Posts Tagged ‘social media’

How to Leverage Social Media’s Impact on SEO

January 18th, 2011 by Allison Yagesh

Last month, Google and Bing confirmed that links shared on Facebook and Twitter impact search rankings. SEOs across the Web have long suspected this, though the official confirmation has inspired a deeper inspection to determine how to make the most of it. Here are some tips for how to leverage social media to impact your company’s ranking:

1. Inspire Action

Give the audience a sense of who your company is. Do this with personality and panache. You need to sound like a person, not a robot. Engage the audience by revealing information that explains your company’s authority. Include persuasive calls-to-action and a link to your website to encourage conversion. Giving the audience a glimpse into your business will help to attract new friends, followers, etc. and in turn, new customers and clients.

2. Social Authority

A major factor as to whether references to your company by other users will impact ranking depends on the authority of the user making the reference. It is quality over quantity and user elements like the number of friends or followers they have or how many people they follow will affect how the post is ranked. This process is tough to force, so allow time for popularity to grow organically. Stay relevant by making frequent, informative posts.

3. Spice It Up

Avoid posting in the same format and shake things up regularly to encourage interaction with the audience. Contests are a great strategy to inspire action. Provide valuable bits of information that are easy to share. Remember, people will only share your post if they think it makes them look good, intelligent, witty, etc. Keep posts fresh, fun and informative!

Social Media Optimization – Consider the Telegram

February 2nd, 2010 by Patrick Hare
At first, the connection between telegrams and social media would seem like a stretch. The use of telegrams hit its peak around 1929, when 20 million were sent in the United States. Moreover, the telegram effectively died in 2006, when Western Union discontinued the service for lack of interest. Nonetheless, there are some useful lessons to be learned when creating viral and social media campaigns as part of your online marketing initiative.

The first lesson? Conserve your space. Telegrams used to charge by the word, so people learned to use elaborate abbreviations (like text message slang) to send messages. Twitter gives you 140 characters. If you’re sending out an announcement, you need to be remarkably concise with your message. For an interesting piece of trivia, see this 1928 piece on telegram writing guidelines, and consider how it relates to shrinking a message into a Tweet.

One space saving method involves shrinking your URLs so they fit into the 140 character space. Most of the time this is done automatically, but there are also services that do it for you. The beauty of embedding links in your messages is that people can always go back for more information if they’ve been hooked by your message, and you can even to track the effectiveness of a campaign by seeing which URLs generated the most traffic and conversions.

Second? Consider the audience. If you have established followers on Twitter or Facebook, they may already understand more about you or your business than a new prospect. You may be able to pepper in a little more industry jargon, or reference industry news that an outsider would not care about. If you’ve got a network of sales reps or affiliates, little “telegrams” on a regular basis can be used to keep people on track, share success stories, and keep people motivated.

Another side of considering your audience involves understanding them as a demographic. People who have smart phones attached to their belts are usually in a particular age group, have a certain income level, and are more oriented toward using technology. As a group, they would respond better to information about new tech trends, phone accessories, calling plans, and so on. If your demographic is tech-phobic and unlikely to change, then exploring the social media world may not get you the results you want.

Third, think of delivery. Telegrams would often get delivered by messengers, teenagers on motorcycles, or cab drivers. You can send Tweets to mobile devices, and Facebook is often updated by Blackberry. This opens up a new window of opportunity beyond emailing your messages. Social media optimization generally involves finding ways to make money by using new channels of communication, so messages should have an immediate call to action. The delivery of messages to certain customer segments (like frequent buyers) works well when it includes a coupon code or special offer. If your business depends on seasonal traffic, you can Tweet them in advance of prime sales dates so they have you in mind. For instance, if you sell summer vacation rentals, you could tweet special offers to repeat customers before they become known to the general public.

One way that social media diverges from the telegram format is in the delivery of bad news. Important information should be announced through official channels, on the phone, or even in person. A Tweet or a Facebook posting with news about a layoff, closure, or impending sale is not going to have much space for any “silver linings” and may convey the wrong image for your company. Negative tweets or micro-blog posts can take on a life of their own, and even become news items.

A final thing to consider when creating a social media strategy, or optimizing your social media, is to keep your ear to the ground. Today’s fad might become the next big thing, or it may get supplanted by a new technology or trends. The social outlet MySpace.com was popular for a certain amount of time but has given way to Facebook. Before you invest heavily in social media, you should build in some flexibility so any method of organizing messaging is “future proof” to the extent that is can be upgraded for new media channels. Even though the telegram took 150 years to disappear, social media trends can go in and out in a matter of months. If you’re chasing the fickle interests of the general public, the last thing you want is to launch an “uncool” social media project that looks like a relic from the past.

Social Media for Job Seekers and Companies That Are Hiring

September 1st, 2009 by Patrick Hare

A downturn in the economy has put a lot of tech-savvy people out of work, but they haven’t turned off their Blackberries and smartphones. As a recent news article shows, the unemployed and those looking for a change have people on Twitter that they can follow for everything from job openings to career advice. This kind of social media networking is good for idled workers seeking employment, but it can be even better for companies that are hiring or planning to increase their headcount.

Why do companies prefer to use social networking? The easy answer is that it is more efficient than traditional headhunting methods. In the past, employment agencies were limited by their own databases of job seekers, and didn’t have access to information that is ubiquitous today. Even though a lot of social media has nothing to do with work, job experience, or useful knowledge, proper data mining and communication can uncover a sizable number of qualified candidates who are either looking for a new opportunity, or wouldn’t mind an career move. Executives and managers who may have better access to “the handwriting on the wall” may also be thinking about finding employment elsewhere before the choice is forced upon them.

By becoming a presence on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, companies have the opportunity to find “plugged in” workers who are up to date with the latest trends (of “fads” for that matter”) in technology and social networking. The business-friendly network known better as LinkedIn.com is already being mined by job-seekers and employers alike, who have a ready made network of leads among the happily employed and people who are looking for work. In fact, a well written LinkedIn profile can be an invitation to unsolicited job offers, some of which can be quite enticing.

How can the average person, or the out-of-work professional, join in? Obviously, the first step is to get into social networking. By joining professional sites like LinkedIn, you can effectively put your resume online, but you can also do keyword searches for companies which are similar to ones for which you have previously worked. In some cases you can directly contact hiring managers and other people in those companies to find out if there are any openings. Additionally, you can network with former associates and friends, which builds up your profile and gets you recommendations (endorsements) from people who have worked with you in the past. Aside from having profiles where people can see them, following certain people and companies in Twitter and Facebook may give you an edge over people who are getting their employment news through third parties like newspapers and job search sites.

The rise of social media, along with greater use of the BlackBerry, Google Phone, and smartphones in general, has created a connected world that has moved beyond the desktop and into mobile devices. As a result, employers and potential employees alike can take advantage of the mutual usefulness of the social media revolution. Lots of companies want to know that new workers will be experienced in the latest technologies, and people using these channels to find a job have already passed an important employment requirement. For people looking for jobs, any advantage over other candidates offers an important edge, and the right social media connections can offer instant responses and a well-crafted profile that will get you positive attention before the interview even takes place.

Social Media That Makes You Money

August 20th, 2009 by Patrick Hare

Though it may seem like a trend, social media has been around almost as long as the internet, and perhaps before it. Prior to the World Wide Web, people chatted on Bulletin Boards and CompuServe Forums, posted funny stories or day-to-day trivia, and engaged in the same type of discussions you see today. In 1999, Livejournal was started as a blogging tool to keep friends up to date on each other’s activities (sound familiar?), post pictures, and share everything from favorite bands and political opinions to “too much information” about various activities.

The main difference between these social media channels and sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter is accessibility. Instead of logging into a BBS (Bulletin Board System) with a Commodore 64, a modem, and a terminal program, you can update Twitter and Facebook entries from a PDA or Smartphone. You may have noticed friends, relatives, or acquaintances updating their status from a Blackberry even though they are among a crowd of people. Essentially, the social media crowd in cyberspace has replaced actual social interactions with virtual ones. CNN.com even has a story about annoying trends among people who use Facebook, but somehow skipped over people who prefer the binary world to present company.

While Facebook and Twitter are still working on figuring out how to monetize social media, many small and large businesses have already mastered it. Savvy businesses can get a message sent out through heavily followed channels on Twitter and Facebook, creating “buzz” about new products and services, as well as virtual endorsements. Some people actually take payments to “Tweet” about a new movie, album, consumer item, or political happening, and suddenly several thousand followers will get an instant message or a link to follow. If you’re and advertising agency looking to send a message to a demographic that skews into specific layers, this can be money well spent.

For businesses, social media also lets you learn more about your customer base than you ever thought possible. Several tools let you monitor Twitter and Facebook postings, so you can get an alert any time your company is mentioned. This is a great way to head off a public relations nightmare, since you can address issues before you become the pariah of the social media world. You can also get unvarnished opinions about how your company is serving its customers, which gives you an opportunity to make changes in real time without having to hire focus groups or polling consultants. If you are a marketing and PR firm, the use of Twitter and Facebook is going to set you apart from the survey people in shopping malls who carry around clipboards, because you can use tools that encourage people to rate products, videos, and the like while you aggregate the results.

If you’re a small business, adding Facebook or Twitter functionality to your website is a great way to add trust and show that you’re up with the times. If you give your customers another way to communicate with you, you can address concerns and also build a sales channel. Any time you have a new product or sales initiative, you can Tweet your customer base and let them know about sales, discounts, or product demonstrations in your area. Secondarily, a connected base of Twitter users in the same field can often pose a technical question to a group and get a response from someone who knows the answer. In this way, you can also increase efficiency and knowledge flow without having to call around.

It has been said that 40% of all social media postings are pointless, but this should be good news to anyone in the marketing field, where a 1% response rate can indicate a highly profitable campaign. There is a broad spectrum of social media sites, including names like Digg, YouTube, Flickr, Yahoo Answers, Delicious.com, and Technorati. They all have facets that can be exploited in the world of sales and marketing, and they can also improve the customer experience. Aside from making more sales, extending your lifetime customer value is one of the best ways to keep a business running, and with social media you can keep your clients while simultaneously building a brand. Whether you are running a DIY social media campaign or hiring an agency to do it for you, the field of social media definitely isn’t going away, so a small investment today may result in big dividends down the road.

Posted By Patrick Hare