Avoid the Google Slap | Stop Buying Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

Avoid the Google Slap | Stop Buying Bulk Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

By Jeremy Flinn, Stone Road Media – CMO/COO


Google and Facebook can barely stand to be in the same sentence, let alone work together. However, when we talk about search engine optimization (SEO), your strategy should include efforts on both fronts. In order to rise on Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs), you will have to build a strong social media presence, and as Google’s algorithm for SERP ranking evolves, so too will the way it integrates social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter into the equation. But far too often, personality and company social media pages are far from factual. In fact, Instagram was the first to truly “call out” fake followers when they issued a mass purge of the fictitious followers in December 2014. The result? Top celebrities dropped over 1 Million “followers” overnight!


So where is all this going? Well the top two social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter, have already been waging a war against fake accounts since 2012. Their efforts have not necessarily been in the abrupt sweep of Instagram, but more of special op missions. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they do drop an atomic bomb in the near future on many pages disrupting huge cash flows, and even businesses as a whole.


As much as they would hate to admit it, the social media platforms are taking a page out of Google’s book. When SERP positioning was first realized as a gold mine, many search engine marketers used “black hat” SEO techniques to scream to the top positions, raking in millions. Google quickly reacted by releasing algorithm changes in the early 2000s. The 2011 Panda and 2012 Penguin updates that continue to evolve today, were some of the most influential changes on the internet in the last decade. Those same sort of changes are what the social media platforms are implementing.


Whether talking about Google, Facebook, Twitter, or the lot, the entities have a customer to answer to…the user. If the user has one “pulled over on them,” they begin to distrust the platform. This loses business for the platforms, and thus all the changes.


So how does this effect businesses and marketers? Well, the allure of  bulk buying Facebook likes or followers from places like Fiverr, is very tempting. But although the instant gratification makes you feel warm and fluffy, the long term effect will have you feeling like you were dumped on Prom night. As the social media platforms evolve to sniff out these mostly fictitious accounts, which is what you are buying for $5 per 250, 500, etc., Google is adjusting its algorithm. At some point, if your page is built on a foundation of fake followers or fans, you will fall victim to an algorithm update, and your social media value in Google’s algorithm will be less than zero. Less than zero? Yes, that’s what we like to call getting “sandboxed” by Google. Basically think about it like cutting in line during lunch, and getting caught. The teacher (Google) sends you to the back of the line…not fun, and only time helps you get back toward to food (top of SERPs).


So what do you do? Build organically! No different than creating a powerhouse website in Google ranking system, content is king. Creating unique relevant content on social media will drive your likes, followers, and fans upward. Maybe not 5,000 at a time, but then again what is the point of having 500,000 followers if none of them care about the message you’re sending or business you’re marketing. Don’t buy into the “snake oil” sales pitches on how “likes build more likes.” In the end, it is an engaging community that you want to drive business. At the very least, creating content relevant, sponsored ads in Facebook to grab new followers at a minimal cost is an option.


The Google “Slap” will come soon, and it will come down hard for a lot of celebrities and companies because of the way they have built their social media followings. Those who have done it correctly will benefit the most by being rewarded for their “good behavior.” In the end, the cream always rises to the top.


Jeremy Flinn is an inbound marketing specialist focused on growing online presence for brands and personalities.


Outdoor Industry Marketing | How to Spend your Money Wisely

Outdoor Industry Marketing | All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising

By Jeremy Flinn, COO/CMO – Stone Road Media

“All advertising is marketing, but not all marketing is advertising.”

The statement is a type of logic called transposition. Simply it says if you have advertising then you are marketing, but if you are marketing that does not mean you are advertising. This is actually a good thing for your business!
Well, advertising traditionally cost money. Historically, the large, dominating forces in the outdoor industry were typically the ones with the largest advertising budget. This money was spent on TV, Radio, Print, Trade Shows, and the like. Because of its “free reign,” the budget was not closely monitored for literal Return on Investment (ROI), but simply to make sure a “consistent” flow of business came in.
Today’s “consumer engagement” specialists are evolving at a rapid pace, and those resistant to change will likely be spent faster than their annual advertising budget. No longer is it appropriate to consider advertisers and marketers one in the same.

Advertisers tend to spend money, whereas marketers tend to make money.

Big difference? Absolutely. But that isn’t to say that advertisers don’t have a role in the consumer engagement process. In today’s outdoor industry, TV, radio, and print are very powerful modes of marketing. However, for the first time in history use of internet driven devices exceeded the use of any one of those platforms. In order to succeed in marketing effectively through the internet, it takes a new wave of thinking…organic.
Like the food, organic in the internet has the same base term – natural. Organic internet marketing, often termed Inbound Marketing, reaches the targeted consumer through natural search methods. Those companies stuck in their ways with paid advertising, have no shortcuts here. Research from Google, who currently owns 90% of annual searches, recently showed over 82% of clicks on their Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) were on organic links, with the small balance on those paid “Pay per Clicks.”

It’s all about relevant, unique content. If you create content the user is likely to look for, then the odds of directing them to your website, and subsequently services and products, is astronomically higher. The traditional advertisers that plan to use “available content” from other feeds and blogs will often fall short again, as content is connected to the original source and your posting is simply a “backlink” for the original page.
In the end it’s simple. Embrace the fact that advertising still has its place; but be fully aware that it WILL NOT provide you a complete marketing strategy.

Advertising spends money, marketing makes money….end of story.

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing

Outdoor Industry Marketing Secrets | Using Inbound Marketing Strategies to Exploit Small Business Growth Potential

By Jared Prusia, Sr. Manager of Business Development

It’s no secret that the business world is always changing. What is often current or important one day may be completely irrelevant and outdated the next. In some ways, change sets us back; in our progress, our passions, and even our beliefs. In other ways however, change creates opportunity; the opportunity to try, to fail, and sometimes succeed. The outdoor industry has been seemingly-static for several years, but that is changing faster than you can read this blog. While some are able to sense the inevitable change, very few will be able to optimize it. Adaptive inbound marketing strategies that revolve around consumer demands, and create meaningful brand experiences are the secret to gaining a significant competitive advantage. Through search engine optimization, impactful social media presence and content marketing, your growing business can increase sales, improve customers’ experiences and pave the way for a new generation of outdoor enthusiasts in the midst of change. Time, Content, Less Money, Inbound Marketing | loyal Hunting and Fishing CustomersA key component in the current industry shift is the new generation of outdoorsmen and -women rising up to fill the place of those before them. This generational difference is more significant than ever before for one reason: technology. Understanding how consumers use new technologies everyday provides the roadmap to customer satisfaction. Studies show that about 27% of time spent online is on social networking sites; followed closely by entertainment and shopping. Even in the deer stand or turkey blind, almost every hunter has a cell phone in their pocket where social media, Google, and YouTube are just a click away. Effective inbound marketing strategies use technology to build a relationship with the customer via providing exactly what they are looking for, which is much more meaningful than a commercial on TV or an ad in a magazine. For this reason, it is becoming more critical daily to incorporate inbound marketing because it gets your company or brand in front of potential customers each time they use technology. Undoubtedly, as technology continues to progress and become more integrated into our everyday lives; inbound marketing will also progress and become the undisputed marketing technique in not only the outdoor industry, but every marketplace. It was because of these changes, that Stone Road Media was created. The company is the forefront of inbound marketing in the outdoor industry niche. Recognizing the amazing potential for sales increase, website traffic and overall online presence, our team of dedicated professionals is passionate about helping start-ups, small businesses, and growing companies looking to expand their online footprint. We do this by working closely with clients to create a thriving social media presence, optimize search engine results and produce captivating marketing content. As outdoors enthusiasts, our team understands the industry, and customer needs better than anyone else. So before you throw money away on expensive commercials and ineffective magazine ads, consider where inbound marketing can take you and how Stone Road Media can help you get there. It’s time to #BeDifferent! Jared Prusia is the Sr. Manager of Business Development for Stone Road Media. Soon to possess both B.A. degrees in Management and Entrepreneurial Studies from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Penn., Jared excels in creating effective strategies for outdoor industry businesses, particularly with innovative inbound marketing aspects. Stone Road Media | Sr. Manager of Business Development

Fishing With A Different Rod | Using Inbound Marketing for LOYAL Followers

Part 1 of 2: Attracting NEW Followers

In business, your brand lives or dies by the support of your follower. From “don’t miss” viewers of your show, to those who eat, sleep, and breathe your products, creating an army of loyal followers pump energy into your thriving business. As important as it will be to keep your current loyal followers engaged (Part 2 of this Series), it to create incredible compelling content that is supremely optimized for prospective brand followers.

Fishing With A Different Rod | Using Inbound Marketing for LOYAL Followers

The fact is that for many well-established outdoor brands, appealing to and obtaining new loyal followers requires being different. If you haven’t got someone to become part of your brand family in the last 5 years using traditional outbound marketing methods, then odds are it isn’t going to work over the next 5 years. Whether it’s because they just don’t feel like you offer what they want, or most likely they don’t know what you actually offer, they need to be tended to in a different manner.

This is why inbound marketing has been shown to have a huge return on investment (ROI) for business choosing to think outside the traditional marketing box. Whether increasing viewers of a show or eCommerce purchases, inbound marketing uses the approach of giving the consumer what they want and engaging them with your brand simultaneously. For instance, let’s say you own and operate www.largemouthlunkers.com (it’s a fictitious site), a premier bass fishing website for tips, tactics, and top bass lures. A particular bass fisherman may have no desire come to your site because they think it focuses too much on the size of the bass rather than the experience, even though your site is much more than that. Typical outbound marketing has built a loyal following, but there are millions of bass fishermen that are not following your brand. Using inbound marketing, you create a series of videos teaching kids how to use lures for catching largemouth bass. Using video transcribing, strategic keywords, and social media optimization, the fisherman above stumbles onto one of your videos when searching in Google “teaching grandkids to fish.” After viewing your videos, the fisherman is intrigued with what else you have to offer and begin to cruise the website finding much more relevant content than they thought. You have now created a NEW loyal follower.

Inbound marketing uses existing and new compelling content and puts it in places that NEW followers are coming too. It then strategically guides the visitor through your website, using techniques like funnels and squeeze pages, to get them to the “destination” you desire such as a subscribe list or eCommerce store. Think of it as a very effective and targeted soft sell. You already are giving them what they want (remember they found you!) and now you are giving them more, without irrelevant content or marketing schemes getting in the way.

Not only is it very effective because the content supplied is usually what they were looking for in the first place, because of excellent inbound marketing implementation you sat atop Google for that keyword phrase, but you are also able to measure the effectiveness of the content through analytics. This insight will help guide you as you develop more content for visitors in the same target niche.

Cost –effective, inbound marketing is changing the way businesses operate. The outdoor industry is no different. Ask yourself, are you giving the consumer what they are looking for?

Inbound Marketing for the Outdoor Industry | Stone Road Media

Inbound Marketing for the Outdoor Industry

It’s no secret. No matter how great your product or service is, if you don’t have quality marketing then you won’t have a successful business. For years this meant having a hefty budget. However, with nearly everyone having the internet at the tip of their fingers with smartphones and tablets, the times are changing.

For the outdoor industry, marketing is often the difference between the top products and businesses and those that struggle to break even. For the longest time, only the deepest pockets reached the mass numbers of hunters and fishermen. That time has ended. The traditional marketing techniques of direct mail, TV ads, telemarketing, and other traditional advertisements are weakening every day. Think about it, how much does the average outdoorsman watch targeted TV stations each day? With a typical 8-hour work day, that’s maybe 3-4 hours. But how long are they around an internet device? For most it’s nearly every hour awake!

Inbound marketing uses avenues such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media, blogs, and content optimization to draw potential customers IN to the website, as opposed to reaching out to them. The best part is, this nearly puts all businesses on same level since it doesn’t take money to make it to the top…it just takes knowledge and effort. Know who your customer is and what they want. For instance, if you are selling high-end, fly fishing rods then you wouldn’t necessarily be targeting those who customers who have an interest in catfishing. The best part about inbound marketing is the ability to finely tune your target audience. Do you get that with a TV commercial? Not so much. Although you may be able to pay the extra premium to air during a white-tailed deer hunting show for 30 seconds, how many people got up to get a drink on commercial break? Online marketing using tactics like SEO and search engine marketing (SEM), allows you to out the bait (content) to attract the fish (target consumer).

Though social media, SEO, and SEM are the methods, the true power for inbound marketing is content. Without content there is nothing to use to drive consumers to your site or products. Original outdoor industry content is not that hard to find, but content that is compelling to the target customer can be, and very time consuming at that.

So as you plan your new company, or strategy to reinvigorate your existing company, avoid the pit-falls of standard marketing. Inbound marketing is the future of the outdoor industry; those companies that think outside the box are destined for great things.