So, last week I was running a course in the Lake District for hoteliers. It was one of those courses where I meet the same people several times over a few weeks. Each week I tell them about something, they go away and do it, then come back and report their success, or otherwise.

The topic was ‘pay per click’ – something most had a passing aquaintance with and some already used extensively, but the challenge was to have another go using the ‘best practice’ principles I’d taught them.

I asked them to feedback their results. Predictably most had a reasonable level of success, but one stood out. They’d had overwhelming success. In fact their campaign had generated literally tens of thousands of impressions (not traffic because fortunately their budget restricted the number of visitors) but enough to fill their hotel.

What they’d done (inadvertently as it happens) is a great lesson to us all.

Firstly they’d thought laterally about their keyphrases. Most used the predictable ‘lake district hotels’, ‘weekend in the lakes’, hotel grasmere’ etc , etc. as you might expect, but these folks thought about what people could do at their hotels – eg ‘scrabble holidays’ and variants around similar terms was one such theme.

Now has it happens they used the Google ‘Content Network’ facility (you may know you have the option of having you PPC ads appear on the main google page and/or external sites – those people that support Adsense). One of their ads appeared on Facebook. Unbeknown to them (and me) there is a large community at Facebook interested in online scrabble, and google’s wonderful technology placed their ad in a contextually relevant area which drove masses and masses of interest.

Moral: (as well as thinking laterally about keyphrases) Dont underestimate the power of social networks in your online marketing. These networks – and Facebook is one of several – are the busiest places on the web. Go to and look at the top visited sites in the UK, you’ll see that Facebook, Myspace and Bebo are all in the top 10.

Action point: go to these sites, find out what’s hot on people’s agenda’s and see if you can correlate relevant keyphrases to your own products and services. Use Google Adwords(or Facebook’s advertising services direct) to engage with these people. Also if you go the Facebook ‘groups’ section you’ll see, for example, there are around 14,000 active participants in interior design. What a great place to communicate if this is the business you are in.

We’re trying to ‘package’ a relevant service around this approach as we speak so I’ll keep you posted about what we come up with