Here’s a hypothetical situation for you, small business owner/independent contractor. You’ve recently opened shop. Your ecommerce site is up and functioning. You’re ready to start writing freelance articles for all the big players in your industry. The next thing you do is sign up for accounts with Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.

Now that your social media campaign is set up, it’s time to sit back and wait for those leads to pour in, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Establishing your brand online can be a full time job unto itself. A few tweets here and there can easily get lost in the shuffle.

How do you raise your profile? By being a chatterbox, of course. You should try to interact with other people in your industry as much as possible in order to say to potential clients, “Hey, I’m here. I think you would benefit from using my services.” If you aren’t doing the following, try adding more of it to your daily operations:

Comment on Blog Posts and Forums

This is the best way to introduce yourself to the community at large. If you’re looking to break into a new industry, seek out a few blogs that are respected and comment on some posts. Not only is it nice to acknowledge an author’s hard work, but people will be reading your opinions. If your input is valuable, they’ll want to learn more about you and check out your site.

Interact on Your Facebook Page

Many people make the mistake of treating their Facebook business page like some static entity. You’ll only get out what you put into it. Make it feel more like a community. Respond to comments, supply a steady amount of content and, most importantly, reach out to people in order to grow your number of “Likes.”

Use Twitter For More Than Advertising

Don’t use Twitter to just send out links to your homepage.  Be a real person. RT something that catches your interest, engage in conversation, be funny, etc. The best advertising you can do is getting people to enjoy reading what you have to say. The traffic will come naturally if you give people a reason to come to your site.

 

Need more tips on how to get the most out of your social media network? Send me an email adragonetti@webimax.com

Those business owners who turn to social media sites for customer traffic are known to rely just a little too heavily on Facebook. Sure, the world’s biggest social network continues to expand its influence, and it’s a given that it will grow towards a projected one billion users by year’s end. While there’s certainly no lack of potential customers to be found on Facebook, there is the matter of market saturation. For every type of business out there, there are literally thousands of competitors with which to contend. Small business owners who try to maintain a strong presence in social media have to work much harder when rivals are involved.

While there will always be stiff competition when building up a follower base on any social network, sometimes it’s best to focus one’s attention elsewhere. Many company owners make the mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket when it comes to social media. Even if they manage to establish themselves on Facebook, they’re still missing out on other social media markets. In particular, it’s Google+ that goes untouched by many businesses these days.

Growth, Slow but Steady
Although Google+ doesn’t have the staggering user numbers that Facebook boasts, that doesn’t mean it’s a ghost town (as some would have us think). For the past several months, Google has been working tirelessly to connect its social media site to every aspect of its network. As a result, every new Google account has its own Google+ profile already attached to it.

While only a small percentage of newly registered users remain active on Google+, more people are joining the network as time goes on. The integration of YouTube, Google Maps and other Google services into the social network is enough of a motivator to get people to begin using the site. The company reports that over half of the 170 million registered Google+ accounts see constant activity. Getting one’s company established with social media optimization on the network now will allow for a lot of groundwork to be laid out in the future. Small business owners also won’t have to worry nearly as much about competitors stealing followers.

Taking Advantage of the New Redesign
Only a few days ago, a number of new features and a revised interface were rolled out for Google+. Google claims that the newest update makes its social media site sleeker, more intuitive and more flexible to members of other social media sites. While much of the redesign mirrors Facebook’s recent Timeline layout update, that doesn’t diminish the potential for the network to attract new users. Business owners may want to take advantage of the new site design in a number of ways.

  • Create a Google+ account and fill it out thoroughly. The more information that can be provided the better off you will be. A complete profile gives plenty of information to users and, since Google pulls information from Google+ for its SERPs, will allow you to show up better in searches.
  • Find plenty of photos and video clips to share on your Google+ feed. The redesigned page layout now allows users to post larger images when sharing media. Attractive and colorful photos can get users in your extended network to interact with your company more often.
  • Direct your website’s traffic to your Google+ account. If you haven’t already placed media sharing buttons throughout your site, now is the time to do so. Encourage users to share your content on their Google+ pages. By building up a sizeable number of supporters, shared content will reach more users more easily.

As always, I encourage our readers to look more into professional social media optimization and social PPC services when trying to get the best results out of their social media campaign. WebiMax takes a great deal of pride in providing its clients with efficient social media management that excels at gathering new followers for both short and long-term high conversion rates.

Should your local business rely on search engine optimization or engage in social media optimization?  Both are strong, online marketing initiatives, but data released by the Pew Internet & American Life Foundation show this may influence some local businesses to deemphasize SMO.  It seems consumers, interviewed by land and cell phone lines, reported levering social media only 1% of the time to find information about local business, ostensibly making social media an ineffective marketing tool.

I think the report may misrepresent the importance of social media and does not give the marketing process the credit it deserves.  Sterling concludes his post by mentioning social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, have a long way to go before they can adequately help local small businesses.

Still Young
To begin, let’s not forget the traffic of social media platforms.  We saw Facebook trump Google in 2010.  The numbers are there for local businesses to attract.

Available traffic is not the problem; it may be the other way around.  Perhaps a large number of small businesses, within a waning economy, have not taken part in social media…yet.  Search engine optimization preceded social media optimization; more businesses have made investments in the former online marketing objective.  Maybe more users leverage SEs rather than social media because there’s a greater chance of finding desired information there…for now.  Local businesses are on the SERPs, yet not enough are engaging in social media optimization…yet.  Just about every business has a Web site; only a small number of them engage in social media.

Social Media Influences SERPs
Social media influences the SERPs, creating another reason not to shy from SMO and social media participation.  We’re seeing a shift in the SERPs.  The process of search engine optimization, making brands more prevalent on SERPs, is beginning to incorporate and place more emphasis on social media optimization and participation as well as reputation management, or building a brand’s online authority.

Social Paid Search
Additionally, social media sites, like Twitter and LinkedIn, are offering social paid search opportunities.  Will these paid ad opportunities help local small businesses?  I believe it will.  Don’t give social media the cold shoulder, local business owners.  See the forest through the trees.  Successful brands are in it for the long-term, leveraging social media platforms, using multiple online marketing tools at hand to increase exposure.

 

Today, Todd Wasserman wrote a post upon Twitter’s news of launching its new branding pages.  The news ushers more online marketing and branding opportunities for businesses seeking to broaden consumer awareness regarding products, services, and company brands.

The free options aligned with the brand pages allow companies to customize accounts with headers (comparable to those aligned with display banner ads), allowing for conspicuous taglines and fonts, making a company’s brand more prominent than previously-allocated under Twitter’s current design.  Additionally, companies may choose to keep particular tweets atop of timelines.  These tweets auto-expand, revealing embedded photos or videos, creating more marketing and branding options, without needed actions from on-page browsers.

Furthermore, the brand pages segment a company’s “@” replies and “mentions.”  As mentioned in an Ad Age Digital post, this particular function will serve customer-service-oriented companies well, enabling them to respond to customers without having to sift through other past Twitter activities.

Twitter’s new brand pages should be a welcomed online marketing tool for brands struggling to make social media connections with a meager 140 characters.  Now, companies can offer more information, create more associations, and engage in more branding initiatives using Twitter.

The new launch involves 21, specific companies including Verizon, Dell, Nike, McDonalds, and other familiar brands, all forging ongoing dialogues with Twitter regarding the new move.

It will be interesting to track the movement and social embrace of the 21 brands as Twitter launches its brand pages.  The move couldn’t have come at a better time for the platform, as social site competitors, such as Google+ (also issuing brand pages), undergo modifications to emulate the multiple options afforded to a site offering such multi-media opportunities as Facebook (a site that received more traffic than Google last year!)