Sharing Is More Real
Sharing Is More Real
by

These are pretty crazy times that we are marketing, or attempting to market, in. And some are doing it better than others. As a kid growing up in mid-state Ohio, I worked part time at a “Filling Station.” That is what gas stations were called back then, at least in my hometown. Part of the routine was to fill up the customer’s gas tank, check the oil and wash the windows, take their cash and count back the change.

By the time I was driving, the first “self-serve” gas station came to town. One-by-one the “filling stations” disappeared and were replaced by the modern day convenience store. This approach greatly increased the transactions-per-customer and gas station owners got richer if they adjusted with the times. No one asked any of us if that was OK, it just changed. I think things are changing again.

We Learned As We Went Along the Way

I have been doing a lot of research lately on Google + for our small business, which led me to draft this post. I am worried that the landscape of search will vastly change in the ensuing months. It occurred to me how much things have changed in just the last few of years. When we first started a local neighborhood blog with inbound links back to our apartment web site, we had no idea what that did. We stumbled upon the concept of inbound marketing by sheer chance.  The issue then was that there really wasn’t an efficient way to share or validate your ideas. There were some blogs then, but nothing like today, and many bloggers had yet to establish their turf.

We experimented with this newfound phenomena by writing more articles when we needed more leasing leads and sure enough, the more content we produced, the more web traffic we got and the more prospects walked in the door. It was magic! Today we no longer need to wonder about our assumptions, there is lightening-fast data within a few keystrokes and people are sharing things they are learning at every turn.

The Floor is Moving Again

“Times they are a changing,” is a somewhat worn out phrase, but they are. Jon Mitchell penned a disturbing article titled Google + Is Going to Mess Up the Internet, over at ReadWriteWeb.  The premise of the article is that “shared” content may wind up ranking higher than original content. While that isn’t completely confirmed, the pundits-at-large and in-the-know seem to agree that Google + will have a huge impact on search.

Rohn Jay Miller from Social Media Today sums things up in an article titled Welcome to Web 3.0; The Contextual Web:

The lesson we each wished we knew back in 2002 was “it’s all about the eyeballs.” Engage the eyeballs or direct them to where they should be engaged do it on a massive scale, and the rewards are billions and billions of dollars.  If I’d only known I wouldn’t have sold the Apple stock and I wouldn’t have scoffed at GOOG at $500 a share.

Now in 2012 it feels like we’re on the middle of a massive transition on the Internet.  We see the order of power changing, but it’s not quite clear why.  Things are happening—smartphones, apps, the Internet of Things, and of course social networks.

Does That Mean the Biggest Sharer Wins?

Unlike producing more content to create a greater search result to sell more stuff, sharing and getting someone else to share your stuff is much more challenging. It is more real. You have to be real. We have hardly convinced our clients that producing quality content is the answer and now they have to share too and be real?

It is a basket-load of work to get your employees to share and to interact on line, yet that may be the only real answer to this coming change. We all know that the few automated tools we have used to skip a step, such as posting to multiple platforms at the same time with the same message only retard the outcome. People aren’t tricked, they know, and click through rates subside with automation.

What are you doing to get in front of the sharing curve?

Have You Registered For Explore Dallas-Fort Worth?

Don’t miss a day of intensive learning with some of the leading thinkers and practitioners in the digital marketing and social media marketing space. Copyblogger’s Brian Clark, Edison Research’s Tom Webster, Edelman Digital’s Zena Weist and more headline one of the leading digital and social media marketing events of 2012, February 17 in Dallas, Texas! DON’T WAIT TO REGISTER! The first 100 to do so get an incredible discount! Reserve your seat today!

About the Author

Eric Brown
Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.
  • Hi Eric,

    I agree with your thoughts. I will find simply those are rare individuals who possess that willingness in molding an helping other folks. They devote amount of time in sharing their skills unselfishly. They have that essentials desire for service.

  • Glad you could help detroit with the urbane apartments…..Have a great day on purpose! Go Tigers.

  • Anonymous

    I know so many bloggers who produce great content but it doesn’t get shared in large volumes. Big branded blogs receive so much attention through social media channels that it is very easy to miss the smaller publishers with equally big ideas.

  • I agree with Matthew. Provide great content. In my opinion, sometimes that’s something I’ve written and sometimes it’s a post like this. Balance it out and put out information you think people will truly appreciate reading (even if it is a link to someone else’s words). Is that a naive philosophy?

    • Hi Marnie, Thank you for stopping by. Your comment, and Matt’s aren’t a naive philosophy, and as with all marketing, do something remarkable and you get the prize. That said, there is so much noise in the space that great content alone may not be enough. 

       

  • Anonymous

    There’s one solution… provide great content.

    • That’s a solution. So is buying a Learjet, and running a banner behind it. The question becomes “What’s the ROI?”

      Let’s say you’re a plumber, and you happen to get a few leads per month off your website. Google suddenly changes the landscape, and now your site is beginning to slip.

      Do you:

      A) spend several hours every month trying to write engaging and thought-provoking content about plumbing and fixtures?

      B) hire someone to write several compelling posts per month about plumbing and fixtures?

      or C) hire some company that will create Google+ accounts and do enough sharing of viral stuff that it will point back to your site?

      Honestly — the upshot of all of this is the death of the small-business blog. Why bother? Create a Google+ account, use IT as your blog, post about whatever, and share it.

      Same ROI as a company blog, less hosting hassles, and more juice.

      • Anonymous

        At first glance, they all seem like viable options depending on the type of company you have. If you’re one with a really small budget and “get your hands dirty” mentality, like many plumbers are, then option A is going to seem more valid. If, like me, you think the system of economy works best when everyone is playing their specific role, B might work best. But I think that in the long run, Google will be able to (similar to giving less credit to those that duplicate posts) weed out those accounts made only to prop up search results for others.
        I have no idea how… Yelp’s got a pretty good system going with trolls creating accounts simply to bash on the boards. Maybe it’s a community policed system like that. I mean, Google is doing this only to help Google +, right? And does the system of allowing organizations to manipulate G+ help G+ in any way? If anything, it completely bastardizes the entire community… something for which I’m certain those much-smarter-at-the-intertubes-than-me people have already considered and created a solution.

        You are right about company blogs, though. Buh bye.

        • To clarify:  Company blogs that were started to enhance SEO are toast.

          Those that actually engage and build communities, trust and loyalty?  Spot on.

  • Anonymous

    There’s one solution… provide great content.

  • Eric, I agree with your entire line of thinking, but I’m growing dark on the conclusion. I can only speak from my anecdotal experience, but the myriad of accounts that keep adding me to circles on Google Plus are not people I know, and in my humble role as a BS-account sniffer, I fear most of them are created to poison the SEO pool.

    The fight order whether Google was going to require “real person names” for accounts was about the authenticity of the sharing. However, the Violet Blues and others who operate under pen names rightfully fought back for their right to exist and thrive with privacy intact. That, in my opinion, was a big blow to Google’s plans to accelerate the Sharing emphasis in G+.

    It’s a pickle.

    • Good Morning Ike, Thank you for weighing in. I have heard before that marketers tend to screw up the pie, or something like that. That said, irrespective of how business may already be gaming Google +, in your opinion, is it a viable marketing option for small business?

      • It *could* be viable, but not as a primary driver. Getting on Google Plus isn’t going to do a thing for a company that doesn’t have an established web presence already. Beyond that, it’s a function of how much business you’re getting from organic search.
        Look at your revenues.

        Segment out your business from “new leads.”

        Factor in your typical loyalty rate for new leads.

        Also take into account how much you spend on new lead generation (if indeed you do.)
        Now, if you’re in the kind of business where you are reliant on people finding you, this could be a big deal. I’m thinking mechanics or heating and air companies.
        I’m just saying the ROI is pretty easy to calculate, but the X factor is how much time you’re going to have to invest, and will there be enough fresh content to generate/share? A heating/air company might have a monthly newsletter about tips and reminders for cleaning and air quality, but generating the kind of “sharing churn” that will out-duel the coming wave of PlusSpamSEO might be more trouble than it’s worth. (which means the ROI of doing it yourself is LESS than the cost of hiring a black hat PlusSpamSEO weasel to game it for you.)

  • Eric, I agree with your entire line of thinking, but I’m growing dark on the conclusion. I can only speak from my anecdotal experience, but the myriad of accounts that keep adding me to circles on Google Plus are not people I know, and in my humble role as a BS-account sniffer, I fear most of them are created to poison the SEO pool.

    The fight order whether Google was going to require “real person names” for accounts was about the authenticity of the sharing. However, the Violet Blues and others who operate under pen names rightfully fought back for their right to exist and thrive with privacy intact. That, in my opinion, was a big blow to Google’s plans to accelerate the Sharing emphasis in G+.

    It’s a pickle.

  • Pingback: Weekly Link Round Up – 01-13-12 | Social Media Marketing()

  • Great!