Posts tagged social media marketing
Social media marketing is going to be a critical strategy for businesses to learn to take up. Many traditional style stores find it incredibly counter-intuitive to ‘become friends’ with their customers, to share thoughts and opinions, or to remain anything but completely corporate and professional. However, in a world where everything is available to everybody, it is personality that will draw your customers to you, and set you apart in your niche. But before you start using social media to boost your web marketing repertoire, there are some things you should do …
1. Should you start social media marketing?
Do your clients use social media? Will they think its repulsive that you’ve started? Ask some questions of your existing customers if you can to try to gauge response. Also, see if any companies competing with you use social media, and what sort of response they have from people – do they have many Facebook fans or much Twitter interaction?
2. Consider the costs
Setting up most social media profiles is free. However, the time taken to administer them, to create content to submit to Digg, to contact people that send you questions through these media, all costs money. Be prepared to have dedicated web-based customer service staff if you push social media hard.
3. Set a personality and tone for your social media experience
Try to make it as close to your company’s real culture as possible, and set some boundaries regarding what gets posted or talked about. Will innocent sexual innuendo be okay … in fact what sorts of content in general will be okay and what will not?
4. Create a skills-based team dedicated to the social media marketing
Choose someone that is personable but professional, and also understands the legal and media implications of their public statements.
5. Set up a tracking system
You’ll need to know how all this effort is translating into profits for your company – decide on a method for tracking this before you start.
In some ways, SEO and internet marketing are very big tasks. However, there are plenty of component tasks that you can undertake to help push up your rankings, that take less than ten minutes. Today we give you the fast lane version of the SEO handbook!
1. Answer a question on Yahoo Answers
This is one of the biggest and most popular question and answer sites on the net now, and even new questions rank quite well in Google for search terms phrased in the form of a question. Answer a question that you have expertise in, provide a link to a relevant resource on your site, and you’ve just marketed yourself, sir!
2. Create a list
There’s no need for your articles all to be 1000 word rants. Keep your list short and simple, and try to make sure that the resources it offers aren’t available elsewhere on the web in the same context.
3. Link out to someone else, and let them know
I you like a company, a product or a service, link to them from your website (as long as the link is relevant and in context!). This is the equivalent of bringing a batch of muffins over to someone ‘s house … a great pretext for further conversation and friendships. Good karma online can never hurt your SEO rankings!
4. Comment on a blog post that you find thought-provoking
However, only if you can add something to the discussion. Telling the author that he’s created a great post will never encourage people reading the comments to click on your link … adding something useful or insightful to the conversation will.
5. Work on your LinkedIn profile
Especially if you are in B2B operations, your LinkedIn profile is a valuable web marketing tool. Expand your connections, update your resume, join in with Group discussions, etc.
Recently we’ve been looking at Facebook for web marketing and SEO – specifically at the two main methods for businesses to connect with people on Facebook, through Groups and Pages. We mentioned that from a consumer point of view, the two are much the same; but from a business perspective each offers their own benefits and drawbacks. So today we’re going to toss the coin with you and help you decide … Group or Page? Group or Page?!
Just to recap the difference between Groups and Pages (and save you sifting back through the old posts!), a Group:
- Can be created for free
- Are simple and have plenty of viral potential
- Members can ‘invite’ other members
- Have a limit on the number of your members you can blast message at once
- Can also be created for free
- Are more highly customizable than Groups, including applications, Flash and other rich content
- Have no limit on the number of members you can blast message at once
- Are a little more difficult to share
- Are often the ‘official’ version of a product – Facebook has been taking action against Pages that aren’t administered by the official company or group, in response to a joke Barack Obama Page.
Most popular business choice … Pages
Pages are the most popular method of social media marketing on Facebook for businesses. This is because they have several eency weency features that Groups don’t have. These include:
- A shortcut URL, so you can promote the page more easily outside of Facebook
- Allowance for extra applications, Flash etc, as mentioned above
- Visitor statistics can be monitored
- Pages can cerate Events through the Facebook Events function, and invite their fans
- Can be promoted with ads, whereas someone must be logged into Facebook to access a Group
But don’t close the book on Groups yet!
One striking difference which can impact the culture of your social media marektin greatly is simply the language Facebook uses for members of the public to connect with your business on Facebook. Consider that:
- With Groups, people can ‘become members’ and ‘invite friends’
- With Pages, people can only ‘Become fans’
This small linguistic matter can create an entirely different feel for the Page/Group, and your business culture and brand should determine which is best.
That said, the differences are quite minor … and both are great for social media marketing, general internet marketing and SEO!
From the user perspective, there is little difference between a Facebook Page and a Facebook Group. Both allow you to connect with like-minded people or ‘brand’ yourself … whether those like minded people are fans of breastfeeding in public, the 5th gen iPod classic, or saying “Bond … James Bond“. From a SEO company perspective and for internet marketing purposes, though, there are a few differences which could make a big difference to the ease and effectiveness of your Facebook marketing.
What are the features of a Facebook Page?
Facebook pages can have inbuilt applications, HTML and Flash in them – they’re a lot purdier than Groups are. It’s not only form, though, Facebook pages have much better functions than Groups – the applications make the most difference.
Pages are displayed a lot more prominently on people’s profiles than Groups are. If you click on a Friend’s ‘Info’ tab for their profile, the Groups are listed in order of joining, as a mess of blue hyperlinked text. Pages are much more spaced out, and they have their own individual little icon … however, the viewer does have to click a link to see any more than the most recent five or six pages joined.
What is the cost of setting up a Page?
Zero, zip, zilch, nothing, nada – there is no cost to set up a Facebook page, at least in terms of putting it on Facebook. However, if you want your page to have the additional functionality of applications or rich content like Flash (and you aren’t a web developer yourself), there is a cost involved in having that set up and troubleshooting done when they inevitably break. Of course, there is also an internal cost in administering the Page – replying to questions in wall posts, posting blogs, notes and reviews, and generally creating enough content to make your Page worthwhile for fans. In this respect, the cost is much like setting up a website – you can get a template for free, but if you want to personalize or add value, you’ll need to factor in some dollars.
Page Title considerations
Can you think of a way to engage your readers at the level of friends, or people with a common interest, rather than as a business? For example, if you manufacture underwear that stays where it is put, your Page could be titled ‘I would rather walk around with a wedgie than fiddle with my underwear in public’, or something similar. If you have an effective unique selling point, you can have a page that engages your potential customers like this!
While figures do vary according to the particular survey and geographic region, there is no doubt that Facebook is one of the most popular websites of the noughties. It took a while for businesses to find their feet with Facebook web marketing – for quite a while, all you could do on the site was play Vampire Wars, after all. Nowadays, though, Facebook Groups are well-recognized as one of the primary methods of social media marketing. We explore what you need to know about Facebook groups for web marketing success.
What are the features of a Facebook Group?
Many of us are familiar with the features of an ordinary profile page on Facebook. A Group page is simply a page where people of similar interests and values can come to discuss things and post related content. When you set up a Facebook Group, you can use the platform for:
- General discussions via the wall (although conversations can get a little messy)
- Post photos related to your topic
- Post videos related to your topic
- Post links to related content across the web (although these are not followed by Google and therefore don’t count toward link popularity)
- Sending news and updates to your Group members
What is the cost of setting up a Group?
As far as Facebook is concerned, there is no cost to set up a Group. However, you will certainly want someone either within your organization, or outsourced, to administer the group. When somebody posts a question about your product or service, the polite thing to do in social media situations is to answer it .
Group Title considerations
People on Facebook often use Groups as a ‘bumper sticker’ for their profile. If you create a group name that is bumper sticker-ish, you instantly increase appeal for these people. Use a bit of humour, and make sure you go into detail about the group’s purpose in its title. Here are a couple of good examples:
- People Who Always Have To Spell Their Names For Other People
- I Flip My Pillow Over to Get To The Cold Side
- Unlike 99.99% of the Facebook population, I was born in the 70s.
- When I was your age, Pluto was a planet
Do you have a running joke in your company or industry that other people relate to? You can see that the groups that have no direct link to companies or monetization of any sort often do well.
If you get popular…
You’ll have to think about all sorts of different things, like assigning someone to administer the group on a more permanent basis, weeding out spam links in the comments and wall posts, and developing a strategy for marketing with the blast messages.
Everybody loves a good number! They tell you something real, something concrete. Numbers are not subject to weasel words or legal disclaimers like ‘Results not Typical’. Numbers are very Zen – they simply are. So today we’re celebrating them in an internet marketing context, looking at some statistics from the world of SEO and web marketing over January and February 2010.
Google gets two thirds of search traffic
66% of searches conducted globally during December 2009 were conducted on Google. This percentage also represents a big real-number increase, because 46% more searches were conducted worldwide in December 09 compared to December 08. December is a traditionally very busy time for many retail sites who see huge spikes in traffic for seasonal keywords, such as christmas hampers, gourmet food items and gifts in Australia.
You may have heard stats indicating that Google has a much bigger share of search traffic than that – and we have as well. It is important to remember that these figures are usually US or Western-world based. For example, there are a huge number of Asian sites that are very popular, but barely known in the West.
Facebook grows US users and time spent
Facebook’s US audience grew to 109,710,000 odd during November 2009, according to stats released in January. The average user spent around 6 hours and ten minutes on the site in that month.
65 and over much more web savvy
The internet is traditionally seen as the domain of the young, but that has been steadily changing over the past few years. Statistics show that the number of internet users in the 65+ age bracket has increased by more than 55% between November 2004 and November 2009. The top destinations they are visiting are Google Search, Windows Media Player, Facebook, Youtube, Amazon, Yahoo Mail, and Yahoo Search (in order of popularity)
You can do a lot of things with your brain. In fact, without, you can’t do anything at all . You can also do things with other people’s brains, if you have a basic understanding of how to engage certain neural circuits in ways that favour your own ends. This is all sounding a bit mad scientist-ish for internet marketing, I know! It will all become clear very soon. Today we are thoroughly exploring one tip for using the quirks of our human brains (neuroscience) to help get people to take action on your website.
Tip of the day: User ratings and reviews
The neuroscience: People are social creatures. It is how we have evolved, and one of the most prominent reasons that we have come to dominate the planet – our ability and drive to cooperate. That drive to fit in, to cooperate rather than confront other humans, can be stimulated by showing your visitors that there is a community that has been built around your product. If you can show other users that there are people that trust your product and believe in its benefits, you are much more likely to convince them.
The web marketing & SEO tactic: There are several ways to implement this strategy on your website.
- Enable ratings on your products
- Enable reviews on your products
- Make sure that people visiting the site, as well as people actually leaving reviews, know that reviews aren’t changed by you, no matter what they say. Writing something like “You can instantly publish your review – we do not moderate comments on our products”.
- Add demographic information to ratings and reviews (as an optional extra). People might relate more strongly to a review if they see that the reviewer has similar demographics – age, location, family status, etc – to themselves.
- Enable comments on your blog and respond to commenters
- Add an ‘Agree’ and ‘Disagree’ button for comments on your site
- Build a forum that can be an additional resource for site visitors
Ratings and reviews can help new buyers, as well as contributing to their sense of community and social validation. They can also help them rationalize purchasing something they haven’t seen in person – “It worked fine for them, it will probably work fine for me”.
Of note: Testimonials don’t really work for this purpose! Every savvy web user knows that they are selected, edited and wouldn’t be on the site if they weren’t positive. Don’t remove bad reviews, simply post a public response to them offering to clear up the problem.