Three Question Thursday – Andy Beal

When it comes to online reputation management ORM, the first person that comes to my mind is Andy Beal. He has written two books on the subject: Radically Transparent (which he co-authored with Dr. Judy Strauss) and Repped. He also speaks on reputation management quite frequently at professional conferences. I first became interesting in ORM after hearing Andy talk on the subject at Search Engine Strategies in 2006. Andy is no “one-trick pony,” though. He’s also an accomplished photographer, entrepreneur (he started the ORM tracking service Trackur.com), and he heads up the excellent work over at the Marketing Pilgrim website. Let’s check in and see what he’s been up to …

Andy Beal - Author of "Radically Transparent" and "Repped"When it comes to online reputation management (ORM), the first person that comes to my mind is Andy Beal. He has written two books on the subject: Radically Transparent (which he co-authored with Dr. Judy Strauss) and Repped. He also speaks on reputation management quite frequently at professional conferences.  I first became interesting in ORM after hearing Andy talk on the subject at Search Engine Strategies in 2006.

Andy is no “one-trick pony,” though. He’s also an accomplished photographer, entrepreneur (he started the ORM tracking service Trackur.com as well as other businesses), and he heads up the excellent work over at the Marketing Pilgrim website. Let’s check in and see what he’s been up to …

What are you working on right now?

As always, I have many projects I am working on simultaneously. My main focus is on the launch of my new book, Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation. In addition, I’m making sure that Trackur.com has another great year. Lastly, I’m back at the helm of Marketing Pilgrim, so I’m working off my blogging rust. If I get any time left, I’ll hit the courts and work on my tennis game.

What is the one thing you wish you could tell the world about marketing on the web?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to online marketing. When Cover shot of "Repped: 30 Days to a Better Online Reputation" by Andy Bealyou read the latest and great marketing list, video, or infographic, don’t take it as gospel. Consider it a foundation on which you’ll build your own understanding and tactics.

What’s on your “trends” radar for the next 12-24 months we should be paying attention to?

I think location awareness is going to be pretty big. Google Glass, iBeacon, and a host of augmented reality offerings will bring us a new era of location based marketing. Forget QR codes or NFC swiping. Pretty soon, you’ll walk into a store and you’ll receive tailored ads/offers based on your proximity to a product that you have previously purchased, liked, or even tweeted about.

 Thanks, Andy, for sharing with us. I think he absolutely correct about location awareness and technology such as iBeacon. I saw some very interesting applications of beacon technology at the recent iMedia Digital Summit held in Austin this past April. I wonder, though, if the technology might not cross the “creep factor” line with consumers. We’ll know more as the uses of this technology evolve along with best practices.

Three Question Thursday – Michelle Lowery

Michelle Lowery is another person I met at PubCon. (If you’re getting the idea that you can meet some great people at PubCon, that’s because you can!) I just finished up a session in which I mentioned I went to the Defense Language Institute when I was in the Army. Michelle came up to me and introduced herself, telling me she went graduated from DLI during her time in the Air Force. Michelle is one of the very smart people on the Outspoken Media team and is a killer player when it comes to Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends. Let’s read what she has for us …

Michelle LoweryMichelle Lowery is another person I met at PubCon. (If you’re getting the idea that you can meet some great people at PubCon, that’s because you can!) I just finished up a session in which I mentioned I graduated from the Defense Language Institute when I was in the Army. Michelle came up to me and introduced herself, telling me she went graduated from DLI during her time in the Air Force. Michelle is one among the very sharp people on the Outspoken Media team and is a killer player of word games. Let’s read what she has for us …

What are you working on right now?

Outspoken Media is going through a bit of an evolution right now, as last week’s series of blog posts about our organizational development process discussed. We’re positioning ourselves for growth, and continued success. My part in that will entail (among other things) focusing more on content strategy, both for clients and internally, and I’m very excited about it!

What is the one thing you wish you could tell the world about marketing on the web?

Online marketing businesses exist to make money, and people hold down online marketing jobs for the same purpose. But if you make helping people part of your strategy – whether it’s your coworkers, your clients, or your industry colleagues – you open yourself up for much more success than if you only focus your energy on yourself.

What’s on your “trends” radar for the next 12-24 months we should be paying attention to?

Whether it’s Panda or Penguin, or whatever black-and-white animal Google decides to name their next update after (my money’s on Honey Badger), the best way to ride it out is by producing quality content, linking to quality content, and following SEO best practices. You may not have as much control over your inbound links, but if you work on keeping what you can control in good neighborhoods, and avoid the bad ones, you won’t have to worry so much about your sites getting hit.

Thanks, Michelle, for sharing with us. I think she hit the nail on the head regarding “algorithm-proofing” your site. If you concentrate on the basics and don’t take cheap shortcuts you’re more than half-way there.

You can learn more about Michelle and what she’s up to …

Three Question Thursday – Bernadette Hill

Bernadette Hill is a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based recruiter I met late last year while I was poking around for new job opportunities. She heads up TalentTap, which is located in The Candy Factory coworking site. I invited her to jump in on Three Question Thursday because she works in the recruiting business; a field which is very active in social spaces.

Bernadette HillBernadette Hill is a Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based recruiter I met late last year while I was poking around for new job opportunities. She heads up Talent Tap. Her office is located in The Candy Factory coworking site, which is an actual former candy factory renovated into office space. I invited her to jump in on Three Question Thursday because she works in the recruiting business; a field which is very active in social spaces. Let’s read what she has for us …

What are you working on right now?

Building out a professional contracting division for my company, TalentTap, to source experienced freelancers for client projects. We’re interested to hear from experienced programmers, web designers, SEO experts, copywriters and graphic designers!

What is the one thing you wish you could tell the world about marketing on the web?

It’s all about engaging your ideal audience with relevant content to drive the behavior you’re seeking – period.

What’s on your “trends” radar for the next 12-24 months we should be paying attention to?

Facebook becoming a professional hub for economic activity and more meaningful networking.

Thanks, Bernadette, for sharing with us. I have been getting a lot of invitations to connect with people on the BranchOut app on Facebook. Maybe I should check it out.

You can learn more about Bernadette and what she’s up to …

Three Question Thursday – Bonnie Johnson

When I was getting together a local group of social media- and web marketing-savvy people, one of the first I thought of was Bonnie Johnson who coordinates online efforts for Perry Office Plus. PerryOP is a Central Texas-based office supply chain. Not only are they a great local business, they compete quite nicely against the “big guys.”  Bonnie has a good idea of what it takes for SMBs to be successful online and she’s not afraid to “call ’em like she sees ’em.” Let’s read what she has for us …

What are you working on right now?

Our company just recently dove into the promotional products market and it has kept me pretty busy. I’ve found that it’s more than just pens, shirts and mugs (although, those are big sellers — and they work!). It’s about helping clients take an idea for a promotion or event and turn it into an effective sales tool for their business or organization.

The “idea” part is what really fires me up. Look around your desk – you probably have at least one or two promotional products with someone’s logo on them. In such a digital world, I think it’s pretty impressive that these tangible marketing methods still work. And when you can add a QR code to your promo item, you bring the two worlds together!

What is the one thing you wish you could tell the world about marketing on the web?

I sympathize with small business owners – these hard-working, passionate people are often doing the work of a dozen people. And yet, I have a bone to pick with some of them.

You know who you are – you’re the small business owner who has been told by everyone (who’s anyone) that you need to “be on Twitter”. But your time and resources are limited – I get it. You’re stretched thin and an online service promises to automatically post your generic sales pitches and fast facts on Twitter on a regular basis FOR you! It’s like you’re there without being there. How could this be bad, right?

Please stop. I don’t know everything about social media, but I have to believe you are doing more harm to your brand than good. You are creating the social media equivalent of junk mail. I won’t follow, retweet or reply to you, because as far as I’m concerned, you are a robot. And once you burn me with a few incessantly repeated automated sales pitches that take up my valuable Twitter feed space, you will have a hard time getting my attention again.

If you can’t afford 15 minutes, once or twice a day to be a real person online, wait until you have the resources to do so. I know this is harsh and I know you’re just trying to stay on top of the trends. Just stop being a robot. Robots are great for blockbuster movies. Not for social media.

Ok, stepping off the soap box now … whew.

What’s on your “trends” radar for the next 12-24 months we should be paying attention to?

I know it never really went away, but I think email marketing will make a bit of a comeback, but with a focus on being mobile-friendly and creating an immediate response (sign-ups, referrals, downloads, etc). Desktop computers and even laptops are becoming the last place we read email.

Thanks, Bonnie, for sharing with us. I have to agree on her take to full automation of social efforts. It’s very tempting, but really counterproductive.

You can learn more about Bonnie and what she’s up to …

Three Question Thursday – Arienne Holland

I tried to meet Arienne Holland, Communications Director with Raven, at PubCon Vegas 2010 because finding her in the crowd meant being entered in a contest. Unfortunately, I was not unsuccessful. Last year, though, I was lucky enough to participate in Raven’s PubCon Poker Party which Arienne organized. It was a great event – and I didn’t do nearly as badly as I thought I would. Raven hass some great web marketing tools, and Arienne does a great job of helping get the word out about them. Let’s read what she has to share with us …

Arienne HollandI tried to meet Arienne Holland, Communications Director with Raven, at PubCon Vegas 2010 because finding her in the crowd meant being entered in a contest. Unfortunately, I was not successful. Last year, though, I was lucky enough to participate in Raven’s PubCon Poker Party which Arienne organized. It was a great event – and I didn’t do nearly as badly as I thought I would.

Raven has some great web marketing tools, and Arienne does a great job of helping get the word out about them. Let’s read what she has to share with us …

What are you working on right now?

This very moment, I wrapped up a post for Raven’s Internet marketing blog. It’s called “Could marketing be a noble profession?” I asked around earlier today, and most people had strong opinions one way or another. I can’t wait for it to publish and see what other reactions we get.

What is the one thing you wish you could tell the world about marketing on the web?

Marketing on the web goes by a few names – online marketing, Internet marketing, SEO, social media marketing, content marketing – but it’s all marketing. We shouldn’t toss out basic principles of good marketing just because we have an ever-changing format and analytics. Data without analysis is meaningless. Analysis without insight is meaningless. Strive for marketing insight always, whether you’re marketing online or anywhere.

What’s on your “trends” radar for the next 12-24 months we should be paying attention to?

Video, video, video. As smartphones get smarter, I’m observing my non-marketing (i.e., regular people) friends and family sharing more videos than ever where they once would have shared an image or text. Experiment and see what kind of results you get marketing via video.

Also, consider spending your resources producing more than just a messaging video. What about how-to videos? It could be as simple as someone answering common questions on camera? Think of ways to use video for customer service and product development, not just branding.

Thanks, Arienne, for sharing with us. I very much like her take on data with analysis and insight. I think she might enjoy Lee Odden’s book, Optimize which I just finished reading. I also agree with her view of video – it should be a very important tool in any marketer’s toolbox.

You can learn more about Arienne and what she’s up to …

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