Search Engine Marketing

Search engines have been an integral part of the internet, even longer than the social media sites, and now the businesses are taking advantage. The big search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and now Bing, provide areas for a whole new level of marketing that is not only different from social media marketing, but also enhances the social media aspect. The small businesses are taking notice. According to imediaconnection.com, since the end of 2009 small businesses spent 30% more on search engine marketing. The social media sites also realizing the advantages of search engines. According to mashable.com, Google has made deals with Facebook and Twitter, and Yahoo! And Bing have followed close behind, allowing for information to be more easily accessible.

The great thing about search engines is that the results are, for the most part, what you are looking for. If someone types in ‘pianos’, the websites for businesses that sell pianos would show up, as well as any paid advertisements.

If you’re looking to make yourself more accessible to the search engines but want to hold off on spending money for advertisements, don’t be worried. There are plenty of ways to get search engines like Google to pick up on your business. The main thing is to make you searchable. Here are a few tips:

– The web address of your website is very important. If you want your business to show up on the search engines, make sure that the name of your business appears in your web address. You may want to opt for an address like this one: http://www.nameofyourbusiness.com

–  Make sure the content of your home page, including your title, includes relevant information. The title should be that of your business and perhaps what it does. The rest of the content should be a description of your business. This way, certain search terms will pick up on the textual content of the page and direct users towards your site. This allows people to find you if they don’t know the name of your business.

-If you have multiple web outlets, such as your website and various social networking profiles, make sure everything is consistent between them. This will make all of the sites easier to find.

– When you link to any website, make sure that it has good quality content related to the context of your business. Similarly, make sure that websites linking to you are of good quality. Potential customers will trust more in legitimate and helpful links.

-Make sure to update your website frequently with current and up-to-date content. Search engines pick up on more recently refreshed items, so you’ll have a greater chance of showing up in a search.

In short, make sure that your site can be easily found. If you’re not sure, Google your business to see what turns up. Happy Marketing!

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How Your Business Can Build Trust With Social Media: Make it Personal

More and more small businesses are using social media to help their marketing campaigns. According to emarketer.com, 75% of small businesses have a page on a social networking site, and according to thonline.com, there has been a 12% increase in the number of small businesses using Facebook and Twitter. While advertising itself helps to get the word out, social media opens up another opportunity: communicating with the customer directly.

Any social media site can be good for getting the word out about a small business, but the article, posted by Mashable.com, brings to attention the fact that the sites may also feel less personal. With social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linked-In, there is less face-to-face contact because people can communicate online. When you market your business using social media, it is important not to lose sight of the most important aspect of business: The Customer. Social media is a great marketing tool, but first and foremost sites like Twitter and Facebook are meant to be used for communication. Before businesses starting used social media for business marketing, people who used these sites used them to communicate with others.

So how can you start gaining your customers’ trust with social media? Here are a few tips that will make your business presence online more personal:

Send follow-up notes or e-mails. Ultimately, this depends on which site you’re using. Facebook has the Inbox feature which allows you to send messages to a person privately. If someone becomes a fan of your page, send a message thanking them for becoming a fan and give them some more information. Twitter has a similar feature called ‘direct messaging’. These are, like the statuses, limited to 140 characters, but in this case you could say ‘thank you’ and add a link to your web page to give the customer more information. E-mail is STILL a great way to communicate, so don’t forget to use it as well.

Listen to what people have to say. Twitter allows users to respond to tweets, and Facebook allows people to comment on status updates and write on the wall of pages that they are fans of. If a customer has a question, comment, or complaint, you should respond in an appropriate manner. Have a conversation and see what the customer has to say about your business—it could help you improve a process, product or service that you didn’t realize needed to be improved. Your responsiveness will give your business a good reputation, showing that your business believes in communicating with its customers. Communication is one of the key factors in trust.

Go face-to-face, virtually, or via video. Good places to turn to are social media sites such as YouTube and ooVoo. You can set up an account and post videos or communicate through video. By doing so, they will see you. Customers will appreciate seeing the person behind the business every once in a while rather than always seeing your status updates and tweets. You can even incorporate a link to your Video responses in your tweets and updates.

Now that you’ve read how to gain customer’s trust online, get out there and make the online experience more Personal. Your Customers will thank you for it! Happy Communicating!  

 

How to Be Safe Using Social Media

Recent articles on mashable.com and ecreditdaily.com have made people aware of the most recent in a string of phishing attacks on social media sites. This time the site is Twitter. Messages have been sent to users on Twitter titled “This you?” followed by a link. The link takes users to a fake login site. The username and password entered into this site is not used to log in to Twitter; instead, this gives the attacker your password and username.

Newsfactor.com states that there are 50 million Tweets per day on Twitter and 67% of social media users spend over 6 hours per month on Facebook. This allows more opportunities for hackers and criminals to hack into your profiles and send messages to your followers. The web-criminals can then use this information to log into other sites you use, possibly gaining access to important information such as that relating to credit cards and bank accounts not to mention spam sent to e-mail accounts.

Social Media sites are great networking tools, but it is important to know how to stay safe in order to get the best out of your social media experience.

Here are a few tips for staying safe:

  • If any strange links get sent to your page on a social media site (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, ect.) don’t click on it. Even though your friend is likely the one sending it, their account could have been hacked into. If you happen to click on a strange link and it asks for any type of information (such as log-in info), exit out and don’t give away the info.
  • Delete strange or unfamiliar e-mails, as they are likely to be spam
  • Have different passwords and usernames for each site. Part of the reason why phishing attacks are so dangerous is because people keep similar passwords and usernames for all of the sites they use. If an attacker gets login information for one site, chances are he can figure out the login information for any other site you use, unless your information varies between sites.
  • If you accidently end up giving away information, immediately change the login info (password, especially) to all of the sites you visit.
  • Pay attention to any news about phishing attacks on social media sites. Being aware makes it easier to avoid an attack. For those on Twitter, you can follow ‘Safety’ at http://twitter.com/safety for tips on how to stay safe on Twitter, as well as updates on phishing attacks and how to prevent them (or fix things if you’ve fallen victim to one). While you’re using social media sites to build relationships, keep these tips in mind.    Stay safe!

How Social Media Helps the People in Haiti

After Haiti was hit by a terrible Earthquake about a month ago, support has poured in from millions of people all hoping to help the people of Haiti. Impressively, most of those people used social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in addition to text messaging, to raise million of dollars to help bring relief to the country of Haiti.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have proved to be brilliant ways of gaining support for Haiti. According to the LA Times, Facebook and Twitter, just minutes after the earthquake, were abuzz with people posting what they knew. Facebook, Twitter, and text messaging were used by those in Haiti to contact their loved ones back in the states.

In addition, both sites, as well as YouTube, have spread the story using video, pictures, and word of mouth to make people aware of just how dire the situation in Haiti really is, and they’ve done it faster than the newspapers and news broadcasting programs have been able to.

The Red Cross, in particular, is using Facebook and Twitter to make users aware both of the situation and what they could do to help. The Red Cross is raising money via a text messaging campaign. People have tweeted (and re-tweeted) about this campaign, as well as put it in their Facebook statuses. And the campaign is paying off; according to the Red Cross, $5 million has been raised to help the people in Haiti. Other text message campaigns, advertised through Twitter and Facebook, have followed. What a great accomplishment that social media has helped so much more in a short amount of time.

Want to help the people in Haiti? You can donate via the Red Cross’s text campaign by texting “Haiti” to 90999. Other text message efforts include Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation (text “Yele” to 501501), 25383 (Internal Rescue Committee), and 85944 (Rescue Union Mission and MedCorp International). The money will be charged to your phone bill and will go straight to the respective organizations, who will send the money to help the relief effort in Haiti.

To continue to help Haiti and spread the awareness, tweet the information on how to donate via text message, and also put it in your Facebook status. What better information to spread than information used for a good cause?

Happy texting!

The damage done by the earthquake that hit Haiti.
How to use text messaging to help the people of Haiti.

Use Videos and YouTube to Promote Your Business

YouTube is currently the third most popular social media site on the net, behind Facebook and MySpace, and with millions of videos and even more viewers it’s no surprise that YouTube is becoming more and more popular, especially in the world of business.

Some big businesses have even started focusing on YouTube in their advertising campaigns. Home Depot, posts how-to home improvement videos, and Nike is known for having videos with celebrities endorsing their products. Ikea has also gotten in on the trend by releasing a video series to advertise their products.

Videos are visual and very informative. You can fit much more in a video than you can in a Tweet, and you can explain information that is found on your businesses’ website and/or Facebook page. The idea of creating a video series can seem daunting, but you don’t have to spend millions on producing a web series like Ikea or get celebrities to star in your videos in order to have a viewing audience.

As a good example, check out the first of our new video series, the Golden Profile Series, on YouTube:

Here are a few tips for getting an audience with your videos:

–  A great place to publish your videos is YouTube. YouTube gets millions of visitors each day and is the most recognized site for video content. YouTube videos are also searchable on Google (which is the top used search engine), which increases the chance of people coming across your video. Other Video Sites will pick up your video once it’s found in the Search engines.  In order to put a video on YouTube you must set up a YouTube account, which is free, and once you post a video you will have a YouTube Channel. You can even add information to this channel about your business (rather like the info on the side of a Twitter page) and personalize the background image and colors of the page to suit your needs.

–  Make the videos relevant to your business, as well as interesting and educational. If the video is an advertisement (or includes advertising), make it short (30 seconds to a minute is the usual length for adverts) and entertaining. If the video is educational and the angle is about a certain aspect of your business, make sure that the information is useful and relevant.

-Consider making a video series. People will see that you are planning on posting something worth following and will subscribe to your page, after which they will be sent updates on when you post a video. If you make a video series, be creative. Choose a theme for the series and in addition to pointing out your companies’ products and services, include interviews with people of interest about topics that your customers’ will find useful.

-Utilize the tagging feature on YouTube. When you upload a video, there is a section to put ‘tags’, which are words or phrases that, when searched, will pull up your video.  Make sure to include words or phrases that are relevant to your video. For example, if your video is about how to use social media for business, you might want to type in the words “social media, business, Twitter, Facebook” in your tag section.

The use of videos in business is a fast growing trend (Google the Viral Video “Make it Blend by Blendtec – Awesome example of a Viral Video that became “explosively” successful and profitable on the Internet).  Many companies are seeing the benefits of using videos to educate and inform their customers about their products and services.

You can check out Light of Gold’s YouTube profile at http://www.youtube.com/user/lightofgoldpr

Use Videos to spread the word about what you do!  Good luck, and happy filming!