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Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

If you’re an experienced online marketer, you know the old saying of; “If you build it, they will come”, is not a reality. You will always need to be making an effort to build your brand online if you want to see significant results. Simply having a great website with lots of good content isn’t enough.

Social media offers an incredible opportunity to increase your online presence, website traffic, and ultimately your sales (without the costs of online marketing methods such as pay-per-click advertising). However, making your social media efforts produce results requires ongoing effort, and you should be prepared to set aside at least an hour a day to actively participate in your chosen social media activities.

Your social media efforts should be focused on encouraging others to share in positive interactions with your brand, such as ‘Liking’ you on Facebook, and other sharing methods such as ‘Repinning’ your products on Pinterest. Keep in mind that the more the search engines see others interacting with your brand via social media, the more favorably they will view your site.

Social media can also provide more results for your brand in search results. For example, when someone searches for your company name, they could find your website and your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your blog, and more. This can be very valuable in gaining new business from people who aren’t familiar with your brand. Searches for your brand name that result in links to your website and your social media profiles can go a long way in instilling trust in your company with potential new customers. This can also result in more ‘Likes’ on Facebook, ‘Follows’ on Twitter, and other valuable social media interactions. All of which further shares your brand with others and tells the search engines that people are talking about you, which will ultimately help your search engine rankings.

The more you participate in social media, the more places there are for people to discover your brand, visit your site, and possibly become new customers. If social media isn’t already a key element in your online marketing mix – it needs to be.

What are you doing on a daily basis to increase your online presence?

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As more businesses turn to social media marketing to grow their brands and increase sales, they’re quickly learning that real results require a significant investment of time. As a rule, those who commit the most time are the most likely to be successful.

According to the Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by Michael Stelzner, data shows that time invested in social media increases with experience. It has been found that new participants of social media spend about 2 hours a week, those that that have been involved for a few months 10 hours a week, and those that have been at it a long time 20 or more hours a week.

The data implies that after gaining experience with social media marketing, it was found to be effective and worth the investment of additional time. It also implies that new entrants into social media underestimated the amount of time required to develop and maintain a successful social media presence when they first started out.

According to the Social Media Marketing Report, experience with social media marketing leads to greater time allocated for development and participation. The report’s findings are as follows:

  • 64% of marketers are using social media for 5 hours or more each week
  • 39% for 10 or more hours weekly
  • 9.6% spend more than 20 hours each week with social media

Couple the above figures with the fact that 72% of Stelzner’s 900 respondents had only been using social media for a few months or less, which reinforces that more experience with the medium leads to greater time allocated.

Hopefully these findings will help businesses to better understand social media as a cost-effective marketing tool, and of the investment of time required to make it a success.

More information on the Social Media Marketing Industry Report
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So why would anyone want to take the time to participate in social bookmarking? If you’re not sure of the answer – reread the title of this blog post. Social bookmarking sites can introduce your online content to others seeking what you have to offer, increase your site traffic, and provide valuable backlinks to help increase your rankings in the search engines.

Social bookmarking sites help search engines to better understand how a site is perceived by others through the use of user generated tags and other classification systems. Also, social bookmarks can help both users and search engines find your online content as soon as it’s published.

Search engines regularly monitor social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, and Mixx, to help them with their job in numerous ways such as:

  • Faster Indexing of Fresh Content: Users of social bookmarking often bookmark web pages long before a search engine can find it on their own, which helps search engines to find and index fresh content quicker.
  • Deeper Indexing: Many web pages bookmarked via social bookmarks are pages deeper within sites that search engines may not be able to access as easily.
  • External Meta Data: Users who social bookmark web pages usually tag their bookmarks with keywords and descriptions, which help the search engines to better understand and rank content in the same way your own on-site Meta tags work.
  • Categorization: Like user tagging, social bookmarking categorization can better define the subject of a web page to help search engines categorize and rank content in their search results.
  • Measuring Content Quality: Ultimately, the more users that social bookmark a web page, the more quality and relevance the content is perceived to have. A web page that has been social bookmarked across multiple social bookmarking services by multiple users is considered to be more of an authority than a web page that only has a few bookmarks by the same user.
  • Number of Votes: Most social bookmarking sites have a form of voting for users to rate content. The more unique user votes a web page receives on StumbleUpon or Digg for example, the more useful the content is perceived to be by both users and search engines.

Here is a list of social bookmarking services that we recommend using to bookmark your own online content:

Not only should you social bookmark your own content – you should encourage others to do the same. For example, if you think this post is of benefit and worth sharing with others, please use the social bookmarking button below. We would definitely appreciate it.

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Since the New Year is still young, it isn’t too late to add being more social to your list of New Year’s resolutions. Sure, you may not be able to devote endless hours a day to social media like the major players (or even an hour for that matter). However, even a little effort can pay off in the long-term with increased brand recognition and web site traffic.

The following Social Media Marketing checklist covers a minimum of what you should be doing if you’re serious about growing your online fame or web site traffic with social media.

Your  Social Media Marketing plan for 2009 should include:

  • Developing or improving your existing profiles on major social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
  • Working at improving the opt-in subscription rates for your RSS feeds, email newsletters, etc. What can you do differently to get people to take action on your valuable info and share it with others?
  • Social bookmark your content until you break your mouse. Take advantage of social bookmaking sites such as stumbleupon.com, delicious and reddit.
  • Add the creation of more user-generated content on your blogs and web sites. Whether people comment on your blog or leave product reviews on your site – it’s more content that can help you rank higher in the search engines.
  • Create video and graphic content. This can include how-to videos for using your products on YouTube or photo galleries of your featured work or products on flickr.
  • Use syndicated RSS feeds, whenever and wherever possible on your blogs, web sites, or other social media applications. Get viral.
  • Ping! Are you using pinging services such as pingomatic.com to notify important sites such as Google Blog Search and Technorati that you have new content for them to index and share with others?
  • Optimize your social media marketing efforts for the search engines. Keep in mind optimizing doesn’t have to be a major event – simply add keyword rich text content your blog posts, YouTube video titles, and tweets on Twitter.

By diligently applying the above checklist to your online marketing efforts, you’re sure to grow your web site traffic – and ultimately your brand over time.

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The idea of social media marketing is often embraced with mixed perceptions. Maybe this is due in part the “marketing” word, which conjurors up a lot of wrong ideas as to what social media is really all about. So from now on, think of your social media marketing efforts as “social media optimization”. Taking this view will not only make the time and effort required to be successful in social media more enjoyable, you’ll ultimately gain better results. Now put on your social media thinking cap and approach all of your future efforts with a big picture view of building an awareness of your brand.

One of the most powerful brand building opportunities participating in social media offers is link building. As we’ve discussed before, quality links lead to higher search engine rankings. Keep in mind that many social media sites are given a lot of weight by the search engines. As you’ve probably noticed, social media sites such as Digg, Propeller and YouTube regularly show up within Google’s top ten search results. Now imagine if these high ranking pages linked to your website or blog. Overtime this can become a lot of “link juice” to help push your own site up in Google’s rankings.

If you don’t already have a blog – get one. Anyone can have a blog for free by visiting WordPress.com. Regardless of the topic of your site, there are tons of things you can blog about ranging from new product introductions to news related to your industry. Like any online effort, it will take time to see significant results, but you have to keep at it. Even if you only do one quality blog post a week, these valuable posts will add up over time, and before you know it your following and traffic will increase. Also, make sure you’re active on other blogs within your industry and leave “relevant comments” with a link back to your own website or blog.

Social media is like any other activity; you have to work at it in order to be successful. In other words, you have to be active. Like the famous sales trainer Zig Zigler once said, “You have to circulate in order to percolate”. This is the same for your social media efforts. You have to be continuously active or you will never see results. If you’re not going to commit the time and effort, you’ll never gain any ground in the social media arena.

Focus your efforts. With all of the social media sites available it is impossible to participate on them all. So you want to limit your efforts to a few key sites and regularly put effort into them. Ultimately, you have to decide where you want to participate. However, here are some suggested sites to check out.

  1. Delicious
  2. Digg
  3. FaceBook
  4. LinkedIn
  5. MySpace
  6. Pownce
  7. Propeller
  8. Reddit
  9. Squidoo
  10. StumbleUpon
  11. Twitter
  12. Yahoo! Answers
  13. YouTube

Although the above list isn’t all inclusive, it should help you get going in the right direction. Whatever sites you decide to participate in, make sure they’re worth your time as far as being sites that actually attract traffic. There’s no point in participating in social media sites no one visits. To get an idea of whether or not a site receives enough traffic to make it worthwhile for you to participate, use a traffic ranking tool such as Quantcast or Compete. Keep in mind these tools only provide some idea of traffic volumes and they are not truly accurate.

Think like a virus. Make your social media efforts easy for visitors to pass on to others by adding social bookmarking buttons such as those from AddThis or ShareThis. The easier you make it for people to share your efforts, the more exposure your will gain and the more links you will build to your website or blog.

In a nutshell, being successful in social media is really as easy as described above. The hard part is making the commitment to stick to working at it day after day, week after week, even if immediate results aren’t seen. Other than that, it’s a matter of quality. Every comment you post on someone else’s blog must be relevant, every Tweet on Twitter must add to the conversation. You’ll find that over time, you will develop more traffic to your site and build awareness of your products and brand by simply being out there. Think of it as socializing. After all, that’s why it’s called social media.

Have thoughts on this post? Additional tips? Leave a comment and share!

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Last week we wrote about Twitter, a microblogging platform that allows you to have a real-time conversation with your online audience. Since we covered some of the benefits of using Twitter to promote your business, it’s time to discuss the best way to leverage those benefits. 

Using Twitter for marketing is a delicate balance, just like using any blogging tool for business purposes. And just like any other social media tool, Twitter has its own unwritten rules of etiquette. These 4 rules will serve as a guideline to help you jump into tweeting without breaking a wing.

Rule 1: If you use Twitter as strictly a sales tool, you will lose followers quickly.

It is in your best interest to seek out others you find interesting and follow them. As with other social media applications, Twitter is about creating conversations and sharing news. It’s not about aggressive selling.

Rule 2: Tweets are limited to 140 characters in total length.

This is a large appeal of Twitter, since followers can quickly get their updates (via their cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone, etc.) and continue about their business. Messages are short and to-the-point, more like a text from a friend than a conventional blog post.

Rule 3: Twitter does not allow you to embed HTML, with the exception of hyperlinks.

So, no formatting.  The links allowed all have the nofollow attribute, so there isn’t any SEO link juice benefit.  (The SEO benefit comes from all the keywords in content. This is what puts your tweet or your Twitter profile at the top of the search engine results, and then your profile will link to your website.)

Rule 4: Don’t get carried away. If you tweet once a day it’s an event to look forward to. If you tweet every hour, you may be viewed as irritating and lose followers in the process.

So, how often should you tweet?  There isn’t a set number of times a day recommended, since it largely varies according to your audience. However, if you intend to use Twitter to promote your website, we recommend tweeting once or twice a day.

Remember, your Twitter profile shows your tweet history, so a new visitor who comes along and sees that you don’t have many tweets may decide that you are not worthy of following. Conversely, too many tweets will get you blocked faster than a Nigerian prince with a business proposal.

Businesses all over the world are using Twitter already. Big name companies using promotional tweeting to market their website and brand include Amazon, Woot, H & R Block, and Zappos.

Making Twitter work as a promotional marketing tool for your website may take some trial and error, and it’s a good idea to check out what others are tweeting about to get a feel for style. But don’t spend too much time being a lurker – get in there, get a feel, and start tweeting!

In addition to Twitter, you may also want to explore other microblogging services such as Pownce, Plurk, Plaxo, and Jaiku.

If you like our blog, check out our tweets on Twitter at Twitter.com/EPORIA.

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Unless you live in a web-less world, you’ve probably heard of Twitter by now. If not, I suggest you try out a great new search tool I’ve found called Google.

Twitter is a blogging platform designed around conversation, rather than information. They accomplish the give and take of conversation by restricting everyone to one short statement at a time. As a result, Twitter is a microcosm of quips, a flurry of microblogs. Mass texting on steroids. Users call it ‘tweeting’.

Twitter defines itself as a communication platform, stating on their home page:

“Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

According to that repository of public knowledge that is Wikipedia;

“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as tweets) which are text-based posts, ranging up to 140 characters long.”

What makes Twitter a powerful communication tool is the ability to send and receive updates via your web browser, email, instant messaging or your cell phone. No matter where you are, you can quickly add updates to your Twitter profile for others to follow.

For example, when Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook was interviewed at a recent media industry conference, Twitter was alive with audience members commenting, complaining, and heckling the interviewer – during the interview. This is real time mass communication at its finest.

How does this affect your business?

At first, many people just don’t get Twitter, and wonder if there’s really any point to it. This is becoming less of a question as individuals and businesses are finding ways to effectively use Twitter to add value to their online business.

Think of it this way; the more contact you have with potential customers, the more likely they will buy from you. Twitter is an excellent tool for creating “top of mind awareness”. By effectively using Twitter to promote your ideas, share knowledge and even advertise sales and other ecommerce offers, you become a source of quick information that your followers want to read.

Here are just a few of the benefits of tweeting on Twitter:

  • It reminds people that you exist, keeping you on their radar and part of their decision making process.
  • It shows people you have something worthwhile to share.
  • It allows you to inform others of new offers, sales and breaking news immediately.
  • It allows you to communicate more often.
  • It allows you to form more relationships casually, since tweets are short and readable in one glance.
  • Twitter pages get indexed by search engines and may show up for search inquiries when your website may not.
  • You can ask for referrals, suggestions, feedback and help, and people will respond.

With so much marketing hype on the web, people are increasingly looking for companies they can trust. You can build this trust in your brand with prospects by allowing them to get to know you, and by providing them with information that they’re truly interested in. Twitter allows you to do just that, in a matter of seconds.

Not sure this can be done? Big name companies using Twitter to promote their website and brand include Amazon, Woot, H & R Block, and Zappos, among others.

Check back next week for 4 Rules of Tweeting – Making Twitter Work for Your Business.

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