This will be a series of posts about promoting content on social networks geared for small companies and individuals to learn the basics and how to get started and why it is important to utilize social media.
What is it and how does it work?
Social media/networking is the new frontier and for those unfamiliar it can be a daunting question. What is social media? How do I use it? Why should I use it? What will it do for me?
Social media is the use of sites that allow users to post and communicate information through the internet and mobile devices directly or through topical or groups.
They can be broken down into two distinct groups, Social Networks and Social Media
The Benefits of Social Media Optimization
Social Media Optimization is a relatively new, often misunderstood form of online marketing that is reaping huge rewards for website owners who incorporate it into their marketing plans.
Social networks are a good place to gain new eyes on content.
Social networks are good relevant inbound links.
Bringing content to a larger community.
Finding readers for specific topics.
Creating ‘word of mouth’ syndication of content through social networks.
I updated my LinkedIn account, posted on twitter, facebook, Livejournal, and all of my email groups that I was now looking for a job and in what field etc. I made contact with old collegues and friends who consult and contract in my field or would have contacts who would need my particular services.
I have updated my resume, loaded it to all sorts of job search sites and sent a couple of dozen resumes to various positions of interest. I’ve also begun utilizing sites like twithire to find positions and looking through my twitter list’s companies to see if any of their companies have positions etc.
So what next? I’m going to redesign my consulting web site and keep up to date on everything that is going on in my field, read books and journals I haven’t had time to read due to work and keep plugging along. I will keep updating this blog as I go.
An interesting conversation came up on twitter today concerning SEO in an overall site marketing strategy and I don’t believe that I was able to communicate my thoughts in the short medium of 140 characters that twitter gives me. So I wanted to expand upon it here.
I’ve been doing SEO for 7 going on 8 years now. I’ve seen it evolve from doorway pages and redirects, keyword stuffing, and whited out content, to inbound linking and off page optimization. The works. The one thing that doesn’t change is ‘Content’ Content is king, after all that’s what the search engines and the online audience is looking for. So if you have the content they want in a form that is readable for the audience and the search engines can scan it you’re there. Yes there are many tweaks and things that can be done to a site to better optimize it. But in the long run they pale in comparison to having content the audience wants to find and will actuall consume and that along with your site design will lead your audience to the overall conversion point you want them to get to.
You see SEO, PPC advertising, Social Media, email marketing, inbound marketing these are all tools we need to be balanced in order to get the best results. For me those results are to get the audience to that content, to that funnel that will eventual cause them to convert in some way, either to be an impression on an ad, a lead for a product or service, or to buy. Without that content for the audience to trigger on and instigate the reaction you want nothing is going to be successful.
Sites that succeed are built around their conversion need and the programs and tools used to market them to the audience need to bring them to the content and eventually the conversion point.
After the year social media had in 2008 will 2009 be even bigger? According to Pringo CEO Majid Abai’s interview with Keith Shawthe use of social media will have to grow as the new generation of workers step into the work force.
Abai predicts the integration of social media in conferences and events, market research, training, integration of social media into applications, and communications between employees and partners. Due to the overwhelming number of new employees in the work space being Millenials who have grown up using social media. So I have to ask “Are Millenials going to drive social media in business? ”
Anyone who has been to any Inbound Marketing event in the last year knows that social media is a must at these events. It’s one of the big reasons I’m on twitter @chrystie69. But I could definitely see virtual events begin based on utilizing social media platforms in 2009. Reducing travel, time out of the office, etc so that more people can attend an event and be involved. Something I’d definitely be interested because of my limited ability to travel to events.
Companies will need to utilize social media for their own market research. We’ve seen this with the Comcast guy and Dell Cares on Twitter but with more and more millenials out there corporate America needs to embrace social media in order to communicate with these consumers. Something one of my clients is actually already embracing now. Using their community to encouraged discussions about features they would like in the software, bugs, etc as well as mentoring and supporting each other.
Training through social platforms is definitely on the horizon. One of my clients already has a training area in their user community where questions are answered, special training videos are available and special chat sessions where users can attend and ask questions.
Companies are finally realizing the power that they have in social media. Marketing and online presence can no longer be a 1 way conversation. People want to be a part of the process. And 2009 is when that switch will begin on a much higher level.
This weekend I helped a friend get on Facebook, she already had a myspace and livejournal in order to keep up with individuals there but now she found her extended family is on Facebook so she is now ‘forced’ to open yet another social networking account to keep up with another circle of individuals. Less then 24 hours later she’s overwhelmed with friend requests as her high school classmates all find her there and begin trying to friend and send her messages. She doesn’t know what to do, she doesn’t want to be rude and not friend them but she also doesn’t remember many of them, so what does she do now?
For me and those who utilize social networks for work it’s not a problem keeping up with multiple social networks. But what about those people we’re trying to connect with out there? Are we overwhelming them with information? Are our messages getting lost in the sea of information that many individuals just can’t keep up with in their daily lives?
Chris Brogan today talks about the annoyances of bots on social media and I have to agree, we who use social media most often will find it ‘annoying’ but what about the average user? How many of these are they seeing in a day? How much more annoying are they to them and do they deminish the real messages being sent?
I find myself in the same conundrum as I have Facebook, Livejournal, Myspace, Twitter, Digg, Mixx, Stumbleupon, Reddit, and now this blog on WordPress. How can I possibly keep track of and update all of this on a regular basis? I don’t. I admit even I as a social media professional have had to pick and choose the circles I spend more time on. Honestly Myspace, Mixx, and Stumbleupon have taken a back seat to the other networks because I find more interaction, and better results from the others. But each of my networks has a different purpose and is a different type of audience so it’s not easy because the content for each is so different.
So how is the average person keeping up on their social networks? They probably aren’t…many social networking accounts are under utilized by the user due to lack of time. Ping.fm and other sites like it are a big help but many people don’t even know that they exist. But they aren’t as widely known by individuals out there. And that is a pity because they just might be the key to solving the social networking overload that so many end users are feeling
I’ve never ever used keyword mapping of a site before. I have always found to be a sure way to become a spammer. I believe that the content should speak for itself, you build the content for the audience and the spiders will index it appropriately if the page is optimized well.
During a recent site redesign I voiced my concerns over the fact that the site was going to have a lot of SEO difficulty due to lack of text. I’ve run analytics on the new site and found that we have a problem I’ve never had before…Keyword density is TOO high! Reason, there isn’t enough text on the site and the major keywords are used a great deal in what little is actually there.
It is totally normal for SEO to fluctuate right after a site redesign. When you redesign your site the spiders look it over and re-evaluate and you basically need to watch for about 6 weeks for the actual changes to occur. The fact that in the redesign we changed strategy from having only one product to having two and are now trying to optimize to both is another matter. Those new pages of content take time to become indexed and to make their way into the SERPs.
I keep harping on them that Content is needed. More content…they build more multimedia, webcasts, videos, FLASH etc…. We need text, we need information that will be useful to the user and get the search engines indexing those pages for the key terms we want.
I’ve always been careful not build a site around ‘keywords’ but around the needs of the audience. So I have Audited the site and put together a list of pages I think we really need to expand the content on and other pages I think should be built. Next is to look over information we have from current users and see what else we can build.
And so coincidentally I see in my facebook a post from Rob Curley, an Audience development God… reminding me of the 5 P’s that Drive Traffic!
When all else fails…check with your social network 🙂
Christmas Eve and I sit in the dark office all alone. I’m quite happy to see that my traffic yesterday did not suffer from ‘holiday’ fatigue. That’s what I call the lull in traffic that happens around holidays. Each year I’ve made adjustments in my forecasting to account for traffic erosion during the holidays; Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, 4th of July, and Labor Day. I was expecting that this week would have a larger then usual lull due to all the holidays hitting basically on weekdays. So I have to say I am pleasantly surprised that so far this week we’re running around average.
Planning for holiday fatigue in your traffic numbers is very important in order to meet your goals you will need to plan accordingly. During months that these holidays occur I try to focus my major traffic building exercises during the rest of the month. For instance, this month instead of holding a Webinar near the end of the month I held it at the beginning of the month to drive as much traffic as early in the month as possible. It has paid off, I’m running close to my goals for the month and I’m seeing much better then expected conversion numbers this week.
Meanwhile, I’m also seeing better social networking results that I expected. I had expected their to be a bit of a lull in the social media sites during this holiday week as well, but I guess not as many people are taking this week off as I’d expected. I’m seeing a much better then average amount of social media buzz this week for my clients which makes me and them very happy 🙂
I thought I would begin my new year’s resolution a little early this year. I have blogged before but always for other sites never for my myself. As you can see I do have a LiveJournal but that is more for communicating with ‘friends’. This, however, is to be a more professional blog for me to share my thoughts and information.