To my absolute horror, there are still bloggers, uselessly blogging about how irrelevant social media is and specifically pinpointing Facebook. I’m certain that they are just blogging to attention seek. I can forgive a fool that thought this a few of years ago, but I would definitely expect business owners to have the knowledge and understanding of their market and the evolution of business/ strategy.
While I feel some other social platforms can be imperative to a businesses success, I will focus today on Facebook only, as according to alexa.com it’s the most used social network. Not too long ago, many businesses refused to get a website and thought they could survive doing what they did in the olden days. They got left behind! Many of those businesses either closed down or suffered until they were forced to get online to survive. Here are just two short reasons (out of many) why you need a business fan page:
Soon, the Facebook generation will be your only audience left. If you don’t find a way to stay connected to them, someone else will. Facebook allows you to target and promote your business to your specific market in a way that your website can’t. It already knows the interests, hobbies, age range and gender or most of its users. You can use this to your advantage to specifically and cost-effectively promote to the right people. Just looking at your friends, colleagues, and family, you know most of them have Facebook and check it daily but, they won’t be on your website daily! Facebook will allow you to keep them updated on your business more frequently, keep your business in their minds and lead them to your site. Meet your potential clients in their comfort zone and place of addiction (Facebook). Websites and blogs are great and necessary but before the client gets to them, you need to capture their short attention span and give them a reason to care about your business while they are killing time on Facebook, communicating with friends and trying to make the work day end faster.
Google and the others
While I agree to certain businesses/ industries such as fashion, music and large brands, benefit from and invite more audience interaction than certain businesses, the SEO value that is built from social networking is great and necessary for all businesses. By producing and distributing content across social media, you will be able to build a good relationship with search engines as well as your (potential) clients. Having the buttons clearly linked on your site and making frequent and consistent updates improves a sites organic search presence and is becoming more important criteria for ranking. This, I will say is the most important reason to be on Facebook and the best answer to those who are skeptical.
I predict that in the not too distant future, businesses that resist using social media will be left behind just like those who thought they could survive without websites or online listings.
Celebrating Our 14th Birthday
Happy Birthday to us! We’re very proud to say that we are in our 14th year in this business and are continuing to grow and evolve with the fast pace of the online industry. We’d like to thank Fari and Carolyn for putting together such a great team and our clients and associates for their loyalty and support.
It’s such a huge achievement to have survived so long amongst many competitors and the daily challenges that the internet throws at us. Here is a virtual toast to another 14 years of success and hard work!
A professional team of web designers, web developers, and SEO experts will create search engine friendly websites through on-site optimization. Here are some steps that should be taken to ensure that your site is optimized:
1. Title Tags
It’s the title of the page and is one of the most important steps. It should have keywords in it and accurately describe the page.
2. Meta keywords
Keywords and keyphrases that are relevant to your business or purpose which will help search engine users find your site and understand what it is about.
A sitemap is a list of the pages on your website which allows visitors but, most importantly search engines to view all the pages and get a better understanding of the site’s content and purpose.
4. Meta tags
A meta tag is an HTML tag that provides information of the site. It cannot be seen on the site but it can be picked up and analyzed by web spiders.
5. Internal Links and Link Optimisation
Linking from page to page within the site is a key for search engines as well as encouraging visitors to navigate around the site.
Useful anchor text should be used to link, for example, linking the text “bespoke websites” is more useful than linking “click here” as it will be clearer to search engines and visitors what page the link leads to.
Unique content that includes keywords and keyphrases needs to be on every page. Search engines will penalize sites that have copied content.
7. Image ALT Tags
The images on your site should have ALT tags so that search engines know what the image is and are able to direct users to what they are looking for. Search engine spiders can only read a text and not images. When your cursor hovers over the image, the text should represent the image and be relevant. The image file name should also be changed to match the ALT tag and should never be labeled as “photo1.jpeg”.
8. Social Marketing
By producing and distributing content across social media, you will be able to build a good relationship with search engines as well as your virtual audience. Having the buttons clearly linked on your site and making frequent and consistent updates improves a sites organic search presence. Facilities such as blogs allow websites to be frequently updated which is another search engine criteria for ranking.
While on-site optimization is only one part of SEO, it is the first process to help improve sites organic search presence. This is why it’s important to understand and appreciate the value of a professional when making a site and to seek their services. You should get your site audited to make sure all these steps have been taken and what can be done to improve and update your site.
Another week, another Twitter PR disaster. By now, no doubt you’ll have heard about the whole Gillian McKeith debacle: if not, you can find a useful summary on the Guardian website.
There is nothing the usually benign (though swift to become a baying horde) citizens of Twitter-like less than duplicity. McKeith’s big mistake was not in trying to defend an unpopular view: Twitter is populated with many millions of users doing just that every day, both for comedic and more sinister purposes.
Her mistake was in subsequently trying to cover up her comments. That she did so ineffectually barely matters: even if all trace had been eradicated from her own website; even if her dissenters hadn’t been carefully taking screenshots and retweeting for future evidence, McKeith is clearly unaware that these days, almost all web presence is aggregated, mirrored, and pushed out in countless places across the Internet.
Forget the Wayback machine: these days Twitter has its own archive. Furthermore, many folks link up their Facebook and Twitter profiles, and perhaps throw LinkedIn to the mix, too, meaning that your words are spread far beyond a single website. Then there are sites which collect all tweets on a certain subject and replicate them – without so much as a by your leave.
In short, your Twitter status updates, and all web content should be thought of as a permanent record. That’s why, if you are representing your business online, you should exhibit the utmost transparency and honesty – and furthermore, you should think carefully about which members of your business you trust to do the same.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll keep on saying it: social media is a fantastic tool for business promotion, but for heaven’s sake be careful what you write.
Here’s proof, if it were needed, of Twitter’s ever-increasing omnipotence: babies can now tweet from the womb. Yes, back in February, we reported that dogs can tweet: in our estimation, this is a step further into the realm of… well, the rather ridiculous.
The Kickbee is a fabric band that the pregnant mother can wear while relaxing on the sofa. Dad at work? No problem – with every kick of the fetus, he’ll get a little alert on Twitter to remind him of what is growing back home. Just take a look at the video above for a graphic representation.
So, what’s next? Tweeting from beyond the grave? You know, somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if someone came up with that next.
If you sell internationally, it’s definitely worth reading the technology section of the daily papers. For example, did you know that many websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, not to mention the all-important Google, are blocked in China?
That’s been the case for quite a while, but recent news stories have also alerted us to similar and less-predictable restrictions in Turkey and Pakistan. On the other hand, the Finnish government has apparently decreed that broadband Internet access is a human right, and are promising every citizen super-fast access by 2015. Currently, almost 100% of the population is already connected at a more normal speed.
Why is it worth knowing these things? Well, obviously, if you sell to Turkey, say, you won’t want to waste your efforts on a viral marketing campaign on YouTube. Similarly, there’s little point in optimizing your Chinese web pages for Google. On the other hand, if many of your customers are from Scandinavia, you can have a lot of fun designing fairly weighty websites with as much video or Flash content as you like – it won’t clog up their capacious broadband.
Apart from anything else, it’s fascinating to see how each country restricts or enables access to the 20th century’s greatest invention – and your international strategy will be a whole lot more likely to bear fruit.
Are Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr starting to look a bit old hat to you? Wishing you could do something a bit newer and groovier with your online presence? Then it could be time to look at Foursquare.
If this geo-location craze had thus far passed you by, think yourself lucky: for many of us, it’s registered only as an annoying way for our mates – before they work out how to control their accounts, in any case – to clog up our twitter streams with inane pronouncements like “I just became the mayor of Burger King”.
Yes, at first glance, it’s little more than a game, where users ‘check in’ wherever they may go, and gain points or badges for doing so. However, there is more to it than that – and even some marketing potential. Take a look, for example, at the search results on Foursquare for our local area, Notting Hill, and you’ll see what we mean.
Each of the entries on that list represents a place that a Foursquare user has seen fit to register: straight away, one can see its usefulness for people new to the area, looking for cafes or pubs or any one of the many local businesses in the locale.
Now take a look at an individual listing for a local coffee shop: remember, this is not created by the shop itself, but by its customers. You can see that it has been ‘tagged’ with descriptive words like ‘bakery’: clicking on these will bring up other listings in the same category near the user’s location.
Equally important is the ‘tips’ section: purportedly for users to leave advice for others, this has become, for many businesses, a kind of review space. Again, as the owner of the business, you have no control over this: the age of user-generated content is truly upon us.
There is one area where you can have control, though, and really leverage Foursquare to your own advantage. Click on ‘are you the manager of this business?’, register, and you’ll be able to place special offers right there on the page. You can be as imaginative as you like: free services for anyone who mutters the secret password perhaps, or one big reward for each succeeding ‘mayor’?
It may be a short-lived craze, or it may evolve into something more complex, but for now, Foursquare is definitely a low-cost way to reach the early- and mid-cycle adopters. And since their money is as good as anyone’s, we’d advise you to go for it.
Those who sit through the trailer will be treated to some corkers of lines, including:
“The site got 22 hundred hits within two hours?”
“Thousand – 22 thousand“.
Which made me laugh, because – and forgive me for saying this – such statements might go down the as high drama in our own office, but they do seem a little lame as the selling point for a blockbuster film.
Naturally, the dialogue is accompanied by the usual soundtrack of frantic fingers on a rattling keyboard, possibly from the same sound effects disc once utilized by Tron, War Games and You’ve Got Mail.
We’ll certainly reserve judgment until release, and we’ll happily risk wasting a couple of hours at the cinema – after all, we’ve already frittered away half our lives on the real Facebook – but it’s hard to deny that almost all films centred around computers, let alone websites have to provide an awful lot of dramatic tension to make up for the lack of stunning visuals. If director Fincher is wise, and we’re sure he is, he will, of course, focus on the people behind the platform.
Come to think of it, there’s a lesson for us all there. Yes, Facebook is a remarkable phenomenon; yes, it’s ripe for your marketing initiatives. But it is the people on there, forging and strengthening real-life friendships, marriages, events and all the other dramas of real life, that create Facebook – and it is those real people that we need to market to.
Oh, and don’t forget the immortal truth provided by the film’s strapline:
You don’t get to 55 million friends without making a few enemies.
Many thanks to the Wall for pointing us towards Eloqua’s Social Media Playbook [PDF] – “playbook”, we assume, because while a workbook entails effort, everything to do with web 2.0 is, of course, fun fun fun!
Eloqua is a big-bucks customer engagement software company, and apparently, this booklet was first produced for circulation amongst its own staff. In a fit of generosity, they’ve decided to share, and it’s certainly worth a read.
Most readers of our blog will be familiar with the basics of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These are all covered, but the guide goes more in-depth, too. Give it a read and we’re sure you’ll learn at least one new thing.
We all know the benefits of having a presence on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and so on, but the fact is that any interaction you have on there may not be seen by visitors to your main website.
We’ve been looking at a neat piece of code that you can add to your own site and encourage interaction on the spot: it’s called Echo.
Whether you’d like to encourage feedback or ratings on your products, or simply aggregate questions and answers, this auto-refresh software gives your users their own space. Neatly, it integrates with a number of social networks, so you don’t lose the viral benefits of those platforms.
To us, it looks like an easy way to key into all the advantages of having peer reviews and ratings on your site, with the minimum of development. We’d be happy to help you add it to your own site if you require – or talk about other options if this one doesn’t seem quite right.
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