I apologize for my lateness. I’ve learned so much from two very cool people who have given me amazing insight into this space where there are no established rules. Joselin Mane and Alejandro Reyes, you guys are a few of a handful of people in this space who just “get” it; are willing to try new things, stumble along the way and carve out new paths for the rest of us. Thanks again for allowing me into your world. I strongly encourage everyone to follow Joselin and Alejandro on Twitter. Here are their accounts: Joselin Mane ; Alejandro Reyes
Here is Part IIc of Social Media Success Stories – my interview with Alejandro.
HJ: It looks like you believe that there is a future in display advertising. I was having a conversation with a friend, who says “People’s purchase behaviour will always be based on emotion”. Regardless of what medium you end up using, people will purchase based on what their mindset is at the moment, whether or not it’s planned or impulse. That has not changed regardless of new formats that are introduced into the ad world. Whether you use an SEM, social media or display format, the consumer will get to where they’re intended to go.
AR: Very interesting… Carlos and Lupe talked about behavioural and targetted type of advertising. When they do their ad buys they’ll go off of demographics and they’ll do a split test on a certain product, and see what converts. So , know your demographics and incorporate tests. These guys do split tests 5 to 7 times a day. So banner advertising is all about split testing. Also, Gmail, Yahoo! and Facebook are using profile information to target relevant ads ie if I’m interested in cars, I’ll get served a Mustang ad. It’s more intuitive type of advertising. Before advertising used to get me so upset because they were so irrelevant. But now if I go someone’s Facebook whose interested in knitting, for example, they are probably going to see a knitting ad. So it’s interesting to see ads tied to people’s profiles and interests. I think that’s where advertising is going.
HJ: Having worked at Yahoo!, they understand that exposure from an ad needed to move away from impressions and more towards performance ie click-through (CTR). Taking it one step further, the addition of behavioural targeting provides a better way for the advertiser to increase CTR performance, but it’s also more expensive to do that. And for advertisers, are they willing to pay the cost for the targeted group they are trying to reach? As well, there are not a lot of places that are doing it well except for Yahoo!. Now, social media sites are under pressure to monetize their sites and they’re starting to incorporate more advertising opportunities. Facebook has received backlash because their users were made aware that their profile and behavioural information was being used to target them for advertising purposes. In this sense, it defeats the purpose of why Facebook was launched in the first place. Everybody talks about the inability to monetize a social media site. You’re talking about it from the perspective of creating authenticity, building credibility and selling it on your terms to your friends and followers as opposed to using the tools on the site.
AR: You’re totally right because it worked for me and I think it can work for other people as well. I just think that people can go out there and for people that want to monetize their site, they have to follow a process to get to there. So why not take that timeframe and add value to people’s lives even though it takes you 3 months or 6 months. Go out there and start it. Don’t completely stop your business but do it as a side project simultaneously. Go to Twitter and connect with your audience – they are out there anyway. But test it and see if it’s working for you.
HJ: How much as your traffic grown: now vs. April when you launched?
AR: It’s so funny because people get on me because I don’t really track all that stuff. On Compete.com I grew 17.9% last month. When I started my site (I don’t know what people think of Alexa) I was at 1 million (est) and now I’m at 120,000. I did that really fast. I went from 600,000 to 300,000 to 120,000 in Alexa. And I’ve been so busy with projects lately that I’ve only blogged about once in the last few weeks. If I would’ve blogged the 3 days a week that I started out with, my site would just be crazy right now. And that’s why I’m revamping my blog to really take that traffic to the next level. But you know, earlier on (June) I started seeing 20,000 visitors then it dropped because I had the baby. Then it started to go back up last month and towards the end of this month I’ll boost it again with a big contest to find the best impersonation of me. Because I’m very loud and crazy and very passionate guy and that’s how my videos are. So, I’m going to give people an opportunity to make fun of me and impersonate me and hopefully that contest will go viral and promote the new blog post. And that’s what people have to do: they’ve got to mix it up and do interesting things that are unique and different to get people coming back to their site. Some people get to the point where they’re not posting enough. Eventually they don’t post at all and they abandon the blog. If people love you and you have a good audience, you will be forgiven and you can be right back to where you were if you do some creative, unique things. And that’s what I’ve done with my blog: I’ve mixed things up and made things different and with this impersonation contest I’ll be right back where I am and get that little boost of energy that I need. I’m getting a green screen, an HD camera and I’m going to do produced show-type videos. I just want to take it to the next level and give people what they deserve. I’m also going to do a lot more podcasting.
HJ: You’re actually using a lot of the social tools out there. And for those looking in, it seems like a daunting task. They’re saying, “Why put in the time? But it’s not really all that difficult, is it? Do you have to be tech savvy to do all this stuff”?
AR: No, it’s funny because I do internet marketing all of my offline friends and family think I’m a tech geek and they ask me, “Hey I have this issue with my computer, can you fix it for me?” and I say, “Dude, I’m a marketer, not a tech guru.” I have an i-phone, I have a Macbook Pro and when it comes to those things on the internet: search, Skype and recording an interview like this – I can do that stuff. But one thing about social media is that you have to like people because if you don’t like people it’s NOT going to work for you. If you are a jerk, it’s just gonna be magnified online especially in social media. First, you have to be interested in people. Secondly, you have to be interesting and to do this, you focus on your passion and you‘ll build your brand around your passion. And for me, I’m all about momentum. In the first 30 days from launch, between Monday and Friday and sometimes on Saturday, I was on Twitter for 2-3 hours a day and people may say that’s a lot of time. But what happened after that was that I created so much momentum that other people started talking about me. Now I’ll spend 30-40 minutes a day on Twitter and people are still talking about me; people will still connect with me, message me and will still follow me. So, when you create momentum, you can maintain that momentum. It’s going to cost you something now in terms of your time or it’s going to cost you later on in your business where you didn’t take the time. Your results long term are going to be impacted: your traffic, your conversion, your effectiveness and your influence online. I’m the type of guy who likes to pay for things up front even though it might stink to sacrifice some time. But long term, I believe that if you build it right the first time and your work really hard, opening the lines, you will create so much momentum that you’ll be all over the place on the internet. You can’t argue with 17,000 backlinks to your site. That’s insane and I have friends who are SEOs and they can’t believe it. A 4 month linkbuilding campaign – a “spammy” link building campaign will give you the same results. But this was authentic; it was about connecting and getting in the trenches, working side by side with people. I believe it’ll hurt you in the long run if you’re not willing to take the time out right now, work the extra hours ie get up earlier and go to bed later —- just do some of these things. People will say, “I can’t afford the time”. I’m a believer that you can’t afford NOT to do it right now because your business depends on it. Some people think it will magically happen because you have a Facebook account and a Twitter account that will make you this interesting social media person. It just doesn’t happen that way à you have to go out and be willing to put the work into it.
HJ: This has been really inspiring. And I connected with you because it’s evident you have a lot of value that you have given to so many. There are a lot of small businesses looking for that holy grail. I think part of it is within social media and if you have the right approach and the commitment then anything is possible.
Thanks again Alejandro.