The fact of the matter is that whether you have an online business or an offline business, your online marketing efforts are going to be monumentally instrumental in your overall success. It doesn’t matter if you have a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce site, because your customers are going to seek you out on the Internet. And this requires a comprehensive marketing plan.
Normally, you would expect to go to a number of different service providers to get the different online marketing services that you require, but wouldn’t it be easier if you could find a one stop shop instead? That’s precisely the idea behind Automated Social Networking, the social media marketing company that serves as the subject of today’s review. Let’s have a look at who they are and what they have to offer.
Everything Done For You
That’s the premise behind Automated Social Networking. Instead of going to one person for your article marketing, another person for your SEO, and yet another for your Twitter and Facebook management, you get it all done with this “largest turn-key ‘everything done for you’ social media marketing company.”
As you learn from the about page, ASN was founded by Dr. Matthew Loop and Dr. Len Schwartz. Together with a team of market research experts, copywriters, video producers, social media experts, and other related professionals, they aim to offer a comprehensive social media and Internet marketing strategy for your small to medium-sized business. They have worked with companies earning anywhere from $40,000 to $40 million per year.
What Services Are Included?
There are currently three monthly plans being offered by Automated Social Networking, so the level of service provided will depend on your budget. That said, they will have several common elements.
For starters, ASN will work on your social media presence, including the creation and management of profiles across multiple networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Friendfeed, and more. They also do keyword research, write online press releases, submit articles to online directories, create and update your blog, and provide “advanced” SEO. They’ll also produce “optimized” videos and generate overall reports each and every month. This really is about as comprehensive as it gets. There is also a separate reputation management service that you may consider.
What Are Their Credentials?
How well a car mechanic takes care of his own vehicle can sometimes be a good indication as to how good of a car mechanic he is in the first place. And so, when it comes to social media and Internet marketing, you would hope that the service provider is reasonably successful with these endeavors for their own company. So, how does Automated Social Networking fare in this department?
I’m a little apprehensive, to be honest. If you look at the Twitter account, you’ll notice that there are only 65 followers. What’s more, the profile picture (avatar) has not at all been optimized for the square aspect ratio. Similarly, the Facebook page only has 73 “likes” right now. These only represent one part of the equation, but I’d argue they’re an important part of the package. The unpolished look of the YouTube video highlighted on the homepage could speak to the quality of service too.
Now, I don’t claim to be an SEO expert, but it is a good general rule of thumb to give real text for Google to crawl. Why is it, then, that the list of features is an embedded image when it could have just as easily been crawlable text.
How Much Does It Cost?
To be fair, there is no way for me to determine if Automated Social Networking is effective in its social networking and Internet marketing efforts for its clients without using the service myself for several months. That said, it is quite clear that the services are incredibly broad in scope, approaching many key areas for building your online brand presence and directing potential customers in your direction. So, how much does this all cost?
The least expensive plan (“good”) is $397 a month. It includes two videos a month, one press release, two articles, and a slew of other features. When you upgrade to the “better” $797/month plan, you get twice as many videos, press releases and articles, as well as Facebook PPC marketing and submission to over 100 search engines. The top “best” plan is $1197/month, adding Google AdWords and Google Places marketing to the mix.
These may sound expensive, but you are getting a lot with each package. Given my apprenhensions about ASN’s credentials and performance, though, I can’t be quite as confident that you will get the results you’d hope for.