Larry BraunerI learned of a technique called hyper local marketing at the REMarTech real estate marketing symposium back in April.

Savvy real estate agents exhibit their expertise in particular neighborhoods by showcasing their knowledge and influence using blogs, video, Foursquare, Twitter and other social media.

Why Hyper Local Marketing?

Hyper Local Real Estate MarketingResidential real estate buyers are buying the neighborhood as much as they’re buying the property.

There are many real estate agents competing and selling the same properties, but don’t you think, all other things being equal, that buyers will prefer to purchase their homes through top neighborhood experts who are capable of answering their questions and addressing their concerns?

Hyper local marketing has gained enough traction with real estate agents that solutions providers like Pegshot have started selling agents services tailored to real estate hyper local marketing.

Other Small Businesses Can Benefit from Hyper Local Too

I see an opportunity for small businesses, especially retail or restaurants, to team up with an influential neighborhood real estate agent to create a hyper local marketing sensation.

Small local businesses could pursue a hyper local marketing strategy on their own, but working together as a group with the right real estate agent seems like a powerful idea.

Larry BraunerThe Business Development Institute and New York University are hosting a meeting of The Search and Social Leadership Forum in Midtown Manhattan next Thursday to discuss some of the opportunities and issues surrounding the integration of social and search.

The search and social symposium will be attended by top marketing and communications leaders from large brands. It’s my good fortune to have been invited to participate as a social media and SEO evangelist. I will not, however, be speaking at this event.

To learn more about the Search and Social Leadership Forum or sign up, please visit the event’s web page. Hope to see you there.

Larry BraunerI wrote this past week about how Social Media Marketing Impacts SEO.

There are essentially three ways that posting your content in social media can increase your brand’s visibility in search engine result pages:

  1. Your content itself ranks well in searches for your designated keyword phrases.
  2. Your content provides backlinks to other content which as a result performs better in searches.
  3. Your content engages people whose backlinks and online conversation help your content perform better in searches.

Ideally, when you would post your content in social media, all three benefits would be obtained. In practice, sometimes you achieve this objective; many times you do not:

Being virtually everywhere (pun intended) is a powerful strategy, so do not reject key social media venues just because they don’t help you achieve all your social and search objectives.

However, it is desirable to accomplish all three objectives with one action when possible, and here are some tips that can help:

  • Post on Amplify and Posterous, all-in-one blogging, micro-blogging and social bookmarking sites, rank well in search and feature both dofollow links and member interaction. They can also syndicate your content to a variety of social media sites.
  • Your blogs and online social networks, such as Ning sites, that you control can potentially help with all three objectives. It depends on the extent to which they influence both search engines and fellow humans. You can also set them up to syndicate your content.
  • Leave good comments on influential dofollow blogs in your brand’s niche, if you can find any. Most popular high PageRank blogs are nofollow. Always be careful not to spam.

My other blog, Online Social Networking, is dofollow. This blog isn’t — at least not for now. I suggest that you not let that stop you from commenting and subscribing. ;-)

Larry BraunerIn The 4 Elements of Social Media Monetization, I advised that you “take stock of your social media assets and monetize them with suitable products or services.”

Following my own advice, I recognized that my combined expertise, influence and traffic are nearly a perfect fit for marketing business networking sites, groups and events, something that I’ve in fact thought about in passing before.

While my other blog, Online Social Networking, dominates searches related to online networking, it also ranks very high in the search engines for business networking keyword phrases and therefore receives ample business networking traffic, as well.

Considering the business networking traffic potential of my blog, my social media marketing expertise and my increasing online influence, promoting business networking sites, groups and events on the Internet is a sensible way for me to leverage my web presence and the experience that came with building it.

Contact me to learn more about my new business networking marketing and branding service can help you.

Larry BraunerAre you a web consultant or entrepreneur looking for ways you can monetize social media?

If you think about it, there are really only four social media assets that you can package and sell to customers:

  1. Time – Your time and the time of others. Virtual assistants primarily sell time coupled with a moderate level of expertise.
  2. Expertise – Your expertise and others’. I’m including valuable skills and special abilities here with expertise. Consultants sell expertise coupled with time.
  3. Influence – Your influence and others’. Having influence, you can move people to take action and sell endorsements to advertisers.
  4. Traffic – Your web traffic and others’. Sell it to advertisers or use it yourself.

All that you provide as a social media consultant or marketer aggregates these four elements in some way. Considering each an asset, the more of each you have, the more you’re worth and are able to offer your clients.

It follows that if you want to increase your business worth as a social media consultant or marketer, you must increase your inventory of the four basic elements:

  1. Time – You can sub-contract, work more or become more efficient.
  2. Expertise – You can research and learn more or build a team with diverse backgrounds.
  3. Influence – You can brand yourself more or collaborate through strategic alliances and joint ventures.
  4. Traffic – You can add content, increase your influence, refine your SEO, enhance your marketing or, once again, collaborate.

Work to increase your supply of the four basic elements with both short- and long-term objectives in mind. I’m working to increase all four but especially influence and traffic.

Take stock of your social media assets and monetize them with suitable products or services and, if you think you and I can collaborate, let’s talk.

Don’t forget to comment and subscribe. ;-)

Larry BraunerKnow a business that’s hesitating to dive into social media marketing or the web?

I want to share with you a little gem I found in Learning by analogy, an article by Seth Godin, author of the new and very popular Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

By the time there is a case study in your specific industry, it’s going to be way too late for you to catch up.

When a novel opportunity arises, you can’t afford to wait for others to explain it to you. You must seize it and leverage your experience and knowledge from past situations to plod your way through the new one, formidable as it might seem.

Otherwise, your competitors will, and you’ll find yourself behind the curve, unable to catch up. What if in past years your company had been one of the few left that had no phone, copy machine, fax, word processing, computer or email? Try to imagine that.

Getting back to marketing, how will the Yellow Pages help once people no longer let their “fingers do the walking through” them or newspapers, once they are no longer “fit to print?”

That time is very much upon us.  Look around you. Even the Yellow Pages, newspapers and magazines are scrambling to build their presences on the web.

Yes, the time for social media marketing and the web is now — ready or not!

Larry BraunerThe Internet and social media marketing are helping small business owners to level the playing field and compete more favorably with their larger counterparts.

To compete online, a business needs to invest in developing, optimizing and promoting websites. Online advertising costs money and, as I wrote earlier this week, Social Media Marketing is NOT Free either.

However, the cost and risk associated with doing business online are tiny compared with those of running a brick and mortar business, such as a Macy’s or an H&R Block.

Building an offline presence like that of Macy’s or H&R Block could stretch the resources of many large businesses. On the other hand, building a powerful online presence using social media marketing and search should be affordable, even for small businesses.

Offline, less is more, but online, bigger is er — bigger. There’s no limit to how large you can build your web presence.

Now, one little favor — forget the Super Bowl ad you were intending to place for your small business and make the check payable to yours truly. You can expect a stronger return on your investment. ;-)

Larry BraunerIf you and your organization are having difficulty justifying the high cost of social media marketing, consider this new and compelling factor:

Social media is increasingly influencing your visibility in the search engines. Businesses that fall behind in social media marketing could soon start noticing a reduction in their search engine traffic.

I wrote last year in The Long Tail and Social Media and Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization about ways in which your social media marketing can be helped by search engines.

Shortly thereafter, I discussed in The NEW Search Engine Optimization some of the effects that social media marketing can have on your SEO and on your web presence. Now that the topic of social and search is gaining traction, I’m revisiting it, and I present to you a brief summary of social and search issues and benefits.

Dubious Value of Backlinks

The use of social data by search engines isn’t something new. Backlinks can be regarded as a form of social data. Search engines have for many years relied exclusively upon inbound links to evaluate a site’s authority. A well known criterion derived from the analysis of inbound links is Google Page Rank.

Backlinks are, however, of somewhat dubious value, since they often result from non-organic gray- and black-hat link-building techniques, such as link exchange, outright link purchase, blog-comment spam and spam blogs.

Social Media Content Authentic

Social media content is growing exponentially. Social content can be mined for useful data, and it will be. Social media sites and blogs yield data that’s authentic, and which coupled with backlinks, promises to more adequately measure a page’s authority.

Social media data may also enable search engines to return results that are more personalized.

Social Media Generates Backlinks

Not only can data from social media complement backlinks, social media itself can generate valuable backlinks to your website. Your blog posts, your comments on dofollow blogs and your content on dofollow social media sites, such as Amplify and Posterous, can all link back to your website.

However, the potential for backlinks doesn’t end there. Your participation in social media will attract genuine backlinks from within your communities.

Social Media Appears in Search Results

Search engines are indexing more and more social media content. Your content on social media sites appears in search engine results and can receive traffic from them. Your backlinks contained in that content, even if nofollow, permit visitors to click through to your website.

Furthermore, when your content is returned in search engine result pages, it occupies a slot that might have otherwise been occupied by a competitor.

Consider the numerous ways in which social media marketing can help search, and you might find it easier to justify costs, even if you cannot satisfactorily estimate social media ROI.

Larry BraunerSocial media is free, but marketing is not free. Marketing requires work, work demands time and, as the saying goes, time is money.

Since marketing isn’t free, social media marketing can’t be free either.

High Cost of Social MediaThe corporate world recognizes the cost of social media marketing and is overwhelmed with ROI concerns.

Small business owners, on the other hand, tend to remain pretty much in denial and haven’t fully accepted that social media marketing entails a very substantial labor cost.

It is imperative that marketers come to terms with the high cost of social media initiatives and then make a business case for social media marketing by assessing social marketing’s many potential benefits.

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