Your small business and social media

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Starting up a small business is no easy task, but with the help of social media, you’re able to get your name and message out into the public’s eye easier than in the past. If you’re just now entering your business into social media, there are definitely a few things you should know first. Here are some tips on how to help start an online conversation about your company, with a little help from Whirlocal.

Your company site should link to a company blog. And yes, you do have to maintain both of them! While your company website will help to promote your business, what you do, and how to contact you; your blog will help with the personal stuff. Your customers want to hear from real people, and blogging is just the way to do that. I use WordPress for my personal blog, and would suggest it to anyone starting their own. Blogging can increase your SEO and Google rankings, and getting to the top of that Google search page is very important.

Realize now that customer reviews count. A business with poor online reviews is probably losing a ton of potential new customers. You want to encourage customer reviews, especially from the customers that rave about your business; you can do this by simply asking the customer to write a review or by creating links to review your business on your company site. You want to get on sites like Google, Yelp, Yahoo and Bing; these sites get the most traffic when it comes to reviews. I would suggest emphasizing Google and Yelp. It also helps to respond to reviews, especially the ones that don’t show your company in the best light. If someone writes a bad review, responding with a solution to the problem can make that bad review not look so bad anymore. This will show potential customers that you can own up to your mistakes and are willing to listen and fix them.

Social Media is a must. Get on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and do everything you can to get your name out there- just don’t do it aimlessly. Have a social media strategy and focus on what each social media platform can do for your business, because each one is different.  This may be time consuming, but if you do it right, in the end it will be well worth it.

If you want people to contact you, you have to make it easy. Make your contact information easily accessible on your website, blog and all of your social media channels. Put it where they’d have to be blind not to see it! However, being accessible isn’t all you need to do. You need to respond to people in a timely manner. Don’t let emails sit for longer then 16 hours, that’s almost too long; by then your potential customer may have already moved on. Instantaneous responses show that you care about their business and that you’re available to them whenever they need you.

These are just a few tips; building an online presence for your business won’t happen overnight. Engage with your customers in a way that makes them want to come back, and want to tell their friends and family about your services. Make what you do online interesting, be patient and most of all, be persistent.

This post can also be read on Marketing Conversations and Business 2 Community.

How to Increase your Blog Comments

September 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

Like facebook and Twitter, blogs should be used as a platform for interaction and conversation with your readers. Blogs shouldn’t be used to talk at your readers, but instead, talk with them. Increasing the number of comments on your blog can help to generate more views, in turn, increasing the conversations.  Here are some tips on how to increase your blog comments, based off of the Social Media Examiner.

Make it easy to leave a comment. Is there a large comment link on your site, or do readers need to search for it? If your readers can’t easily submit a comment, they’re not going to. The only downside to this is if you make commenting too easy, you’ll end up getting a lot of spam comments. To prevent spam, you should check the comment settings for your blog and make sure the commenter has to include their name and email address with the comment. This will help to prevent spammers from overloading your page. You may also want to change your comment settings so that all comments need to be approved by you before they are published on your site.

Ask for comments. This may seem like a simple fix, but when you ask a reader, “What do you think?” at the end of a post, they will be more likely to respond via comments. You can also change the generic “Leave your comment here” to, “Let me hear your thoughts” or something else along those lines.

Respond to comments. This goes back to that conversation piece above. Your blog needs to be a conversation where people feel like they won’t be ignored if they do decide to tell you what they think. Responding to comments shows viewers that people are engaged on your site, which could make them more inclined to join the conversation.

Don’t be rude. It’s ok to disagree with your commenters; it’s not ok to be to mean about it. Controversy adds interest, and more people are likely to chime in and give their opinion if they see a debate going on through comments. The key is to not let it get out of hand. You, as a blogger, need to make people feel good about their comments, not put down by your response. If a commenter feels like they are being put down they probably won’t ever comment on your page again, and may not even come back to view it.

You need to engage with your readers and make them feel like they are an important part of the conversation. Without them your blog would be just you, talking to yourself… no one wants that. So, tell me what you think. How do you engage with your readers? What works for you and what doesn’t?

Read this post on Marketing Conversation and Business 2 Community too!

6 tools for SEO Specialists

August 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

When it comes to marketing, you want your company Website the top of the page on the first page of a Google Search.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) companies work to make this happen. According to webfroze they do so by understanding the significance of keyword research.

There are many tools out there to help SEO specialists; here are a few of the good ones based off of a recent Crunchyblogger article.

1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you insight into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. It helps you track your sales and conversions, while helping to measure your site engagement. It can track email campaigns, banner ads and offline ads, as well as identify your best revenue source.

2.  Google Website Optimizer
Google Website Optimizer helps you listen to your visitors by receiving direct feedback from them. It makes it easy to increase your site effectiveness and visitor satisfaction, which leads to higher conversion rates and a higher return on investment. You will also receive a clear report that helps eliminate guesswork, and will help you find out what leads to the most conversions.

3. MailChimp
MailChimp makes email newsletters easy. It can help you design e-newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate them with services you already use and track your results. Using Mailchimp through social sharing allows you to increase the impact of your message.

4. Google Webmaster
Google Webmaster helps to increase trafficking to your site. It allows you to find out how Google crawls, indexes and ranks your site. It can analyze your search data, showing how many people see your site compared with how many people click on it. Google Webmaster can also send you email alerts to tell you if your site has malware or generates errors.

5. Mediafeedia
Your company can use Mediafeedia for its facebook profile and pages. It allows users to manage multiple accounts at once, receive email notifications from users’ fan pages and allows easy reply through email, as well as the ability to schedule posts with pictures and links. Mediafeedia makes managing multiple facebook accounts easy.

6. Cotweet
Similar to Media Feedia, Cotweet helps you manage your twitter accounts. Although Cotweet can be used for both Facebook and Twitter, you’ll most likely have a different social media strategy for facebook than you will for twitter. Therefore, by using Cotweet for Twitter and Media Feedia for facebook, you are able to easily differentiate between these two platforms to make sure each are reaching your target audience effectively.

SEO Specialists don’t have easy jobs-they have to thoroughly understand search engines and how to get businesses on the first page of a Google Search while at the same time maintaining their ethics. However, with the help of these six tools their job can be just a little bit easier.

Read this post on Marketing Conversations and Business 2 Community too!

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