Launching Maine SEO, Search and Social Marketing Consulting Services

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The time has come.

But why the delay? I needed a nudge. A big fat nudge.

But despite that, I have been extremely lucky to have colleagues, friends and family who have pushed me in this direction for years. I have been inspired by too many to list here. Why it has taken so long to get started is because I had always believed that I was better suited working on a bigger team. That still may be the case, but what’s awesome is that I can still do that.

I am thrilled to launch my own business. This is a great opportunity to bridge global search marketing expertise and apply it locally. I have a serious passion for SEO, reputation management and social media marketing, combined with a holistic strategic and tactical perspectives. I have over a decade of marketing experience and a proven track record in strategically defining and implementing successful campaigns.

Enough of the complex marketing-speak – my focus will be to be savvy and insightful. And cause trouble here and there.

Let’s do this.

I Am Only As Good As My Network

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I would like to share this one thought about “sharing expensive knowledge”…

I learned SEO, social and marketing organically, and am continuous student. If it weren’t for many, many people in the SEO community sharing their knowledge and expertise, via blog, time, etc. I know I could not be in the position I am in today. I have never gone to a class – my former employer paid for my first conference,  others I have gone to as a speaker or on my own dime. The SEO and online marketing community is general is very generous with sharing knowledge for free. If anything, sometimes they like to “one up” each other testing different tactics and creative. But they always share.

I can certainly see the view about not wanting to share expensive knowledge. But as someone who does this every day, it’s not only MY knowledge that counts – it’s my community’s knowledge that keeps me moving forward. I am only as good as my network. If we aren’t learning from each other, the community – and I –  will remain stagnant.

Inevitable: twitter.google.com

Yesterday Google Announced its search deal with Twitter that will include tweets in search results.

Google incorporating real-time search of course is not at all shocking. Twitter already secured a search deal with Bing (Facebook was in that deal too), and the impact of up-to-the-minute search results is nothing to sneeze at. Plus, the Twitter search function alone foreshadowed a deal, don’t you think?

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Overexposure vs. The Fear of Obscurity

I was just recently asked to speak at a local, sold out social media event that has been getting a ton of exposure.

Unfortunately, I had to decline. Why? Well, there are a slew of factors really. But first please allow me to indulge in a few thoughts I have been having about social media, networking, productivity and the like.

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A recent post by Carlos Miceli reinforced questions I have been asking myself lately:

What do my social actions say about my productivity?
How are my actions perceived?
Am I wasting my time posting and engaging in useless conversations?
Am I  collaboratively producing and constantly learning?
Are my connections and conversations providing value, not just to me, but to my work AND my network as well?

Interestingly, the same week a very dear colleague and friend Dana Lookadoo also posted an extremely useful column on getting control of your social media life.

All of a sudden a connection between productivity and transparency has been made.

I would like to think that the connections made online and the social blogosphere have been worthwhile. I have seen results. I can attest that there has been valuable information shared, and collaborative projects as well.

But I’ve seen the opposite too. And there are times I feel the urge to participate in time-wasting conversations, as if I needed to be present – not really as a social addiction, more out of fear of becoming invisible. Out of sight, out of mind.

It’s the conflict of overexposure vs. obscurity. Chew on that one.

My takeaway is this: I would rather give when I can, and be known for integrity and follow-through. It’s not about how loud I can be – I’d rather let my connections and work speak for itself.

So back to declining the last-minute offer to speak … initially I felt guilt, I was wasting an opportunity to be in front of colleagues and potential clients. I was letting the organizers, who are also friends of mine, down.  I could have done it, but at what expense? My schedule is packed, my project list never-ending. My family needs me. Oh, yeah, how about sleep? Sleep is good.

So I graciously passed. It’s uncomfortable for not to be out there, in front. I can’t stand to miss the party. But what I can say is this: I am more self-aware, and that will only make me more valuable to the connections I make in the future.

Monica Wright: Certified Viral Marketing Scientist

By Dan Zarrella

What is Viral Marketing Science?

It is most efficacious to look at social and viral marketing on a campaign level, evaluating viral marketing campaigns as a whole instead of each individual component. Viral marketing science is all about figuring out what and how things spread, as opposed to the more general “how communities interact online,” and so the science comes in when various elements are interacting with each other and with the audience.

It is important to note that this does not mean that viral marketing is purely tactical; on the contrary, there is a great deal of strategy present in how these campaigns fit into a brand’s overall marketing mix. The science is in hitting the sweet spot between viral tactical elements and overarching marketing strategy.

The fields viral marketing most commonly draws from include sociology, neurology, statistics, history, psychology (especially evolutionary), economics, biology and memetics. Metaphors and epidemiology models or terms also serve as useful tools when communicating about viral marketing, as these are much more commonly understood.

Much of the information currently available about social and viral marketing is comprised of two distinct types: conjecture-driven and data-driven. The former is the majority, a formulation of advice based on anecdotal evidence and “what seems right.” Work with multivariate testing, combined with research from The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, has shown that the actual data often disproves the conclusions drawn purely from gut-feelings. Recent efforts have focused on creating content that is backed by facts, not feelings, and falls into the data-driven bucket. This is called viral marketing science.

One of the first literary works to expose the potential power of scientific viral marketing was, surprisingly, a work of fiction: Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. In it, the villain creates a biolingusitic virus based on a prototypical, brain-stem related Sumerian language. He uses the virus to practically enslave a large segment of people in a world domination plot.

There is also room for art in viral marketing; the creativity, intuition and improvisation involved in a successful campaign often come from a deep understanding of the data involved. But the brute creative genius most people assume is the core of contagious campaigns can make the entire exercise seem like entirely unpredictable black magic. However, using scientific methods, it is possible for mere mortals to create repeatably viral campaigns.