Kelsey Brookes is a professional designer, online strategist and writer.
From the late 90s Kelsey managed the multimedia and film courses at the prestigious Computer Graphics College, Sydney and eventually founded the Melbourne chapter of the college.
At the same time, Kelsey was a feature writer for Digital Media World magazine, interviewing subjects from the Australian and overseas film and production industries.
Since 1999 Kelsey has managed thinksync, providing design, online strategy and marketing services to clients around Australia.
While this isn't strictly a Joomla tip, it's certainly something that has helped me more easily track the volume of traffic that comes from specific posts I make on forums and social media sites.
One of the reasons I find this necessary is that I'm very active on multiple forums and often reference my own blog posts when helping others. While it's easy enough to see that a certain amount of traffic is coming from one of these forums, it can be a little tougher to get an idea of which specific discussions are generating interest.
So I use a very simple trick and append my URLs with an identifier. For example, in a recent post on the K2 community forums, in a discussion about tagging, I used my own blog as an example. The URL I gave them was http://thinksync.com.au/blog?utm_source=SBF&utm_medium=forum&utm_campaign=tagging.
I generated this URL by using the Google URL Builder.
Now in Google Analytics, I can look in my campaign view and see 'tagging' appended to any traffic that arrives at my site from that post.
This is great intelligence, helping me to determine which topics are popular and worth spending time on for future posts.
There's a common misconception that many (if not most) online marketers or site owners fall into when attempting to drive business to their website.
Traffic volume is essentially meaningless.
Some so-called AdWords 'Gurus' are the worst of the lot when it comes to overestimating the value of traffic. (don't get me wrong, there are real AdWords gurus)
It isn't helped by the fact that AdWords itself focuses on a CPC (cost per click) payment method. Many internet marketers are concerned predominantly about either the CPC or the CPM (cost per thousand impressions of each ad) of their campaigns.
Both of these methods are about determining value, but taken alone they fail to give an accurate picture about the true value of your traffic.
Let's look at how your campaign could be getting more bang for its buck.
A recent poll on Mashable purported to show that users prefer real books to e-books.
Looking at the poll, it's pretty clear: people overwhelmingly prefer real books to e-books.
However, if you take more than quick glance, it reveals its lack of depth. The question had three choices: prefer books, prefer e-books or happy with both.
On the face of it, those seem like valid questions - so what's missing?
One of the biggest failings many small businesses fall into with Search Engine Marketing is overestimating their name recognition, what could be called 'brand awareness'.
If you have a small business (let's call it "Tom's Bike Parts") in an area with even a reasonable-size population, you can rest assured that no-one knows who you are. That's not to say you won't have a loyal group of customers - you will. That's not to say that the regular foot traffic won't be aware that there's a bike store along their daily route - they might be.
But, except for that group of loyal customers, no-one knows your name.
So why are all your marketing efforts directed at people who are already your customers?
Following up on my last post, I was lucky enough to get a chance to exchange a few emails with Andrew Wilkins, the proprietor of St Pete Brasserie, the restaurant 'saved by social media'.
An affable restauranteur, he was very forthcoming via email, more than willing to share a few of the secrets that brought his business back from the brink.
If you're a small business owner, this advice goes to the core of social media engagement.
This is the kind of story we like to hear.
Andrew Wilkins, the owner of a Florida restaurant has credited Twitter with saving his business.
According to this 13 News story, Wilkins posted on the business' Facebook page that the restaurant was in trouble. Not only did the ensuing patronage allow Wilkins to continue operating, but he needed to reopen a long disused dining room to cope with the influx.
It's a fantastic story, Social Media saves the day. What makes this tale special, however, is that it's not the norm. Businesses all over the globe are attempting to use social media to grow their business without this level of success.
So what did Wilkins do right?
Almost exactly two years ago, dp dialogue posted a punishing article, raking Optus over the coals for their total lack of social media presence during an unfolding outage that affected thousands.
Since that time Optus, and many other major companies along with them, have completely overhauled their communication strategies.
Social media has become such a prominent method for consumers to discuss brands that it is now the case that you cannot afford to be without a strategy for monitoring and responding to your fans and detractors online.
How did Optus change to reflect the need to address customer service socially?
By introducing the 'Like' button, Facebook has effectively created a recommendation engine for the internet.
Since its introduction, the Like button has spread like wildfire throughout the web. But is it the best tool for the job?
There are several 'Like' tools available, in addition to Facebook inherent sharing capability. In this post we take a look at the differences between Liking and Sharing and how to decide which is the right tool for the job.
If there is one hard and fast rule for social media engagement, it's this:
Social media is not your Grandfather's marketing medium. It's not Mad Men. Social media is the over-the-fence conversation, the pub chat, the coffee & cake catch-up.
Real people hate being marketed at. None of us likes TV advertising, we suffer through it to get free content. We don't look at display ads on websites (it's called 'banner blindness') but we put up with the tokyo-city blinkfest to view the sites we like.
Sure, Facebook runs some paid advertising along the side. It's not intrusive, usually contextual and easily ignored. Some apps do push themselves into my newsfeed, but it's easy enough to block that app. Twitter is, for the most part, advertising free.
Today I witnessed a massive two-fer of social media ineptitude, all in the name of trying to turn users into paid advertisers.
One of the biggest weaknesses in the Joomla! content management system is its lack of built-in commenting. Where platforms like Wordpress are forging ahead with powerhouse new features aimed at serious content generation, Joomla! is still mired in its Mambo legacy structure. It is not, out of the box, a blogging platform.
While the shift to core Joomla! embracing MVC has allowed designers to leave behind the uniform look of previous iterations of the platform, Joomla! is still first and foremost a CMS, not a blogging platform.
There have been a raft of commenting solutions available for Joomla!, however I am increasingly of the opinion that without some level of social integration, commenting wastes the potential of wider promotion and engagement. Further, I am absolutely sick to death of having to create new user accounts at every site I visit.
If a site offers single-sign-on through social services I breathe a sigh of relief.
So when a commenting system came along that offered both single-sign-on and social integration, I was utterly thrilled.
That system is Disqus.
JoomlaWorks offer a nice Disqus plugin for Joomla!, but it doesn't integrate with K2 (their content construction) kit very well. I love K2 unashamedly. It allows me look and feel customisation that Joomla itself can't easily match. I can also create multiple templates per view, making it a much simpler publishing option for users who just need to upload one image and K2 will resize it for each view and place it according to the template.
A plugin can't match the level of customisation that I require, so I prefer to integrate the Disqus code manually. Here's how: