Archive for social networking
Linkedin is growing more everyday. I’m starting to like it more than Facebook because of the quality of the users. The groups feature on Linkedin is divided into professional categories where like-minded people get together and share information that can lead to building a client base.
Linkedin groups are a great place to start discussions about topics where you can lend your expert opinion. Jumping into the discussion at any time can help build your credibility and status within the group and your industry. It’s a great place to let the other members know about upcoming retreats, webinars, seminar or teleclasses. In this way, you can attract sign ups and funnel interested parties into your services.
The Linkedin search function is a very powerful way to get ‘discovered’ by people needing your products and services. Be sure to optimize your profile with keywords in the title of your profile and to customize your URL with your name or brand. While the popularity of Facebook is growing among the general population, Linkedin is attracting more business people than ever before. If business people are what you seek, then you’re starting in the right place.
Having easy to see and understand ‘follow me’ icons can greatly increase your social networking followers and help your visibility on the web. Many websites use them, but often they aren’t updated or in a place where they are easy to find. The example above is from a website where the icons are almost the first thing you see – placed correctly in the top right hand sidebar area just above the opt-in form.
The eyes naturally gravitate towards the top right corner of a website as we are reading the content, so it is a highly visible place for these icons. I’ve often seen them in the footer area as well, but this is an area seen very little by most visitors. Why are follow me icons so important? They give your visitors an opportunity to learn more about you and stay updated about your business without having to use their email to sign up for something. People are becoming more and more reluctant to sign up for newsletters because of the overwhelming amount of email they already get and, of course, the increasing amount of spam.
Social network following also gives people the chance to ask you questions without having to conduct it through email. Social networking gives you a ‘forum’ for all of your followers to get together and talk among themselves while you share important content with them. Building this kind of following is easier when your icons are visible and in good shape.
Use the free WordPress plug-ins “Sociable” and “Floating Social Icons” to increase your popularity online. There are many other plug-ins available so experiment and have fun! Learn more about how social media and social sharing can increase your online success.
Facebook groups are popular. So popular in fact, that joining them and carrying on a discussion with the members can add a ton of traffic to your own Facebook page and website.
Networking is a good thing, but most people don’t know how to do it. I see far too many posts that are not engagement driven: quotes, infographics, etc… but very few ask questions, encourage debate or place value on the opinions of others.
Most groups of Facebook are topic driven. Those topics fuel passion in the members. That’s the element to proper networking and engagement that can help drive traffic to your resources. Anytime you see a conversation blooming, get in on it. Don’t be a bystander. Put in your two-cents worth and make your opinion count. It could be the information that the members have been looking for and gives real worth to being a part of the group.
Networking and social groups get boring if there’s nothing going on. Light the fire underneath the members and get the conversation started.
Twitter is great for marketers, but it’s not OK to sell directly to your followers. No one wants to be spammed to death with affiliate ads for junk they don’t need.
A better way is to lead your followers down a path to great content so that they learn from you and build your expert status. Linking to content that your followers find helpful will increase your ‘good will’ value and guarantee that they will not mind clicking on the links that you provide.
At the end of the content – a blog post, video or online article – you can have an opt-in form that will promise even more great content for them. At this point, they mind very little about having to ‘sign in’ to get more information, helping you build that all-important email list. Twitter has worked great for this kind of conversions because it focuses on the delivery of quality content sharing and less of a salesy and pushy attitude which is commonly frowned upon in social media.
Being a ‘resource’ is the goal for your Twitter duties. Any content you link to can be used to build trust and credibility. Once you have the undivided attention of your followers, they will reward you with their information that you can use to market to them over and over again.
Showcase your business with LinkedIn Company Pages.
Company Pages connect your business with millions of professionals. It’s the centralized location where millions of LinkedIn members can stay in the loop on your company news, products & services, business opportunities, and job openings.
Spread the word
Easily post status updates, stay top of mind with your followers, build up product/service recommendations, and promote career opportunities through your LinkedIn Company Page.
- Status updates allow you to engage directly with existing customers and prospects. Spread the word about company news or offers, start a conversation around a hot topic in your industry, or share an interesting article or video.
- Customer recommendations provide an authentic endorsement of your products and services, making it easy for prospective customers to feel confident about doing business with you.
- Career opportunities can be showcased, along with spotlighted employees and a view into your company’s culture.
Develop meaningful engagement
Use analytics to find out who’s visiting your page, who’s attracted to your company, and what visitors and followers are interested in learning about you. Use these insights to hone your messages, drive more traffic to your page, and create new leads & customers.
You’ve probably seen them. Many organizations have discussion boards, AKA forums, where people can post questions and other people visiting the site who are interested in the topic, service or marketing idea, can answer the questions or jump into the discussion.
There are “moderated” discussion boards and “unmoderated” ones. Unmoderated ones are a little more risky, but not too risky for our type of clientele. They are risky in the fact that someone can get on there and start cursing, writing nasty things, or saying all kinds of crazy things. Unless you delete it, it would be broadcast to all the people that stopped by. Therefore, that could be a little dangerous.
A “moderated” discussion board is controlled by you or the moderator. The questions come into you and then you forward them to your members and filter out any ridiculous stuff. You could also change this slightly to be an “Ask the Expert” section of your site, which is probably more appropriate. You would invite questions and then answer them as the expert.
The Internet has been notorious for offering free things, so you really have to give a lot to get the kind of money that I’m getting back. I’m always happy to answer simple questions for people and I get emails by the zillions on many topics. I try to respond graciously and as fast as I can, so many of these people turn into customers or hire me. “Ask the Expert” is the type of discussion board that works well for most businesses.
If you want an outside solution here are some possibilities:
http://www.phpbb.com/ This is one of the most popular and many website hosts give this to you for free and you can install it yourself through Cpanel and Fantastico.
Discussion boards can bring real value to your website and works even better with a membership site where you can sell access to the board through a monthly subscription.
Reach a World-Wide Audience with Podcasting
If you are thinking about adding new tools to your marketing strategy, consider podcasting. Here’s why:
It’s fast. You can record audio from practically anywhere and then publish it to share with subscribers with just a few clicks of the mouse.
It’s cheap. You don’t need any expensive equipment to get started. If you have a microphone and an Internet connection, you can start podcasting.
It’s convenient. People who sign-up to automatically receive your new podcast episodes can listen to the podcasts on any computer or portable media player. Because of the method of delivery, subscribers to a podcast don’t have to listen to the episode when it was broadcasted live. Instead, they can listen to the new episode whenever it is convenient. In addition, subscribing is free.
It has unlimited reach. Podcasting makes it possible to reach everyone who wants to hear what you have to say. It gives you the power to distribute your message to a worldwide audience.
You can make money directly. Besides the notoriety and customer loyalty you can get from Podcasting, if you get enough listenership, you can sell ads and or get sponsorships for your Podcast.
What will you talk about in your podcast?
Now that you know why podcasting is good for your business, you may be wondering what topics to feature in your podcasts. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Do a demo on how to use one of your products.
2. Announce upcoming classes or new services.
3. Invite customers to call in testimonials and include them in your podcast.
4. Interview an expert on a topic related to your business or industry.
5. Present some tips from your e-zine.
Here’s how to produce your first podcast.
1. Create your audio or video content. The content can be anything you like, including audio books, music, radio type shows, interviews and demonstrations.
2. Record your content. IMTC recommends Sony SoundForge on the PC and GarageBand on the Mac.
3. Save your recording. Save the completed recording at maximum quality in the native high quality format of your application. Then, if you need to edit it or reuse it, you’ll have the original high-quality version.
4. Convert the file to MP3 format. Once you have your content, convert it to a MP3 format. If you use anything other than MP3, some users may not be able to use your podcast. (Keep in mind that you can vary the quality of an MP3 file. The higher the quality, the higher the file size)
As with any business presentation, include a specific call to action in your podcasts. The call to action may be to register for a seminar, webinar, download a report, request more product information, order a product or visit your website.
Video marketing is a powerful way to drive prospects to your web properties. Youtube, Facebook and Twitter are favorites among those who like to shoot and share videos to help spread the word. Some problems are fairly common, however: there’s no time for shooting, some people are wary of being on camera and often it’s difficult to think of what things to talk about.
Here are some ideas that can help:
* Use http://www.animoto.com to create quick and easy ‘slideshow’ videos with music and animation. You can use your own text and music selections to make an informative video.
* Get testimonials from your customers. Not only is this a powerful way to sell yourself to others, it keeps you from thinking of what to say and keeps you off camera.
* Man on the Street Interviews. Go out in public and ask random people how they feel about particular topics related to your business. Be sure to get permission from anyone you film that it’s OK to post their video online.
* Take any webinars you have hosted or seminars you may have presented at and use any recorded footage for short videos. Simply edit them down into small, informative chunks and upload to Youtube.
* Makes videos of yourself in ‘informal’ situations such as parties, at the mall, at the beach and seminars. It’s OK to have a bunch of videos that are ‘candid’. They all don’t have to be major productions with lights and make-up. Use these to give quick tips to your viewers about the things you see everyday.
Making excuses will keep you from using video as a money-making tool. Take a look at Youtube and see all of the various ways people use video to get their messages across. They are rarely big productions that take a lot of time and effort. Most are very basic, simple and candid, yet still deliver exciting and informative messages to your audience. Remember: just have fun!
IMTC has a number of great classes on Video Marketing. Get a free brochure that explains it all.
Here are some other clever ways to get additional views of your videos: Share them on your social networking profiles – Every social networking site now makes it easy for you to share videos with your friends. Facebook lets you upload videos directly from your computer to your Wall for everyone to see. You can tag your friends by typing their names in the ‘tag your friends’ feature, so they will get a notification to watch the video. You can also just copy and paste the URL to your Youtube video right into the status update of your Wall and it will play on the Wall.
Copy and pasting a video URL in a Twitter tweet will make it play on the new sidebar area of your profile. People can watch the video right on Twitter without leaving to go to Youtube, but it still counts as a view. No matter what social network is your favorite: MySpace, Orkut, Flickr, Bebo, Squidoo or Ning, they all have the ability to share videos with your friends.
Blogging – No matter what blogging platform you use: Blogger, WordPress, TypePad or a self hosted blog on your website, there a number of ways to share your videos on your blogs. Putting them in the posts instead of writing text all of the time livens up your blog and gives it a different dynamic over text alone. You can simply use the embed code that every Youtube video provides and paste it into the HTML tab of your post, then hit ‘publish.’ That’s
To find the embed code, click the ‘share’ button just underneath of any video and then click on ’embed.’ Copy and paste the code into your blog posts, sidebar widgets on WordPress and on any web page. (Use the Facebook and Twitter icons above the code to recommend the video to your friends too!)
Sharing videos is only one way to get a ton of views. What else do you need to know?