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!

Journalism and PR, It’s Time to Start Communicating

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The relationship between the journalist and the Public Relations professional is rocky at best. Neither thinks the other is necessary, both are frequently butting heads.

When you take a step back and look at the scope of the PR and Journalism professions, it becomes obvious that they’re in a far more symbiotic relationship than they realize. PRestige Agency offers some good reasons why:

The PR practitioner saves the journalist a chunk of time in the research process, often presenting ready-made stories on a platter. The journalist can’t take everything the PR rep says at face value, its always necessary to fact check. However, the time that the journalist has been saved is optimal to make the story perfect for any media channel.

On the flip side, the journalist helps PR publicize the message in the most helpful medium for coverage. Unfortunately, not everyone always wants to chat with a PR rep. A savvy journalist is a good friend to have in times like these.

Youtube recently showcased a funny portrayal of the media nemesis’s.  Spoofed from the Mac/PC commercials, the practitioner and the journalist are coached by a counselor to mend a battered friendship. Even though the video pokes fun at both the PR and journalism professions, it also shows that both are necessary for the other to exist.  Journalism- the ying. PR- the yang.

Communication is always key in any relationship. The practitioner needs to understand a journalist’s deadlines, contacting news sources well in advance and always with patience. A journalist needs to be open-minded, acknowledging that a good story can come from anywhere.  In fact, the PR rep on the phone may be the ticket to the newest, hottest story out. Youtube was smart to showcase this issue with humor, an ingredient that’s lacking in today’s relationship recipe. It’s only with clear channels of communication and a few well-timed giggles, that the media world will continue on in harmony.

Read this on Marketing Conversations and Business 2 Community too!

MediaFeedia – Potential Facebook Manager

August 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

I recently came across a fun find, which opened my eyes to a market of possibility in the social media world– Mediafeedia. Two months ago, Mediafeedia opened a social media management platform for businessowners. Unlike some of the other social media managing dashboards like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, Mediafeedia focuses solely on Facebook, recognizing the negative repercussions of utilizing the same social media campaign across every networking platform.  Because each social media platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, concentrating solely on Facebook allows Mediafeedia to accentuate its strengths and downplay its weaknesses.

At this stage in the networking world, businesses need to engage with their customers online, not just weekly or monthly, but every day. With more then 500 million users logging on daily, Facebook is the place to be for businesses to advertise and communicate with customers. Sometimes advertising your business on Facebook can be overwhelming, especially for those business owners who own multiple businesses, but Mediafeedia has provided a platform that makes it much easier to manage all of those accounts.

Not only can you manage multiple accounts, but you can also schedule status updates for those accounts with pictures and links, not just days or weeks, but years in advance. This avoids confusion between pages, and helps to ensure your posts are published in a timely manner.

At Abraham Harrison we know the importance of multi-tasking and praise the powers that be, to the tools that help us do so. It’s Websites and softwares like Mediafeedia’s that cut hours off  monitoring. It’s evident every day how necessary engaging on social media sites is, and no one is a stranger to the power that Zuckerberg and his Facebook updates seem to have over us. Maybe that was Mediafeedia’s thought process; Spend more time on our Website, spend less time on Facebook.

Read this on Marketing Conversations and Business 2 Community too!

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