the World Wide Web.

The question that arises from my stroll down memory lane is, has the time come to assess Google, and evaluate whether it is becoming our next big Ma Bell-like monopoly?  We all have probably heard the term applied to Google these days, along with its legal counterpart, Antitrust.

Google monopoly

The argument can be made that Google is not actively trying to drive its competitors out of existence.  If it was, then it would make sense to apply the moniker “monopoly” to it. As a business, it has every right to preserve its top rating.  Strategies to do this include striving to innovate and expand in order to offer its users the best possible online experience.  Its competitors are doing the same thing; as of now, though, they are not doing it as successfully or with the same foresight as the Google folks.  So is that Google’s fault?

I have my issues with Google. Most concern privacy rights.  Yet even so, I have to concede that Google would not be able to offer the broad, interrelated services it does, let alone offer them mostly for free, without more access to my private data than I am comfortable sharing.  On one level, it is my choice to continue using Google and its related services.  But on another, can I really have the benefit of access to all the features I enjoy via other services?  You Tube is a very significant platform in the field of social media marketing; how can I maintain a presence on it without being connected to Google if the platform is OWNED by that company?  And if I COULD sever my ties to Google, wouldn’t I still have the same privacy issues with its competitors, unless I would be willing to pay who knows how much money to use the services anonymously?  Again, that isn’t even feasible for some of the features.

In the end, I do choose to use Google and all of its wonderful offerings.  I fully support its quest to remain the best, so long as it doesn’t look to shut down its competitors.  And I do what I can to safeguard as much of my privacy as possible.

What are YOUR views about Google?  Do you think it’s a monopoly?  Should an Antitrust lawsuit be pursued against it?  What alternatives do you think we have?  Please share your perspective by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below.

menacing Google Penguin

Beware the Penguin!

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Be a Social Media Overnight Sensation! — Or Not

April 23, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                                    return to JayVee Media Link LLC

internet quick cashEvery time I receive a message telling me to “read on” or click a link to learn the well guarded secrets of being an instant success in the field of social media marketing, I lose a little more patience.  It shouldn’t surprise you to know that I get a steady diet of those, every single day.   Don’t you?

I love this field.  That’s important, because you need to love what you do in order to put in the hours and carry out the responsibilities that are required to do the job well.  After several years of handling social media campaigns as favors for friends, I had no delusions regarding what it would take to launch my services as an official business.  Yet even though my eyes were open going in, I STILL wasn’t totally prepared for the time commitment and the overwhelming workload.  Especially since I was pretty much doing it all as a solo act; when you launch a business without a lot of “seed” capital, there isn’t much available to pay for help.

Frequently during vast undertakings such as this one, overwhelmed new business owners become susceptible to falling victim to hawkers of all kinds of magical formulas for instant success.  Day after day they are deluged with promises that if they will just purchase this program or that plan they will be making big bucks within a few weeks.  And best of all, they will be earning those huge payouts with as little as an hour or two of work a day.  Sounds irresistible, right?

man holding out packets of money

My friends, please remember that old saying: “If it sounds too good to be true, it IS.”  Don’t waste your money on those get rich quickly while doing barely any work “systems.”  Remember that many of those schemes are completely transparent to potential clients, and will in fact send them running in the opposite direction.  Do be prepared to put in long, LONG hours of work that is demanding AND taxing.  Thankfully, there are plenty of highly reputable mentors out there from whom you can learn without being misled by fantasies.  In short, have fun, but understand that the satisfaction you will feel needs to come from a very high level of dedication to the field in general and to your clients specifically.

One of my mentors, Lilach Bullock, posted a blog about this very topic last week. In 3 myths other Internet Marketers don’t tell the truth about, she made the case so eloquently that I am eager to share her sage wisdom with you.  Heed Lilach’s words well and you will understand what it takes – and how long it takes — to be truly successful in the social media field.

What is your experience with becoming/being a social media manager?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!
free money mouse trap

5 Ways Google is Changing Its Search, and How the Changes Will Affect Blogging

March 26, 2012

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli                             return to JayVee Media Link

google searchThe blog: the lifeblood of our social media existence.  Micro, macro, informational, promotional; ultimately, everything online comes back to our blogs.  Small wonder, then, why it is critically important to optimize our compositions to ensure maximum visibility.

With the ever evolving algorithms that Google is experimenting with/implementing, attaining and maintaining maximum visibility is like riding a constantly shifting paradigm.  What used to work doesn’t anymore; in fact, it could conceivably work AGAINST us.  Hence, it is crucial to stay abreast of the changes that Google is making to their search and ranking parameters.

Lately there has been a flurry of reports covering the various ways Google is looking to change its criteria.  Some were started a couple of years ago and are still works in progress; others are being rolled out imminently.  The most important aspects of these changes are:

  1. Google’s bots are being “trained” to downgrade sites that appear overly optimized.  Remember how keyword density used to be a great way to get noticed?  Now a Google search spider will label a site that uses keywords excessively as spammy, and will downgrade the “offending” site’s ranking.
  2. The same holds true if Google’s bots find too many links on a website page.  Like keywords, they are still important.  But overusing them will result in a lowering of your site’s ranking.
  3. This is really more of a reminder than a change, but I thought I’d add it anyway because it is significant.  It is still advised to add pictures to your blogs; in fact, pictures offer yet another dimension for gaining visibility thanks to sites like Pinterest.  But it’s important to remember to add alternate text to the pictures.  The Google bots don’t actually “see” photos, but they will read and score contextually optimized descriptions of them.
  4. While continuing to experiment with this dimension, Google is phasing in “semantic” capabilities in its search.  Its objective in doing so is to go beyond simple word recognition in queries, to a point where the bots can actually begin understanding what is being asked.  For this end, Google has acquired an open source knowledge graph called Freebase.  By building infrastructure layers in a knowledge graph like this one, its idea is to use Freebase as a tool to aid the creation of more knowledge. The aim is for Google’s bots to ultimately understand the actual context of a search query or a web page that they are crawling.  This is why good quality user generated content has gained so much significance in the rankings contest.  The search bots are learning to recognize and award rank value to contextually relevant written passages.
  5. Google panda fighting off poor content

  6. Incorporating content from Google Plus profiles, the Picasa photo sharing service, and content approved for sharing on these two platforms is yet another method Google has recently implemented in its quest to deliver smarter, more personalized search results as well as higher site rankings.  This is something else we must bear in mind going forward as we continue to create our content while aiming to win the best possible visibility.

So…are you ready to retool the way you create your content?  What will you change to maximize visibility, given these new Google search and ranking parameters?  Please share your thoughts in the “comments” section below!

See also:
Google Search Set To Change

Google Plans to Penalize “Overly Optimized” Sites

Google Plans Major Revamp for Search Engine

How Important is Unique Content in the Eyes of Google Panda?

The Importance of a Well Written Blog – and 6 Tips to Make it Stand Out

February 20, 2012                         return to JayVee Media Link
by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

typing a blog

blogging away!

In social media marketing, everyone knows that the blog is the life blood of an online presence.  Without an intelligently written, interactive blog site, would-be internet marketers are merely floating along in a chasm of vast, unresponsive cyberspace.  How else do you get your message out there in a way that connects with potential clients?  How do you build the trust factor and earn credibility?

Of equal importance to the blog itself is the manner in which it is composed.  With few exceptions, we fool ourselves if we believe we can sit down and bang out a quality piece in the blink of an eye.  We need to acknowledge that proper construction takes lots of time and repeated self-editing.  Here are six tips to help get us pointed in the right direction:

  1. Get a feel for the right length as you organize your thoughts into a usable sequence.  You are not going to attract hordes of readers if your posts are long-winded and rambling.
  2.  Show your human side.  No one likes to read a detached, uninspiring passage.  Potential clients have no idea who is behind the keyboard at the other end of their internet connection.  Being able to inject some personality and humanity into your writing will put your blog readers into a comfort zone.  And the more comfortable they feel, the more their trust in you and your brand is likely to build.
  3. Make sure you deliver quality content.  The best method for building trust and respect is sharing value from within your field.  Educate your readers; impart helpful tips and share instructional information that they can take away from your posts.  The more value you deliver, the more trust and confidence you instill.  The more trust and confidence you instill, the more repeat and referring readers you will create!
  4. Include pictures, and be sure to use alternate text and to caption those pictures with optimized text.  Not only are photos attractive to a reader’s eye, they help break up the monotony of reading an ongoing stream of words.  As an added bonus, in this age of Pinterest, you can spread your blog more widely by pinning its related pictures to your boards on that platform!
  5. Post short videos.  The best way for blog site visitors to get to know you is to have them see and hear a message directly from you.  While video blogging, or vlogging, has been popular in the past, this year it is ESPECIALLY so!  Videos don’t have to be masterpieces of production.  In fact, the more informal ones tend to do best among viewers these days.  There’s nothing wrong, and perhaps everything right, with recording yourself sitting across the table from your camera,  having a brief, intimate chat with your audience.
  6. Watch spelling and grammar!  This is BIG.  There is probably no faster way to rob yourself of respectful consideration than by having potential clients read a professional blog that is full of misspellings and grammatical inconsistencies.  Take the time to get it right!  Have a dictionary and thesaurus (or the URL links to them) handy while you write.  Keep your wording interesting by making use of synonyms instead of repeating the same terms ad nauseum.  Make sure subjects and verbs agree in tense as well as in singularity/plurality.  Lastly, read and then reread your post before publishing it.  Take the extra few minutes to make sure your presentation is completely professional.  You won’t regret it if you do; you just may if you don’t!

Like it or not, the blog is THE way we communicate across the worldwide web.  Whether we are announcing business promotions, sharing helpful pointers, making new connections or teaching lessons, the blog is the vehicle by which we get it done.  Learning to appreciate the form and giving it the creative respect it requires will go a long way toward achieving success in our online connections and transactions.

Have you any additional tips to offer?  I’d love to hear them!  Please share your ideas in the comments section below!

I think, therefore I blog

Social Media No-Nos

–an observation by Jeanine Vecchiarelli, founder of JayVee Media Link LLC

“My social media profiles have been up for a year! Why do I have only 11 followers on one and 9 on the other?” That was the question I was recently asked when I was hired to perform JayVee Media Link’s Social Media Evaluation for a new client.

The small business that hired me for this job is well known and highly ranked in its local area, so I was interested to see why its social media business plan was falling flat. It didn’t take long for the answer to present itself clearly. On the company’s Twitter profile, there was a mere handful of posts spread at approximately monthly intervals over the year, all of which shared news of upcoming events and service offerings. Over the past year, there was not a single instance of interaction with followers, and not a single indication that any effort had been made to build the company’s following.

I’m sure you already suspect that this businessFacebook page was similarly neglected. But there was one additional thing I saw on that profile that positively chilled me. There was a nine month old post from a prospective client saying, “I want to know more!” The post was never answered. It was never even acknowledged.

Social media is….SOCIAL. Internet marketing for business, large or small, MUST comprise an active, enthusiastic presence on a business’ social media profiles. A continuous effort to build a company’s following using any of the multitude of strategies on the internet, and ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT with a profile’s followers are ABSOLUTE MUSTS. Any business that is not prepared to do the work necessary to build and maintain a positive, interactive online presence, either in house or via the internet marketing services that are offered by social media companies like JayVee Media Link, should understand that it will not see success through that particular avenue of marketing.

Considering that social media marketing is the next big wave for advertising a business’ goods and services, it is strongly recommended that any company looking to expand its reach – even on a local level – learn to integrate successful internet marketing strategies into its business planning.

See also:  We’re Here to Help!

return to main site: JayVee Media Link LLC

Social Media Marketing: Do It Yourself…Or Not

by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

return to main site: JayVee Media Link LLC

Social media marketing tools and opportunities seem to be EVERYWHERE these days.  It’s almost as though every radio and television commercial hawks SOME kind of social media marketing tool.  Everyone is using it, and now it is easier than ever!  All you have to do is…..

And therein lies the rub.  With the availability of all these seemingly simple do it yourself online marketing opportunities, I occasionally find myself on the receiving end of queries regarding just how necessary my services are these days. When asked, I find it especially useful to reframe the issue.  Can anyone use social media for marketing?  Sure.  Is it rocket science?  No.  Theoretically, any person with a reasonable amount of intelligence and good writing skills should do just fine.  So where then is the need for social media managers?

As I see it, there is one main reason for the continuing and growing existence of social media management companies like JayVee Media Link LLC.  TIME.  Time investment; time management.  Sure, there are plenty of other reasons I could rattle off. But in the end, they all funnel right back down to the issue of time.  The fact that marketing through social media avenues is a necessity these days is not debatable.  Merchants who wish to successfully grow their customer base and overall exposure must employ the platform.  But even with the advent of all the new, easy ways to spread one’s message across the worldwide web, the one factor that remains invariable is time investment.

I have frequently witnessed the progress of business owners who take upon themselves the simple but time intensive task of promoting themselves via social media platforms.  Invariably, these brave souls wind up right back at my door.  As social media marketing continues its meteoric rise, it is constantly evolving.  Every day there are new platforms to use, and new ways to use the ones that already exist. A merchant using social media avenues for marketing must stay on top of all these changes. Are new platforms better suited to his/her business needs?  Can new functions boost exposure on the ones he/she is already using?  Then there is the reality of how this marketing platform works.  Online marketing requires consistent engagement.  One must vigilantly seek out and reach out to new contacts who may potentially become new clients.  That does not happen without a regular, high profile presence.  All of which funnels back to the simple question: how much time does a merchant have to devote to social media marketing?

Large corporations generally have the luxury of a hired staff, often a whole department, which is dedicated to marketing on many levels including via social media.  Very often, the same cannot be said of smaller to mid-sized companies.  It is not uncommon in these smaller entities to find that the same person who owns the business is responsible for hiring, firing, inventory oversight, customer relations, all the rest of the tasks that keep the business running smoothly, AND promotion to help it grow.  While still pricey, traditional methods of advertising are much less reliable in today’s market place.  Social media platforms are the undeniable choice for successful promotion.  But again, when everything else is taken into consideration, the time element becomes an issue.

I actually admire those business owners who undertake social media marketing themselves.  But regardless of how driven they may be, there are just so many hours in a day.  Invariably, the time element brings them back to JayVee Media Link LLC.

What are YOUR feelings about the necessity of our industry in the face of all the easy to use social media marketing tools that are proliferating?  How do YOU answer the questions about our continuing existence?

Effective Social Media Marketing: Quality versus Quantity

                                                                                                       by Jeanine Vecchiarelli

In social media marketing today, I see so much emphasis on quantity.  How many Twitter followers?  Facebook fans?  Social media profiles?  And so on.  And then I find myself returning to the very sage advice of some of the biggest social media gurus, who caution against spreading yourself too thinly, and expound on the pitfalls of amassing huge numbers of essentially empty followers/fans.  I can’t help but see the sense in their very astute wisdom.

Just as a multitasking computer works a little less effectively overall with each new task that is introduced, so it goes with the human brain.  Each profile a person has requires a considerable time commitment to keep it current and active, especially if it is being used as an outlet for social media marketing.  As I’ve pointed out in previous posts, the WORST thing a prospective client can see when visiting a merchant’s social media profiles is a neglected post.  While it makes sense to maintain a variety of said profiles, the operative word is MAINTAIN.  Don’t go overboard, for yourself or with your clients if you are in the social media management business.  The more you try to juggle, the less effective each profile will ultimately be, unless you have a large enough staff under you to diligently tend to all the tasks necessary for proper profile maintenance.  Better to concentrate on a smaller number of profiles, specifically targeted to best suit your or your clients’ needs, and to maintain those profiles successfully.

The same holds true for followers and “likes.” Twitter is a great example.  So many automated programs exist these days:  programs to auto follow; auto followback; auto post; auto verify that you yourself are not a bot; etc.  I’ve seen social media managers strive to follow the maximum number of profiles they can daily for their clients – a feat that can really only be accomplished using automated programs which can’t truly screen potential clients effectively regardless of the search parameters that are typed in.  Not to mention the fact that messages they send must of necessity be generic in nature, so recipients can clearly see they are being funneled into a one-size-fits-all situation.  So what good is following 500 people a day when that big number includes potentially many spam accounts, accounts of people who are poor fits as potential clients, accounts where there will never be the necessary interaction, and hence no relationship building, to convert a follower into a customer?

With the permeation of this “whatever it takes to build bigger, faster” attitude in social media marketing, I guess it’s no coincidence that I came upon this excellent blog from Robert M. Caruso, founder/CEO of Bundlepost, one of the most respected social media authorities in existence, as I was collecting my thoughts to create my own.  Robert most eloquently defends his position against the use of the latest automatic tool to cause us all big headaches, True Twit, both from the make-sense side of understanding how a personal touch is necessary to build online relationships with potential clients, and from the perspective of someone who is continually losing time having to prove to this auto-program that he himself is not a bot:   Bundlepost: Reasons Why I Am About Done With True Twit  And yet, while Robert targets True Twit in his blog, much of his reasoning holds true in my opinion for most if not all of the rest of these automated programs.

Best bet?  Take the time to screen profiles AND followers for the proper potential fit for your or your clients’ services.  Better to build a following more slowly and increase chances of conversion than have to ultimately sift through hundreds of unproductive associations just to show a large number of followers.  Not to mention potentially estranging them in a first impression by requiring them to jump through hoops to prove they really are people.

Well, that’s MY take, based on my own observations.  I realize lots of you may well disagree with me.  I welcome your comments, as well as explanations of your own viewpoints.

Social Media No-Nos

–an observation by Jeanine Vecchiarelli, founder of JayVee Media Link LLC

“My social media profiles have been up for a year! Why do I have only 11 followers on one and 9 on the other?” That was the question I was recently asked when I was hired to perform JayVee Media Link’s Social Media Evaluation for a new client.

The small business that hired me for this job is well known and highly ranked in its local area, so I was interested to see why its social media business plan was falling flat. It didn’t take long for the answer to present itself clearly. On the company’s Twitter profile, there was a mere handful of posts spread at approximately monthly intervals over the year, all of which shared news of upcoming events and service offerings. Over the past year, there was not a single instance of interaction with followers, and not a single indication that any effort had been made to build the company’s following.

I’m sure you already suspect that this businessFacebook page was similarly neglected. But there was one additional thing I saw on that profile that positively chilled me. There was a nine month old post from a prospective client saying, “I want to know more!” The post was never answered. It was never even acknowledged.

Social media is….SOCIAL. Internet marketing for business, large or small, MUST comprise an active, enthusiastic presence on a business’ social media profiles. A continuous effort to build a company’s following using any of the multitude of strategies on the internet, and ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT with a profile’s followers are ABSOLUTE MUSTS. Any business that is not prepared to do the work necessary to build and maintain a positive, interactive online presence, either in house or via the internet marketing services that are offered by social media companies like JayVee Media Link, should understand that it will not see success through that particular avenue of marketing.

Considering that social media marketing is the next big wave for advertising a business’ goods and services, it is strongly recommended that any company looking to expand its reach – even on a local level – learn to integrate successful internet marketing strategies into its business planning.

Social Media Partnerships

Social media marketing is a huge undertaking. There’s no doubt about it. For any business that desires social marketing, the task is equivalent to taking on another full time job. The ever growing number of social media businesses like JayVee Media Link underscores the fact that I preach to the choir when I make this claim.

The people I want to reach out to here are the growing number of social media managers who are in the trenches doing their clients’ business marketing day to day. While relieving their clients of the burden of that “second full time job,” the fact that it is SO time consuming, and all-encompassing, can easily overwhelm even the best social media managers. So I offer a word to the wise: DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL ALONE! Stick to what you do best, and partner up with others whose strengths differ from yours. The common tendency, especially at first, is to keep whatever money you make all for yourself. But you are one person, and there are SO MANY facets to social media marketing….and only so many hours in a day. Trying to do it all will most certainly lead to under-delivering for your clients, and burnout for you.

Do you want your social media business to be successful and long lived? Then do the Partner-Up Two Step! 🙂

How do YOU share the workload to stay successful in YOUR social media company?