Category Archives: Social Media Marketing

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Social Media for Small Business

As a small business owner, you are either already on social networks or planning to get there soon. You probably already have a blog even though you may not be blogging regularly and you probably went ahead and created your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles even though you don't quite know how to make use of them or can't find the necessary time to do so.

But as a business owner have you considered your goals for getting on these social platforms? Most business owners just haven't understood the reason why they need to be on social networks. They give me reasons like "I know I need to be there", "my competition is there", "my kids tell me to be there" and so on and so forth.

Most businesses don't realize that by getting on social networks, what they get is brand awareness and visibility. That's the best reason to be there. These social networks allow businesses to constantly engage with others through conversations, share product knowledge, demonstrate their products & services, and basically dialog with people whom they've never met or perhaps have no hopes of ever crossing paths with.

When you do all of the above, over the long haul, it would make sense then that people would begin to become familiar with your brand and or product /service.

Another benefit of social media websites is that it is and can be a very good lead generation tool for most businesses, but especially so for the smaller ones. When people get to know you, they will ask you about your products or services and send quote requests. Some may refer people to you. The value of social networks aiding better search engine rankings also cannot be underscored enough.
 
Small business owners should be rushing over to these networks to make the most out of them to aid them in growing branding, visibility, and leads. Money should not be the reason that you don't go social. Just like ANY OTHER business need, small business owners need to create a budget line-item and leverage social networks to grow themselves and their brand.

Those businesses that still don't get it, will realize too late that their competition has raced past them to the finish line.
 

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Why Oh Why?? (Are you “baring all” on Social Networking Websites?)

Three men were arrested recently for robbing 18 homes in the New Hampshire and getting away with $200,000 in personal property. The police didn't realize that the robberies and the three men were connected.

Finally they were able to figure out that every victim of these robberies had posted a status message on their Facebook page letting everyone now of their business or vacation travel plans. The told their fans that they were going to be out of town for several days and of course their profiles were not protected.

Although I want to say Uh, DUH!, I know that I've made that mistake once in the past by posting my family's vacation plans on Facebook. Fortunately for me at least my Facebook privacy settings prevented others from viewing my status updates and perhaps it was dumb luck that we didn't get robbed.

It is so important not to "bare all" on social networks even though it is so tempting to and done more than we all realize. From showcasing our personal likes and dislikes to giving out information that makes us a target for criminals, we all tend to make such mistakes. But just like we are vigilante about our emails and our online transactions now, it's time to wise up and start thinking "safe" when posting anything to social networks. Sometimes it's involuntary because we want to tell people how much fun we are having while on vacation but why not wait until you return home to showcase your vacation fun?

I always say, be careful what you say online. If what you say can lead to unemployment, jail or becoming a victim, don't do it.
 
P.S. Perhaps I should invent a "does it need to be said" button as a third-party app that pops up each time a user posts a status update and offer it to Facebook???
 

Search Engine Marketing Blog: I Don’t Think Social Media Marketing is for My Field!

If I had a dime, or rather make that a quarter,  for every time I've heard "I don't think Social Media Marketing" makes sense in our field/business, I'd be a RICH woman!
 
Ok so first, let's look at the facts. Facebook and Twitter are two of the MOST popular social networking websites that are being used globally. Not only are these websites good for keeping in touch with family and friends, these websites are a modern day tool help promote your business or yourself.

Social networking websites are JUST ANOTHER MEDIUM for sharing, spreading and promoting news and information about you, your company, and your product or services. They are NO different than the use of newspaper advertisements, billboards, radio commercials, television commercials or attending networking events. Just like the aforementioned media, social networking websites offer companies the opportunity to reach an audience who may include their prospects.

It's that simple! Why then do companies still think that this doesn't apply "to our field"?

My question back to them when they make this statement to me in a sales call is "Are you looking for new customers". They look at me blankly and say "yes, of course".  If they are looking for customers, why don't think they social networking websites are applicable to their business? Ok, so perhaps there aren't that many people on Facebook looking for say "rubber hoses" or "fuel gages", atleast not yet. But they will soon because companies know that to reach a global audience, there is no cheaper, better, faster tool than the internet and there is NO other media that offers as global a reach and as instant a reach as social networks.

Living in "Automotive town" MetroDetroit, I realize that it's difficult to convince the benefit of social networks to tier one and tier two automotive suppliers who in the past had all their business coming from the Big Three. But the Big Three aren't buying enough anymore and it's time to diversify offerings and extend a more global arm to find new customers and prospects.

It's time to leverage social networks my friends and it doesn't matter what industry you are in, you need to showcase your company, your products, and your services on social networks so that you are visible when prospects come a-searching!

Every one of your employees' is a sales person. Every one of them needs to be not only know how to navigate social networks but also to advertise your company's offerings on it, whether they are at home on a personal computer or at work.  Blocking employees from accessing social networks is like biting your nose to spite your face. Instead, it is so much more effective to set up a corporate policy on social networks, train employees on do's and don'ts, monitor productivity and their online activity in a simple organized fashion, and leverage the power of having each one of your employees telling the world how great you and your company's offerings are. If you are still worried that not every employee can be managed or monitored or will behave appropriately online, select a handful of employees to do your networking in addition to having a dedicated team or an external supplier (like us).

But the bottom-line is this. If you aren't on social networks yet, it's not a problem yet. But if you aren't thinking of getting on social networks in the near future, it'll be a problem for sure. That's cause your competition is either already there or thinking about getting there. Don't believe me? Look around and drop me a line if you don't find ANYONE from your field somewhere online.

 

Search Engine Marketing Blog: Why LinkedIn is One of My Favorite Social Media Websites!

LinkedIn is one of my favorite social networks. Well, it's in the top three, but you may find it interesting that it's number two after Twitter and ahead of Facebook. Yep, I like LinkedIn more than Facebook because of its functionality as well as it's ability to add value to my professional and business needs.

I remember joining LinkedIn way before Social Media websites were popular and when I was employed at General Motors. I don't even remember when I got my first invitation to "link in" but it has got to be a decade or so. Initially it was made up of the select few career professionals who joined it and then sent invitations to each other. Now of course it has grown to become one of the top professional networking sites for working professionals and business owners.

Although LinkedIn doesn't have as many users as Facebook's 500 plus million, there is no other network that offers you detailed information about professionals in every field you can imagine. The data is well organized, well-searchable, and easy to find and use.  LinkedIn's biggest advantage to you, as an individual or company, is that it allows you to showcase your profile with as much detail as you can possibly add. Your profile becomes an impressive presentation of your company, your skills, your education, your accomplishments and your connections. If you have a captivating profile, people are attracted to you and you'll find yourself being connected to others who become a valuable network for you.

The best way to create a captivating profile is by studying other profiles in your field and outside your field. Yes, even profiles that are not in your field can give you ideas to make your profile more comprehensive and interesting. Also, review corporate profiles of your competition and see what they are saying to make themselves look good. Don't copy but certainly use similar ways to create your own corporate profile so that you can stand head to toe in comparison to your nearest competitor. Testimonials are great for attracting attention of the one who may be tougher to convince simply based on your attractive profile. Testimonials from current and past clients, employees, and colleagues are a great way to let others know what people think of you.
 
Focus on building a network that is hand-picked with individuals whom you want to be associated with. Yes, you won't always be able to focus on who you want and may need to add people who don't appear to be "valuable" from a connection perspective but that's ok. You aren't getting charged for each connection you add so why sweat the small stuff?

Start building your network with the people  you already know. Do your research and connect others keeping in mind "givers gain". I'd say focus on quality of contacts and not so much the quantity because that'll bring more value in the long run. Also keep an eye on the suggestions for connections that the LinkedIn database offers (on the right hand side of your LinkedIn screen). These people are offered as possible contacts by the LinkedIn database based on the interests you filled out in your profile.
 
Update your profile frequently to keep it fresh. Send out notes to your connections letting them know if you have information that they find useful. Integrate your twitter feed to LinkedIn because it's a great way to gain the attention of others who may not be in your network directly. Make use of the Answers section to answer other people's questions and post some of your own in a way that engages other people's attention, not spams them.  Use LinkedIn's extensive database to search for company contacts or people whom you wish to reach to showcase what you do and what you sell.
 
And of course, make sure your profile includes links to your websites including your blog. Share a little bit of your personal information that is not "private" and that may interest others.
 
So if you've only been thinking of playing on Facebook and Twitter, perhaps it's time to give some attention to LinkedIn. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

Social Media Blog: Social Networking is Social Brandcasting!

I call Social Networking, Social Brandcasting. Brandcasting means simply “casting” your brand out there in the social networks, period!

However many businesses are still not able to see the value of Brandcasting.

Brandcasting on Social Networks has the following key benefits
•    You can reach more people through popular sites like Facebook & Twitter due to the sheer volume of users each of them has

•    You can continuously promote your services and company events without spending any money on printing collateral, direct mail pieces, etc.

(Note: Although social networks are “free”, social networking is not free, but that’s a topic for another blog)

•    You can brag about yourself and your products or services and no one will think less of you.
You can do "horizontal" brandcasting which is to everyone and everywhere across the board, same message, same positioning. In horizontal brandcasting, you would use common messaging to promote generic messages about your brand or products and services.

Then you can do the "vertical" brandcasting where you position different messages on different platforms. In vertical brandcasting, you use different methodologies to reach different audiences. You may choose to reach a specific age demographic or you may target market using geographic area, etc.

The other important aspect of Brandcasting is the need to balance quantity (number of followers, fans, connections) with quality (what you say, how you say, and the persona you create of yourself or your company online, etc.). Quantity AND quality matter and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Brandcasting is a powerful strategy and social networks are the vehicle for executing that strategy to get visibility for your company or products and services. Isn’t it time you got started on your Brandcasting campaigns?

 

Social Media Blog: Why Search Engine Optimization And Social Media Marketing Go Hand-in-Hand!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means preparing your website for Search Engines. With Search Engine Optimization,a company website can be found in the "organic" or non-paid rankings of search engine results for various keywords. Not all keywords will result in your website being on the 1st or 2nd page of leading search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

I say that a website without Search Engine Optimization is like a car without gasoline. It's dead in the middle of the Internet superhighway, going nowhere, bringing no one to it, and doing nothing of much. When a website is optimized, it becomes the gasoline that allows the website to run on the world wide web.
 
Social Media Marketing on the other hand is a strategy used to share content, invite interactions, and communicate key messages about your company to get visibility. With Social Media Marketing you get a "buzz". Popular websites like Facebook and Twitter allow quick sharing of content which drives traffic and brand visibility.
 
To get succesful online, you cannot choose one or the other. When done properly, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing can help you maximize your online investment and increase your visibility.

Businesses doing only one or not doing anything with their websites have no chance of being found.

Social Media Blog: Should your business choose between Facebook and Twitter?

Business owners ask me which is better; Facebook or Twitter. I tell them that ideally they need to be on both. Here are the top three reasons your business needs both, Facebook and Twitter:
 
Twitter:

  • Very good viral marketing tool
  • Allows you to quickly share information
  • Content can be found in Google's search results
  • Increases brand awareness
  • Drives traffic to website when links are used
  • Distributes time-sensitive information fast and furious

Facebook

  • Good for brand recognition, especially for recognized
  • Allows sharing a variety of content including photos,  links, videos, and more
  • Allows large number of followers and fans to market product and services.

A presence on both networks allows you to optimize your online presence. Don't settle for one or the other. Leverage both; Twitter and Facebook to get the biggest bang for your marketing dollars.

Social Media Blog: What CAN’T I Do With My Blackberry!

I went out and got a new Blackberry this past week. And I swear that there is not a better toy out there. What CAN'T I do with my Blackberry???

Phone? Check
 
Email? Check.

Two Email Boxes? Check

Three Email Boxes? Check

Camera? Check

Video? Check

Text Messages: Check

Facebook: Check

Twitter: Check

Not to mention, music, alarm clock, calendar, web browsing, you name it, my blackberry does it.

People, let me tell you that with m new Blackberry, I don't need anything else!  My new slogan: Have Blackbery, will travel!!!

 

Social Media Blog: Newspapers will find ways to make money says Google Chief Schmidt

Google's CEO says newspapers will find a new way to make money. Not everyone agrees. We all know what's happening with the newspapers. They are losing advertisers and circulation has dropped year over year. So many journalists are out of work and are trying to find a new career for themselves. 

Along with Google, social networks like Facebook, popular blog sites, and others are taking the lions' share of advertising dollars that used to be spent on newspaper and magazine advertisement.

Google's CEO (at the annual American Society of News Editors conference) said that "newspapers are vital to democracy". I agree to that statement totally. I also feel that the pleasure of sitting at the kitchen table on Sundays with the papers cannot be replaced by sitting in front of the computer reading the online news. It's just not the same.

But what I don't see is how newspapers can revive themselves with the popularity of online media and the continued migration of more and more advertising dollars from print to digital media. Google's CEO thinks there will be a way for newspapers to survive with a new business model.

For the sake of my journalist friends and peers I hope that someone figures out a way to do so soon.
 

Social Media Blog: Get ready to leverage Social Networks like Twitter. It’s way past time if you aren’t leveraging social media marketing strategies to grow your business.

So Twitter's growing and recent statistics show that over 60 percent of Twitter registered accounts are from outside the US. Not surprising if you've been playing on Twitter and have seen the growth in your own non-US followers.

In addition to the fact that Twitter is available in several languages such asFrench, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish, I think that it's growth can be attributed to it's simplicity and accessibility.
 
If you are a US business owner, you are wondering how this can help you if over 60% Twitter users are outside your "target" market.
 
So then let's take a look at the numbers.

Assumptions:

  1. Twitter has 50,000,000 (50 million) users
  2. Twitter has ~ 60% users outside of the US so US based Twitter users = ~ 20,000,000 (20 million)
  3. Twitter's active users are approximately 21% so US active* Twitter users = ~ 4,200,000 (4.2 million)
    *Active users are those who follow at least 10 people, have 10 followers, and have at least tweeted 10 times

Based on the above assumptions as a US business owner, you have access to 4.2 million users through Twitter. Agreed that every state has a different number of Twitter users.

But let's just assume that each state had an equal number of Twitter users.

That means that if you want a "local" audience, you have access to 84,000 Twitter users in your state alone. Drill that down further and especially if you are in a metro-area, you can safely assume that your audience is at least 50% of the 84,000.

Now think about how much money you are spending on the "local" yellow pages, direct mail, and local advertising campaigns. Then compare the "cost" of those traditional methods and then compare the cost of doing online marketing using experts (like us).

Have you arrived at the same conclusion that Ford, Dell, and other companies have arrived at?

It's a fact! Social networks provide GREATER REACH at LOWER COST.

It's time to move beyond the excuses like "no-time", "no-money", "no-skills" and it's time to outsource your social media campaigns to companies like ours who provide hassle-free management, lower cost implementation, and results. We've got your Internet Marketing needs understood and have finessed solutions that work.