Category Archives: Ian Hopkinson

Why You Need Google if You Operate a Business

There is one question that we get asked a lot and its one that we find quite perplexing. The question is, ‘why do I need Google‘? The question should be ‘how can you live without Google if you operate a business’?

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson highlight some of the answers to the above questions and where to go to look for more information on the subject.

 

The Truth is Irrelevant – Reputation Management Online

On the internet Truth is irrelevant: Myth dominates reality.

The internet is everywhere. Over the last two decades it has gone from being a nerdy aspiration to an essential tool for business and pleasure. In 2013, a staggering 2.7 billion people accessed the internet! Critical to the success of the internet is not only its ease of access, but also just how easy it is to create content. Anyone is fairly much free to write anything about any topic they choose and it won’t cost them a cent. They can be as naughty and as nice as they wish, and once posted, for the most part – there isn’t really much that anyone can do to dislodge it.

Reputation is everything. It is so easy for an individual to post hurtful, slanderous, untrue and injurious information about you personally or your company based on nothing more than their deluded imagination. Do something stupid, provide poor customer service, or just annoy the wrong person and suddenly the internet can become a very hostile place.

online reputation management, mad scientist digitalOnline reputation can be destroyed in as little as a few minutes. With the advent of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, anything that grabs a person’s interest for more than a couple of seconds can soon go “viral” and quickly become the dominant meme of the moment. Even if it doesn’t end up going viral, negative comments can quickly race to the top of search engine hits, so that anyone searching for information about you and your products is met with a barrage of condemnation.

This can not only devastate your business, but also your personal life. As many bullies learnt in the playground, sticks and stones only break bones, but names are really hurtful. Humans are social creatures and living life with the “Mark of Cain” is a humiliating and shameful existence.

On the internet Truth is irrelevant: Myth dominates reality.

For example, in 2009 a bushfire devastated many Victorian communities. 173 people died and over 400 were injured. Thousands of businesses were severely impacted. For some, this very real human tragedy meant nothing and a number of businesses reported receiving negative internet reviews that completely ignored the reality of the disaster and the fact that it can take many years to recover from this kind of trauma.

Of course, sometimes it is the truth that is the problem. Remember Mel Gibson’s racist rants? Or those of Michael Richards, the comedian who played Kramer on the TV hit Seinfeld? For both of these stars, severe damage to their reputations was entirely self inflicted and perhaps more damaging for being so.

Being able to protect your good name may feel like a daunting task, but online reputation and search results, can make or break your business. Online Reputation Management (ORM) should be an essential part of your online strategy. Good ORM gives you full control over your online search results. It will counteract negative press, social media attacks, rip off reports, forum posts and other negative search results pertaining to your business or name.

If you have positive top search results for your name or brand, this helps insulate you from attacks and bad press. So for this purpose, ORM should concentrate on building diverse properties to dominate the first page of major search engines with nothing but positive information that is individualized for each and every client.

A good ORM Campaign will help you defend your online name by pushing down the inaccurate and spiteful content in the search engine results. It should also establish your online presence by promoting positive content on hundreds of sources. This will help control and improve the perception of your business or searched name on the World Wide Web.

ORM Campaigns

In reputation management you get what you pay for. For a campaign to be successful, it must be well funded and have the final outcome in sight right from the very beginning. The primary objective of a reputation management campaign is the removal and repositioning of negative content from the front pages of the search engines.

95% of people don’t bother going onto the second page of the search results, so even a moderately successful campaign, that only pushes bad results onto the second page of a Google search will still manage to significantly repair any damage.

Less competent ORM companies will achieve this by simply creating placeholder pages. Done well, this keeps the front pages of the search engines occupied with your brand but these assets are essentially worthless, with no real marketing value.

A superior ORM company will not only repair your online reputation but successfully market your business or personal brand in the process. They will will successfully deal with negative content across multiple blogs, forums, review sites and more. Throughout the campaign, your ORM company should work with you to write positive, accurate and inspiring articles aimed at fortifying your branding clout, announcing and launching new products or serving other marketing purposes.

online reputation management, mad scientist digitalWith the exception of a well considered and strategically timed mea culpa, ORM created content is not written defensively, but is instead focused on advancing the long term interests of the brand, individual, or company. While ORM campaigns should be ongoing, even those of limited duration will create enough effective online content that makes it harder for negative content to drift back up the search engine pages at the conclusion of the campaign.

Which brings us back to Mel Gibson and Michael Richards. Both said some pretty toxic things, and when they did, any Google search of their names was swamped with references to what had been said.

But my guess is that in the intervening years only one of them has hired a competent ORM manager. Why? Simply because, as of the time of this writing, there is no mention of Mel Gibson’s various rants in the first four pages of Google listings and the first overtly negative hit (a Slate article describing him as a “narcissist”) is to be found buried on page five. On the other hand, the second hit for Michael Richards, right there on page one is the very unappealing headline, “Michael Richards Spews Racial Hate – Kramer Racist Rant”.

Of course, I have no way of knowing if Mel Gibson has in fact hired a competent ORM manager, because one of the most important things about ORM is that client privacy is paramount. A good ORM team are visible through their results, but invisible in the lives of the very people that they work so hard to protect.

How to Break Through the Clutter and Establish Your Business Brand with Social Media

8 Steps to Business Brand Social Media Greatness: Be unique, be your authentic self, consult an expert, write a plan, be engaging, be consistent and determined, be in it for the long haul and you’ll be on your way to social media, digital marketing, and business brand success!

digital marketing, social media, business brand, digital marketing expertAs a small or medium size business, your to-do list is likely as long as your arm, if not longer. When it comes to social media and your overall digital marketing, it’s no different. In addition, like any aspect of your business you’ll want to to do it well or not at all. To make an impact in social media you need a firm plan and an expert on your team to help you prioritise. So here’s a checklist to bookmark (heck, even print it out and hang it on your wall!) to check off your progress in transforming your business with social media.

1. Social Media Etiquette

  • Promote others selflessly without expecting anything in return
  • Listen with intent, respond in a timely fashion, and share relevant information preferably to help people
  • Engage regularly with those who share your content

2. Using Social Media

  • Treat Twitter like a conversation – listen, then join it
  • On LinkedIn, ask people you have worked with for recommendations, it helps sometimes to suggest what they could focus on
  • Create a Fan page for your business to build a presence on Facebook

3. Blogging

  • Write regular blog entries relevant and interesting to those who may be your customers or clients
  • Optimise your articles using basic SEO rules
  • Integrate your blog articles into newsletters and other social platforms

4. Social Media Training

  • Be clear on who is going to drive social media in your business and collaborate and train them as part of your ongoing plan
  • Work with a social media and/or digital marketing expert
  • Have a strategic plan for social media and your extended digital marketing efforts

5. Social Media Monitoring

  • Use recommended monitoring tools to track content and engagement results
  • Monitor and track trends and watch, view and analyse data
  • Build tailor made dashboards with your social media expert so you can explain data to  superiors and other colleagues

6. Social Media Listening

  • Set up google alerts for terms, words, and phrases that are directly related to your business
  • Read updates from others in your industry and engage in useful and regular conversations
  • Look at competitors as potential partners and talk to them like you would in any collaborative situation

7. Social Media Engagement

  • Be interesting, unique, relevant, and helpful to your community
  • Share others’ content (in some cases before you even share your own)
  • Interact with the community in a social discussion before pushing industry musings
  • Know when to stop selling if given the opportunity to push your own wares in the first place, it’s a little bit like “only speak when spoken to”

8. Social Media Analysis

  • Focus on driving engagement not just follower numbers
  • Metrics should relate to your higher-level business goals and speak to the core social media strategy
  • Consult your social media expert for meaning, there’s a reason for every statistic (even if a mundane and not particularly helpful one)

Social Media strategy with your business is a journey. Yes you should start with a clear plan, but be prepared to shift tactics once you get some solid empirical data. Don’t be obsessed with analytics however, have fun with it and listen to feedback from your colleagues, friends, partners, and even your competitors – yes shock horror, even your competitors!

The above tips are just the beginning and are obviously very much social media focussed. For further advice on a big picture integrated digital marketing strategy reach out to me

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

What are the benefits of Google Business Photos?

google businessMost of us are familiar with virtual tours in the real estate and hotel industry. Virtual tours of various kinds have been around for years but none of them have been linked to such a dynamic tool for customer, client and B2B relationship building. In providing a visual and practical insight into what makes your business tick, Google Business Photos helps people get to know you quickly and make an impact when it counts.

Customers want to make careful choices, demanding trust and transparency online. There’s no better way to show the real you and build credibility to your business brand.

Google Business Photos have numerous cost effective advantages which help your customers reach you and interact in a way that has not been possible up until now. This makes Google Business Photos a must have tool for all businesses wanting to expand their customer reach.

• As a search tool – this is a paid service so Google boosts your search ranking, making it easier for your customers to find you

• Get a street view update – when Google adds your virtual tour online it also updates the street view, perfect for new businesses and /or recently renovated or changed shop fronts (previously this took 2-3 years to be updated)

• As a marketing and advertising platform – GBP engagement allows you to get creative with the way you present your business to your existing or potential clients, embedding campaigns within the virtual tours or allowing the images and tours to speak for themselves *

• Easy to display, portable and interactive – The virtual tour can be easily displayed on existing websites, social media and mobile applications, providing a dynamic interactive window into your brand and expanding your marketing impact

• Lasting impact – Shots can be online for years which is a great marketing investment OR

• Flexible – Shots can be changed for seasonal venues, updated décor and marketing campaigns. Seasonal shoots are also a great way to keep your business up to date and show customers what’s new

• Showcasing and Events- GBP has the ability to put your event location on the map

• Cost effective – Tours can be embedded at no charge on your website or on Facebook and there is no need to pay bandwidth or hosting fees.

• Engage with your customers – Customers experience an online walkthrough of your space, which is the perfect way to showcase the décor, ambience, products and unique qualities of your business.

• GBP enhances your Google business listing – Your interactive image will appear on Google search results, Google+ and Google Maps, helping you stand out and entice online visitors to have a look at what you have to offer.

• Retain visitors – The impact of your virtual tour and feature photographs will increase the time visitors spend looking at your business more memorable.

How does Google Business Photos work?

Professionally shot photos are taken of your business using high resolution, fisheye and other techniques. All panoramic shots for the Google Business Photos tour will be captured with the latest equipment and technology available. There are no ongoing costs and the virtual tour and feature photographs are hosted for free by Google and available 24×7 to the world.

Marketing images included: Professional copyright free “Point Of Interest” feature photographs are added to your Google+ Local page, and high resolution copies will be supplied to you for free for your use in your own online and offline marketing, such as your website or printed brochures.

 

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

What is Google Business Photos?

Be Found, Be Seen…

Google Business Photos is the seamless evolution of Google Maps and Street View, which allows customers from all over the world to walk around, explore and interact with your business like never before; increasing your Google search ranking in the process!
Once set up, customers can Google your business name or key search terms and a map along with directions, photos and a high quality 360º panoramic virtual tour will appear showcasing the best features of your business. Customers are then able to experience an online walkthrough of your space which is the perfect way to showcase the décor, ambience, products and unique qualities that your place of business has to offer.
The impact of your virtual tour and feature photographs also helps to build trust and connection with your potential and current customers in a more lasting, intimate and personal way, increasing the time visitors spend looking at your business rather than your competitors.

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

mad scientist digital clients, holiday great ocean road

“The big mistake is always to think that human decision making is rational … People are not behaviorally driven by demographics. They are driven by resonant values, metaphors and the emotions these bring.”  -John Marshall Roberts, expert in world view thinking.

When you’re building an online presence (particularly in the consumer market place) you’re doing more than selling a product or service, you’re creating an identity and personality in cyber-space.  It needs to be an intentional orchestration that focuses on the needs, values and desires of your business and the market you serve.

Bussinessman working on a laptop computer during meeting

You’re not meeting your client face-to-face, and so their unconscious measuring, matching and evaluation process of you and your company needs to be fully understood and your whole ‘look and feel’ needs to be consistent.  From the images you utilise and the quality of their production through to the jargon of your content and how easy and straight forward your site is to use – you’re under the microscope.  With the growing rate of audio and video channels of social media marketing, you’re not just in business any more – you’re also in show business now.  Welcome and good luck!

In a few short years we’ve moved from simple ‘online sign-boards’ to full-fledged multi-media productions.  In order to reach high end customers and clients, you need to show up in style and on trend.   To help you, the key players in Mad Scientist’s creative and marketing team come from the entertainment industry, so we’re ideally suited to helping you demonstrate your star quality online.

(Quote source: http://www.marcstoiber.com/2013/11/17/build-futureproof-brand-build-global-expert-network/)

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

Marketing Online? Welcome To Showbiz!

“The big mistake is always to think that human decision making is rational … People are not behaviorally driven by demographics. They are driven by resonant values, metaphors and the emotions these bring.”  -John Marshall Roberts, expert in world view thinking.

When you’re building an online presence (particularly in the consumer market place) you’re doing more than selling a product or service, you’re creating an identity and personality in cyber-space.  It needs to be an intentional orchestration that focuses on the needs, values and desires of your business and the market you serve.

Bussinessman working on a laptop computer during meeting

You’re not meeting your client face-to-face, and so their unconscious measuring, matching and evaluation process of you and your company needs to be fully understood and your whole ‘look and feel’ needs to be consistent.  From the images you utilise and the quality of their production through to the jargon of your content and how easy and straight forward your site is to use – you’re under the microscope.  With the growing rate of audio and video channels of social media marketing, you’re not just in business any more – you’re also in show business now.  Welcome and good luck!

In a few short years we’ve moved from simple ‘online sign-boards’ to full-fledged multi-media productions.  In order to reach high end customers and clients, you need to show up in style and on trend.   To help you, the key players in Mad Scientist’s creative and marketing team come from the entertainment industry, so we’re ideally suited to helping you demonstrate your star quality online.

(Quote source: http://www.marcstoiber.com/2013/11/17/build-futureproof-brand-build-global-expert-network/)

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

Ian Hopkinson

Ian Hopkinson Mad Scientist DigitalThis is me. What you see is what you get. I am passionate about people, connection, technology, and the various revolutionary ways we can now interact with each other and the world. Creating strategies to build products and brands that will improve our lives, create happiness, and solve problems is why I get out of bed every single day.

There are changes taking place in our society – massive shifts, and I want to be at the forefront of the most important chapter in human history since the Industrial Revolution. “Expert problem solver” , “master of thinking outside the square”, and “a Mad Scientist” are just some of the phrases my colleagues have recently used to describe my approach to new business ideas and strategies particularly in the business of Social & Digital Media.

I have wide reaching partners and contacts across the world, particularly in California/United States where I have lived for much of the last 10 years. With connections in my hometown Sydney and my new home base Melbourne I’ve also got Australia well covered. With an interest in business law and over 16 years experience as a recording artist, event promoter, digital marketing consultant, and entrepreneur – I have a diverse range of skill sets and unique influences to draw on.

For more information on all things digital, you know the drill

Part 2 of How to Avoid Digital Marketing and SEO Rip-Offs

Many SEO companies here and overseas that turn over millions of dollars per year, outsource just about all of their services. Most people don’t even think about this but you would be shocked as to how many actually outsource to countries like China, India, Russia and the Philippines. There is nothing wrong with that and the problem isn’t that the work goes outside of the company you have contracted for your SEO work. The problem is the fact that the quality of their work is usually substandard.

In this video, Andrew Radics and Ian Hopkinson discuss another way not to get ripped off when contracting an SEO company for your website.