Skillful Social Media, Relationship Marketing, Social Marketing Strategy, SEO, SEM

Social Media Strategy, Implementation, & Training!

Helping Non-Profits Find The “Social” Sweet Spot!

We all know that nonprofits are understaffed and under resourced. Do you spend a lot of money on social media, SEO, and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)? What do you get in return? Upaya’s skill set has evolved to focus on the overlap between Social Media Marketing (SMM), SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Google’s recent refinements to their search algorithm has made this intersection a very relevant and active space.

Upaya Services works with you to identify your short and long term social media marketing (SMM), search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM) objectives. We manage your SMM, SEO, and SEM for two-three months while we actively measure results, refine our outreach, and provide you with the training/skills and resources necessary to manage your own SMM-SEO-SEM projects.

Social Media Marketing – Optimized social media that shares relevant content across multiple channels.

  • Channel development – we set up your social media assets, optimize for SEO, and show you how to maintain and update your social media.
  • Community activation and growth – we identify the best ways to activate and grow your social media community from better “Tagging”, to “Seeding”, to great content that makes a difference!
  • Content creation and aggregation – we show you how easy it is to create and source compelling content! In the end – it is all about CONTENT!

SEO – Focus on good content that is keyword rich. Drive traffic to website and social media channels from high value sites (high traffic with relevant keywords).

  • Keyword research (using analytics from Google Analytics and AdWords) and optimization. Do you want to compete for keywords that your competitors are willing to pay high prices for or do you want to find the “niche” keywords that you customers are searching for and spend your money more effectively?Quality Content – Content is key! Good content creates engagement, engagement (video, commenting on blogs, sharing/commenting/liking on FB, retweeting, +++) improves SEO.
  • Quality Links – Drive traffic from high volume sites (media outlet, Twitter Hashtags, Huffington Post, LinkedIn Groups) to your digital ecosystem (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, etc).

SEM – Our Google AdWords expertise allows you to maximize your SEM budget, target relevant audiences, and drive traffic to your web channels (web, social media, blog).

  • Keyword research (using analytics from Google Analytics and AdWords) and optimization. Find the”niche” keywords that you customers are searching for.
  • Setup/Reset – we conduct a SEM audit to identify the areas to improve your SEM. We explore what campaigns are most relevant for your short and long term objectives.
  • A/B Testing – after 2-3 months, you know how to maximize your SEM budget.

Why Upaya? The Upaya team has the ability and skillfulness to acquire and create the necessary resources to succeed. We see obstacles as opportunities to perform! We work seamlessly to craft creative solutions to every type problem (and we are good at it!). Most importantly, we are used to making possibilities out of the resources we can acquire and that you have within your organization.

Upaya Services understands the limited resources of non profits: money, human resources, and leadership bandwidth. What a organization can achieve is often limited by these factors. Upaya’s experience with a diverse clientele has given us a unique and “real time” perspective on what works and why (it is always changing!). We do not merely add to your team we multiply the effectiveness of your team and organization.

Give UPAYA a call to schedule a complimentary call to discuss how we can help you! We provide general consults, design and implementation, DIY help and training, or something in between. The Upaya definition of success: 100% satisfaction!

Ben Simon-Thomas
Principal & Founder
Voice: 510-859-4236
Email: bst@upayaservices.com

New Year’s Resolution? More LinkedIn!

LinkedinIn is an evolving space with LOTS of potential!

LinkedIn is becoming increasingly relevant in the target social space.  LinkedIn has made some great improvements: updated profiles, new company pages, the influencer following program, and the endorsements feature. This network is becoming even more valuable.

LinkedIn is fast becoming the destination for all aspects of your professional life, not just the place to look  for a job. Companies and organizations using LinkedIn well are treating LinkedIn much more like Facebook’s Newsfeed: posting more regularly and engaging within relevant communities.

New Year’s Resolution – ACTIVE your self and your business on LINKEDIN today!

All About The “Subject Line”

Here is a great post election article on the subject lines that reaped millions. Imagine if you took a “subject line” lens and applied it to all of our social media messaging. What do I mean? Think of your first few words on FACEBOOK and TWITTER as subject lines!

Take home for social media…

  • Be Bold! Capture Attention
  • 3-6 words is all you have
  • Be Familiar

Read more @ “The subject lines that reaped millions” By Michael Sebastian (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/13273.aspx#)

Staunch social media enthusiasts have rung the death knell for email.

The presidential campaign shows these doomsayers are full of it.

“Most of the $690 million Obama raised online came from fundraising emails,” reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

You might know these emails, which began with overly familiar—some might say creepy—subject lines, such as, “Hey,” or, “Do this for Michelle.”

Turns out, they brought in millions for the campaign.

Obama’s camp shared email figures with Businessweek, including the amount of fundraising dollars each subject line reaped on one day of the campaign (June 26).

They tested a number of email subject lines—a common practice in the campaign—the most successful being, “I will be outspent.” It raked in $2,540,866.

Some of the other top earners that day:

  • “Some scary numbers”— $1,941,379
  • “If you believe in what we’re doing” — $911,806
  • “Last call: Join Michelle and me” — $894,644
  • “Would love to meet you” — $755,425
  • “Do this for Michelle” — $714,147
  • “Change” — $711,543

As The Atlantic Wire noted, the top three earners on June 26 were “guilt-trippers.”

Over the course of the campaign, guilt-inducing subjects lines weren’t the most successful. That honor went to casual introductions. “Hey,” for example, brought in millions of dollars, according toBusinessweek.

The lesson is that a familiar tone beats one that’s more formal.

“The subject lines that worked best were things you might see in your inbox from other people,” Toby Fallsgraff, director of Team Obama’s email staff, told Businessweek.

Is that what you’ve experienced?

By Michael Sebastian | Posted: November 30, 2012

The Art & Science Of The Story

Telling great stories is an art and science… here is a great story about the neural underpinnings of what makes a great story. Although the focus of this video is on giving, identify the elements of a story that illicit a response that promotes engagement is the HOLY GRAIL of social media.

From: “The two ingredients of stories that motivate giving”, By Jeff Brooks.

Here’s a video about story-telling that every fundraisers should see:

Or watch it here on YouTube.

In short, it describes a study that found the most impactful stories have two key elements:

  1. Distress, produces cortisol, which helps us focus attention on the story.
  2. Empathy, which produces oxytocin, which promotes a sense of connection.

And when these things are present, hearers of the story are much more likely to give.

Do your stories have both distress and empathy in them?

Posted by  on 28 November 2012 at 08:04 in Donor Psychology |





Generating New Possibilities With SKILLFUL Social Media.

When planning a specific marketing campaign or implementing a long-term marketing strategy, Upaya Services generates new possibilities that can grow your business. Upaya Services understands the limited resources of small and mid-size business: money, human resources, and management bandwidth. What a small company can achieve is often limited by these factors. Upaya’s experience with a large number of companies has taught us skillful ways to work with limited resources.  We do not merely add to your team we multiply the effectiveness of your team members. Upaya Services radically alters your organization’s possibilities by removing roadblocks by extending the number of people working for your company’s success and by introducing missing skills and resources.

We create SKILLFUL SOCIAL MEDIA!  Your customers stop being merely a demand on the limited resources of your company, they become a supply for nearly endless free resources: promoting and selling your products, discovering new applications and channels, providing support and education to the world. Understanding your target audience — and what they want right now — is the foundation for the design and execution of a great social media campaign. This understanding affords strategies that allow Upaya to connect your messaging with the right audience, at the right time. Your social media campaign is an integral part of your entire marketing outreach, and should be planned accordingly. Our analysis and recommendations are tailored to meet your unique goals and provide insight into current trends, challenges, and opportunities.

Why Upaya? The Upaya team has the ability and skillfulness to acquire and create the necessary resources to succeed. From content creation, to running inspired marketing campaigns, to creating new markets – this team see obstacles as opportunity! We work seamlessly to craft creative solutions to every type problem (and we are good at it!). Most importantly, we are used to making possibilities out of the resources we can acquire and that you have within your organization. We understand that our success depends on our team, effective decision making, and performance based incentives. Opportunities to perform are the resources that we are most interested in. We are driven to succeed and have the greatest possible impact.

Please contact me for a complete proposal. We start with an audit of your existing social media presence including goals/objectives, competitor analysis and market review, ROI analysis and summary with actionable solutions. After we conduct our social media audit, we will have a better idea of the scope of the project and what social media strategies to recommend. We will provide a detailed proposal that outlines our recommendations. ​ The integration and training typically take 4-8 week period. We also offer individual services – cost depends on scope (TBD).

We guarantee that your social media campaign will more than pay for itself (repeat clients, referrals, real time promotions, etc). Give UPAYA a call to schedule a complimentary call to discuss how we can help you use social media more skillfully! We provide general consults, design and implementation, DIY help and training, or something in between. Upaya Services delivers SKILLFUL SOCIAL MEDIA. The Upaya definition of success: your completed project must run under its own power and deliver more than you ever thought possible.

Ben Simon-Thomas

Principal & Founder


Voice: 510-859-4236

Email: bst[@] upayaservices.com

For more information, please visit UPAYA SERVICES (http://upayaservices.com/).

Social Media: Reap the Rewards and Avoid the Risks

I was reading an article in Forbes earlier today about the management of social media risk (for those interested, here’s the link: Forbes on Social Media Management). It was pretty insightful on the potential risks that companies can encounter with social media and the methods currently available to counter those risks. These risks can be especially devastating for companies in highly regulated sectors such as health care, finance, or insurance. The article discusses social media management systems that can help mitigate these risks. Here are  three tips to use to minimize your company’s social media risk:

  • Have a second person review all posts. This is a good idea for all external communication, not just social media
  • Monitor social media sentiment. This can be done the “old school” way by simply searching for and reading what people write about you. However, for larger businesses this might not be possible so using a platform like SocialVolt would be helpful
  • Plan your posts in advance. This gives you time to reflect and determine if you want to edit your post for any reason, including controversy or improvement.

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Why Super Bowl Commercials Are Bad Advertising

This past week, I had an interesting discussion with my friend and fellow social media consultant Mike Oradini about the effectiveness of Super Bowl commercials and the future of advertising. For the price that companies are paying (reports show a $3.5 million price tag for a 30 second spot), they better be at least breaking even on their investment.

During our discussion, Mike brought up the trend of ads going from a “one to many” approach to a “one to one” approach. What this means is that while advertising has traditionally been done on a mass media basis, the trend is for advertising to become more personal. This means a switch from full page newspaper advertisements or TV ads to specific Facebook or Google ads.

Let’s do some math. If you are a company that advertises at the Super Bowl, lets say Ford, you are spending $3.5 million, even if you only have one, 30 second commercial. Now, it was reported that approximately 110 million people watched the Super Bowl. Of that 110 million person number, we can exclude about 30 million of them because they are children or college kids who won’t be buying a car. Now we’re down to 80 million. We can also exclude another 60 million, because at least 75% of the audience will not be in the market for buying a new car. This brings us down to 20 million. Of this group, maybe (and this is being generous), there are 2 million potential Ford customers. Of this group, a conversion rate of 1% or 20,000 purchases as a direct result of the ad are possible.

Now, with $3.5 million, you could run an enormously extensive online advertising campaign. For example, you could allocate $1 million for Google ads, running with keywords associated with Ford car purchases. These customers are actively looking to buy cars. Another $1 million can be used for Facebook ads, targeting people who are interested in American-made vehicles. At an average of $2/click for Google and $1/click for Facebook, you would be able to get 1.5 million potential customers to come to your site. And yes, I know the argument for Super Bowl ads includes a “brand awareness” boost. For this purpose, lets allocate the remaining $1.5 million in the budget for banner ads across the Internet (particularly on relevant sites, like car review and car magazine sites). From these banner ads, for argument’s sake, lets say another 500,000 potential customers come to your site. That brings your potential customer number to 2 million, equivalent to the Super Bowl ad number. But we forgot one key factor; conversion rate. Since your online ads are targeting Internet users who are actively looking for, or likely to buy a vehicle, your conversion rate will logically be higher. Even with a conversion rate of just 2%, you are already selling DOUBLE the number of cars you would have been able to sell from the Super Bowl ad.

Obviously the numbers used in the preceding paragraphs are a bit rough but the message is still important. Over time, advertising will start to shift towards this “personalized” direction. However, now is the time to be ahead of the game and tailor your advertising message to the group you are marketing to. It is simply common sense. If you were a big Green Bay Packers fan and there were 2 different companies advertising the same car to you: one using New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning in the commercial and the other using Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the commercial, which are you more likely to pay attention to?

Do you have any thoughts on the future of advertising? Let us know in the comments below!

Mark Zuckerberg IPO Letter – Lessons Learned

By now you’ve probably heard that Facebook has filed for its IPO, in a valuation range between $75-100 BILLION dollars. Very amazing stuff. I am personally in awe of what Facebook has accomplished in such a short period of time, and quite honestly, I believe that it has lots of room to grow in the foreseeable future.

Besides all that, what can you learn from Facebook’s IPO? Well, if you haven’t done so yet, I highly recommend that you read the letter that Mark Zuckerberg (founder and CEO of Facebook) included in the IPO filing. You can find it here: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/mark-zuckerberg%E2%80%99s-ipo-letter–why-facebook-exists.html

From Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter, there are some very important lessons to be learned. First of all, check out this particular quote from the letter:

“As people share more, they have access to more opinions from the people they trust about the products and services they use. This makes it easier to discover the best products and improve the quality and efficiency of their lives.”

As I’ve been saying for quite awhile, Facebook (and the Internet in general) are moving the world closer and closer to a tight knit community, similar to the kinds that were found in small towns years and years ago. This means that if your business doesn’t deliver the service that you promise, people will find out quickly and you WILL go out of business. For this reason, you absolutely must focus on quality and treat all of your customers as individuals, rather than just a paycheck. The empowerment of the “little guy” means that even one dissatisfied user or customer can wreck havoc on the state of your company. But…to put a positive spin on it, a satisfied customer can become the best salesman (or saleswoman) your company could ever dream of having.

Another quote: “Hacker culture is also extremely open and meritocratic. Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people.”

This has valuable connotations for any business, not just a rapidly growing tech start-up. If there’s one thing you can learn from Facebook’s business culture, it is that building something valuable and great should be the primary goal of your organization. For the business leader’s out there, this means making decisions based on customer value, not internal politics.

One last quote: “Building great things means taking risks. This can be scary and prevents most companies from doing the bold things they should. However, in a world that’s changing so quickly, you’re guaranteed to fail if you don’t take any risks. We have another saying: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.” We encourage everyone to make bold decisions, even if that means being wrong some of the time.”

As businesses grow, they tend to reduce the number of risks they take. The opposite needs to happen. As a business leader, you MUST be willing to try new things and be bold. Opportunities are out there for the taking but only the bold will seize them.

I could go on for hours with lessons from this letter but I’ll end it there. Let us know what you think about Mr. Zuckerberg’s letter and the Facebook IPO in the comments below!


Twitter – The Ultimate Customer Service Tool

If you’ve been following our blog for awhile, you know I’m a big fan of Twitter for marketing and customer outreach. What I didn’t know until yesterday is that Twitter can be the ultimate customer service tool.


I was having trouble with my company’s Hootsuite account yesterday due to an improper login. First, I checked their Help documents but didn’t get too much out of them. However, I noticed that they said to contact them via Twitter if you need more help. So, I decided to Tweet my issue @ them and quickly got a response and assistance. Hootsuite’s customer service via Twitter was great and solved the problem quickly and efficiently.


My theory about Twitter’s customer service effectiveness is that it makes the company’s customer service record public and viewable to ALL. This includes other customers, investors, reporters, etc. When the spotlight is on a company to do well, they will usually perform. This holds great lessons for all businesses. When you provide great customer service, and the world can see it, your reputation as a company gets improved. Customer service via Twitter is another opportunity for company branding and should not be missed.
I wouldn’t recommend putting customer service entirely through Twitter. Some people just feel more comfortable talking through email or on the phone so those options should be available as well. But showcasing Twitter for customer service will continue to build your social media assets.


Do you have any social media uses that are outside the box? Let us know in the comments below!

Numbers Don’t Lie…Or Do They?

Happy Monday everyone! Since it’s a Monday and its snowing outside (at least where I am – Maryland), I’m in the mood to take a moment to talk about a trend in social media, particularly Facebook, that is a little disturbing to me. This trend is the emphasis on the number of Likes on a Facebook page.

Everyone these days seems obsessed with getting to 1,000, 10,000 or some predetermined number of Likes on their Facebook page. In itself, this motivation is not a bad thing. A large number of Likes indicates a thriving community of “fans”. The more Likes, the larger your reach (in theory).

The problem comes when people start trying to use shortcuts to attain a high number of Likes on their page. Luckily, with the new Facebook Insights (detailed Insights blog post coming next week), it has become easier to see that shortcuts don’t result in any net benefits to your business.

The particular shortcut I am referring to is the use of “Robots” to increase Likes on a page. These Robots will Like your page (to vastly increase the overall number of Likes) but then don’t give you any benefit since they are not customers, users, or otherwise engaged fans.

Below are 2 Insight screenshots. Take a look and see for yourself which company is doing a better job of Facebook marketing:

Company 1 (3010 Total Likes):

Company 1 Insights

Company 2 (1028 Total Likes):

Company 2 Insights


If you answered that Company 2 was doing a better job at Facebook Marketing, you are 100% correct. With the new Insights, the key metric to pay attention to is “Weekly Total Reach”. This metric means the number of people who saw your updates on their Newsfeed during the particular time period. When people see your updates and posts, it increases brand awareness and drives customer loyalty and sales.

From these Insights, it is very obvious that Company 1 has resorted to using Robots. Despite having nearly 3 times as many total Likes as Company 2, Company 1 has about one fifth the Weekly Total Reach. They were only able to reach 5.4% of their community. This, for lack of a better word, is pathetic. In contrast, Company 2 is engaged in organic growth and was able to reach 58.6% of their community this past week.

I haven’t even gotten to the fact that Robots are against Facebook’s policy and can get your account suspended. So, to sum it up, Robots don’t improve your social media and they can get your account suspended. Oh, and you have to pay a company that specializes in Robots to Like your page.

Its a LOSE, LOSE, LOSE situation! A better solution is to focus on good old fashioned content to engage your existing community and promote organic growth. If you absolutely must increase Likes, a good way to do it is through Facebook ads, which can be targeted to the appropriate audience and are very efficient. Be honest and SKILLFUL with your Facebook marketing and the sky is the limit!

Have your own comments, questions, or ideas about Facebook, Robots, the weather, or anything else? Comment below and we’ll get back to you!


P.S. Company 2 is an Upaya Services client. Want similar results? Contact Us today!

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