Both sites have been around for years, have millions of monthly visitors and are easy to use. Both have the option to upgrade a free account to a paid account so you can get faster approval and featured status, but you can get great exposure without the investment.

When you submit your content, you may want to tweak the title and make sure the content is not overly self-promotional. EzineArticles will reject articles with promotional links in the body.

You’ll also need to create an Author Resource box with contact info, a call to action and a link back to your blog or landing page.

Both sites give you the option to have links to your new articles syndicated to your social sites.

#2: Reformat for Document-sharing Sites

Document-sharing sites cater to those who want to share and read documents as PDF, Word docs or slides. Scribd, for example, has tens of millions of readers every month who read and download documents from the site. The advantage here is that you can embed links and images in your documents, unlike some of the article sites that don’t accommodate images.

Docstoc.com, another popular site, gives you the tools to sell your professional documents as well as give them away for free.

Again, it is super-simple to distribute your content. Copy your blog post into a Word doc; make sure it’s nicely formatted; add your author bio with a call to action and link(s) to your blog, site and/or free reports; then convert to PDF. Upload and you’re done.

A cool feature on some doc-sharing sites like Scribd, Docstoc and others, is the ability to embed your documents on web pages and blogs. This gives readers an easy way to share your content and again extend your reach to new audiences.

Scribd and other document-sharing sites let fans embed and share your content on their own sites.

Here are three more document-sharing sites:

#3: Record an Audio Version of Your Post

I’m seeing more and more bloggers create audio versions of their blog posts. This is not difficult to do and gives your audience an additional way to consume your wisdom.

Not everyone likes to read, so create a podcast and you extend your reach even further. There are dozens of podcast directories, and of course the heavyweight is iTunes.

About 13% (27 million) of U.S. Internet users listen to podcasts so this is an audience you don’t want to overlook. They may never find your blog, but they’re using iTunes to find content.

You don’t need to be a recording star to create a decent audio of your blog post. I recommend Audacity, for free recording software. You’ll need to host your mp3 audio files on the web and create a podcast feed. Some options are Podbean or Feedburner if you post the audio on your blog.

Once the podcast feed is created, submit it to iTunes (and any other podcast directory you wish). To submit to iTunes, go to the iTunes Store, navigate to the Podcasts directory, and click on the Submit a Podcast link.

The information you’ll need to have on hand when you’re ready to submit your podcast includes: title of your “show” (the collection of audio posts you’ll be creating from your blog), description, keywords, category, and if possible, a graphic image or logo for your show.

Once you have the podcast feed created and submitted to iTunes, then it’s simply a matter of recording each blog post. I suggest a two-step approach to distributing the audio: 1) add the audio to your blog post so people can read or listen on your blog as they prefer and 2) add to your podcast feed so people can download to their mp3 player and listen on the go.

Add an audio version of your blog post to reach a bigger audience.

TIP: when you record your blog post, make sure to add a call to action or invitation to visit your blog along with your name and URL of the blog.

Much of this work can be done by a virtual assistant, especially submitting your article/document to the various sites. You write and record the post, provide the info: title, description and keywords, then have your assistant do the formatting and submissions.

Articles, PDFs and audio posts each provide an opportunity for you to reach new audiences. Now you’ve got at least three more paths from high-traffic sites leading back to your home base.

How many ways are you leveraging your blog posts? These are just three examples. What other formats have you found to effectively repurpose and distribute your blog content? >

From the Team at WebWitches

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5 Rules for Professional Social Networking Success

July 4, 2010

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YouTube Traffic

March 12, 2010

YouTube is one of the most popular sites and in addition to all the fun there, YouTube offers many opportunities for promotion and getting traffic to your site. Similarly to Facebook and Twitter, in order to use YouTube successfully for promotion and getting traffic, you need to know the rules for this. Here are some tips how to promote yourself, your site, and your products and how to get free traffic from YouTube:

1 Post viral videos

There are millions of videos on YouTube. If you post a video nobody is interested in, this video will go unnoticed, as millions of other videos. The clue to getting traffic from YouTube is to post useful videos, or even better – viral videos. Viral videos are not only useful videos, but they also tend to appeal to large groups of people. If your video manages to get viral, people will promote it for you and the only thing left for you is to reap the benefits.

2 Create an interesting profile

Similarly to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking site, an interesting profile is a must. If people like your videos, they will check your profile to learn more about you. When they see that your profile is boring, they won’t bother more with you. You can make your profile a bit informal but don’t make it as if it were the profile of a crazy teenager – you are using YouTube for business, right?

3 Include your logo and website in the video

Your logo and your website URL are your major branding weapons. This is why you must include them in the video. You can include them in the beginning of the video or at the end. It is best to have your logo and URL throughout the whole video because this way you will be gaining lots of exposure but if you can’t do it (for instance because of artistic considerations), the beginning and the end of the video will suffice.

4 Post quality videos

As already mentioned, there is no shortage of videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, this also means there is no shortage of videos with poor quality. These videos are not favored by viewers, so if you want viewers to watch your videos, make sure that your videos don’t have crappy sound and/or blurred pictures. YouTube is not a board for professional videographers, so you can post amateur videos, but make sure their quality is decent.

5 Promote your videos

If your videos get viral, you are lucky but you can’t count on this. In order to get YouTube traffic, your videos need viewers. You can’t rely solely on the fact that viewers will find your videos – you need to promote them. Even viral videos will benefit from a promotion by you.

6 Make your videos search-friendly

One of the ways viewers find your videos is through search – both locally on YouTube and on search engines. This is why you need to make your videos search-friendly. To do this, include your major keywords in the title and in the descriptions. Also, pay special attention to the tags. List as many keywords as relevant in the tags, but beware that you don’t get spammy.

7 Post in series

Standalone videos can become a hit but it is best if you create series of videos and post them once a day/week. This way viewers will know that there will be more and they will be coming to check. Even if you don’t create series, at least try to post videos regularly – this builds audience loyalty.

8 Post video responses

Video responses are one of the unique things about YouTube and you should take full advantage of it. Search your niche, choose the most popular videos in your niche and post video responses to them. Just be careful that the response you post is related to the video you are responding to and don’t make your video response a blatant self-promotion.

9 Choose the right time to post your videos

On YouTube, timing is very important because there are peaks in traffic and times when there are not so many viewers. Weekdays (especially Wednesdays and above all – Thursdays) morning or early afternoon US time is the best time to post a general interest video. In order to have your video uploaded in the prime time, you need to plan a bit. Have in mind that for large videos and/or slow Internet connections the upload could take you an hour, so start early.

10 Keep your videos short

YouTube doesn’t impose limits on the length of videos it publishes but generally long videos are boring. 3 to 5 minutes is the best duration for a video but if required you could go from 1 to 6 minutes. When a video is longer than 6 or 7 minutes, this gets boring and not many people will watch it to the end (where your logo and URL are to be found). 3 to 5 minutes is enough to lay your idea, give some details AND tell viewers to visit your site for more.

11 Comment on other people’s videos and include a link to your site in your comment

In addition to video responses, you can also use plain good comments. Again, search for popular videos in your niche and comment on them. If your comments are liked by viewers, they will check your profile and probably watch your videos.

YouTube is a valuable resource to drive traffic to your site and to promote it. The competition there might be fierce, but there is always room for a couple of good videos. Fill this room before your competitors do!

From the Team at WebWitches

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Five steps to becoming highly infectious on Twitter

March 10, 2010

You’re tweeting mad if you’ve missed the short-term and long-term benefits that a social media platform like Twitter can create for your business and personal brands.

Some may even call you a tweethead. Those people aren’t very nice but here’s what is nice: generating new clients with minimal consistent output.

If you’re tired of utilising haphazard techniques to marketing virally through this monstrous medium, fear not! Help is at hand.

Here are my five steps to becoming highly infectious on Twitter and how to benefit from WofM (word of mouth marketing).

1. Select your poison

Your poison is the message you decide to deliver, it is your angle on a particular topic, your personality, your comedic relief, your professionalism, your enthusiasm and the quality of your content.

What do you want to be known for? Be very clear. Think of yourself as a celebrity or a musician that becomes known for a specific type of genre. Why would people want to follow you? Is it because you have something interesting to say? Or is it because of your sharp wit teamed up with educational information that your consumers can actually use?

Share content with your follower’s that is practical in nature and engages their emotions. Never underestimate the power of chemistry to spark WofM. People will talk about you if you pleasantly surprise them, make them angry or get them to feel excited or even sad. Move them emotionally and they’ll move your message virally.

2. Choose your apps

Out of the thousands of apps you can team up with your Twitter account, I keep coming back to a couple of key ones. They are TweetDeck and Social Oomph. TweetDeck allows me to track what is being re-tweeted and who is spreading my message across the web, whereas Social Oomph allows me to schedule my tweets in advance and manage my output to a few short hours per month with maximum results.

Choose your apps carefully. It will be greatly dictated by your working style and your main objectives.

3. Get Re-Tweeted

Dan Zarrella, a social media and viral marketing scientist, studied The Science of ReTweets. Out of 84,000 re-tweets, here’s what he discovered:

  • The term “RT” was utilised in 86.79 percent of the ReTweets and the term “ReTweet” was only utilised 13.21% of the time.
  • The word ‘please’ occurred in over 5 percent of the ReTweets.
  • 69.05 percent of the ReTweets contained links to an external site whereas 30.95 percent of them contained no link at all.

As you can see from the data, it is not only important to say “please RT” but to also add relevant links where possible. Write articles and post them up on your website’s blog and then proceed to promote the blog article via Twitter posts. Shorten your urls so you can fit your article headline in the post. TweetDeck has an application for this. This can be a substantial driver of traffic to your website. My own Twitter account can drive over one hundred hits to my website within five minutes when applied in this way. Don’t dismiss Twitter as another fad. It has the power to move the masses.

4. Consistency. Are you a Cher, Madonna, Tina Turner or a Richard Branson type — or do you give up like Sarah Palin?

How consistent are you? Like any marketing campaign, you must be consistent in your message to gain traction and engagement. If you plan to use Twitter as a tool then it needs to be used consistently to gain visibility.

Have you ever read Madonna’s bio? That woman doesn’t give up and neither should you. If you aren’t getting results, wear a cone bra! Or, alternatively, you could take a different approach and test your Twitter campaign. Testing and measuring is important. You can’t fix what you don’t know is going wrong. Something Sarah Palin should probably learn.

“Oh, no you didn’t!” Oh, yes I did!

5. Don’t be a Wallflower

Take a lesson in public relations from Lady Gaga. She works the media like no one else and like Gaga you need to learn how to work your Twitter followers. Adding a dose of controversy to your Twitter posts results in immediate reactions, sometimes positive and sometimes negative.

The trick with controversy is to put it into context. If you do plan to comment on something highly sensitive, do your research and be prepared to back it up with statistical evidence or an inarguable debate. Nothing gets people speaking more than a topic close to their heart and there is nothing more mentally stimulating than a healthy debate. Debate creates change and, in your case, could convert clients.

Write an article that is controversial within your profession and post it on your website, promote it via twitter and get individuals to have the debate on your platform and on your turf. Who knows, they may just agree with your point of view and defend you against other critics. Now there’s a diehard fan worth taking to the bank.

Ben Angel is the author of the brand new controversial book, ‘Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing More Customers.’ Grab your copy today by visiting www.benangel.com.au

From the Team at WebWitches

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5 Ways to Improve Your Website

March 4, 2010

vintage_comp.jpgWebsites are almost like business cards, everyone has one and they aren’t afraid to hand out the URL at every available opportunity. But unlike business cards, websites need ongoing attention and care.

A poor online experience from a potential client can equal a loss in sales, which means a loss in dollars. Luckily there are five simple things you can do to ensure your website is up to scratch.

1. Have a content style guide for people to refer to

How are your authors (or you!) going to keep your content consistent if there is no central point of truth for preferred spelling, punctuation or referencing.

Writing for the web is not like writing for traditional communication collateral like brochures, fact sheets and publications. Even if you are a professional communicator, make sure you learn or brush up on your web writing skills before tackling a big web project.

3. Don’t underestimate the resources required to run a website

Websites are not a set and forget communication tool. They require tweaking, testing and reviewing on a regular basis. Content does go stale, and search engines like maintained pages.

And don’t for a minute think that social media is the easy way to have an online presence. Social media is great – but it can be really, really, really (get the picture) time intensive. If you are going to start a Twitter account for your business, have a plan and set aside some time each day to connect.

4. Don’t start a blog if you’re not going to write posts

Blogs are really easy to start, not so easy to keep going. If it’s unlikely you can stick to a regular post schedule, think about other ways you can improve your content instead.

If you do start a blog, you have to commit to maintaining it. Mind map out a few months of posts so that you are not staring at blank page a month in. This also helps prevent you using up all your good ideas in your first few posts.

5. Be easy to contact

If you have a contact form or email address, make sure it’s monitored! People expect a fast turn-around on the web, and while you shouldn’t have to check your messages 24/7, make sure you are easy to contact. Also, make sure you reply to all the emails you receive (spam not included of course), not just the ones that look interesting. Even if you can’t help the person, a short, polite email thanking them for taking the time to contact you is important.

Remember, the web can be simple and cost effective, but that doesn’t mean it should be cheap. Invest in some time and resources to make the most of the medium, and you’ll reap the benefits.

From the Team at WebWitches

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How One Man Used Social Media to Raise $91,000 for Charity

March 3, 2010

How One Man Used Social Media to Raise $91,000 for Charity

By Casey Hibbard
Published March 2, 2010

social media case studiesThe Big 4-0. For most, turning 40 inspires something big.

For Danny Brown, it wasn’t a sports car, Vegas trip or marathon run. He was inspired to set a different challenge for himself—to bring people together and raise money for worthy causes.  And the response was very unexpected…

To celebrate his 40th, Brown and his wife spent a few days at Niagara Falls. Taking a break at a local café, they noticed an elderly woman come in by herself and order ice cream.

Brown wondered about her story.

After he and his wife headed home, Brown couldn’t stop thinking about the lonely-looking woman in the café—and regretted not talking with her.

“Everyone in social media talks about how we need to connect and open up,” Brown says. “I couldn’t make that connection to the lady we saw in the restaurant. We forget human connections offline. I wanted to make sure that if someone needs help or just a little bit of company, that people are reaching out to them.”

That a-ha moment kicked off a project that has since raised nearly $100,000 to date—reaching countless people.

Organization:

Social Media Stats:

Results:

  • A 12-hour Tweet-a-Thon raised $15,500 for Share Our Strength.
  • Traffic at 12for12k.org increased by 4000% during the Tweet-a-Thon.
  • A Twitter avatar “frame” helped bring in 3,600 followers.
  • 12for12k.org raised $91,275 for charities in 2009—all with volunteers.

One Man, No Budget

Brown launched the 12for12k Challenge, an initiative to bring social media communities together to help people offline in 2009. For years, Brown has worked in corporate communications and social media for companies like British Telecom. Currently, he’s the social media strategist for Maritz Canada.

Brown’s challenge takes the power of social media to the nonprofit world. “I know quite a few people offline who do charity work and the struggle is administrative costs,” he says. “I knew social media could offer a wider audience for far less investment.”

The 12for12k Challenge set an ambitious goal: raise $12,000 monthly for 12 months for 12 different charities—with no budget (the only costs were the website and hosting, which Brown paid for out of pocket).

His vision: Solely rely on social media to spread the word and raise donations for a featured charity each month. Then, 100% of donations go to the charity.

When word spread of Brown’s plans, his contacts and their contacts lined up to help. There may not be funds, but ideas, persistence and passion are the currency of social media anyway. In that regard, more than a dozen core 12for12k volunteers made it a “rich” initiative.

Four Cornerstones of the Campaign

Danny Brown launched the 12for12k.org site after an experience left him wondering “just how social we are.”

First, they set ground rules. Each supported nonprofit must operate with no more than 10% administrative costs, be a registered charity, and accept donations via PayPal or credit card.

Social media activity drives people directly to the 12for12k.org website to learn more and donate via ChipIn, a Flash widget that shows a running total of donations. Donations go directly to each nonprofit’s bank account.

About half a dozen volunteers joined Brown in generating updates on 12for12k’s four social media cornerstones of the campaign: blogging, video, a Facebook group and Twitter. More recently, they started a Ning community.

Updates on the Facebook group focus on featured charities, events and fundraising progress. The organization posts videos on YouTube and Viddler to kick off monthly campaigns and highlight related causes, such as homelessness.

Additionally, about 30 blog partners take Brown’s messages to their audiences.

Danny Brown prepares to kick off the 12 Days of Christmas Homeless Push in December.

One Cause Nets $15,500 Via a Tweet-a-Thon

danny brownTaking advantage of Twitter’s viral capabilities, the organization created a Twitter avatar “frame” for followers to include on their profile pictures, which encourages their followers to ask about 12for12k.

Last March, 12for12k featured Share our Strength, a national organization working to make sure no child in America grows up hungry. The organization’s “Pledge to End Hunger” campaign, led by MediaSauce and Kompolt, sought pledges online in response to a challenge from Tyson Foods. For each pledge, Tyson would donate 35 pounds of food or 140 servings.

Scott Stratton of Un-Marketing.com volunteered to help 12for12k host a Tweet-a-Thon for Pledge to End Hunger. For each $12 entry, donors were entered into a drawing to win one of about 20 prizes, such as an iPod Touch, Amazon Kindle 2, Flip video camera, gift cards, Nintendo Wii Fit and jewelry. A purchase of 10 entries automatically earned donors a free website review.

With entry fees and raffle prizes, the effort hoped to raise $12,000 in just 12 hours.

Scott Stratton of Un-Marketing.com donated his time and ideas for 12for12k.org’s Tweet-a-Thon for Pledge to End Hunger.

Supporters of 12for12k and Share our Strength, and hundreds of other friends and supporters, Tweeted away all day, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The resulting response exceeded Brown’s and Pledge to End Hunger’s expectations. They hit their goal of $12,000 much faster than 12 hours – in just five-and-a-half hours.

Online Strategies for Offline Benefit

1. Share your vision
Don’t go it alone. Take your big idea to your current friends, fans and followers.

2. Set a time limit
People often don’t act unless there are limits or a specific goal. Set a short timeframe or hard numbers to reach.

3. Understand your audience
Brown analyzes site traffic for geography, income levels, ethnicity and gender to make future plans.

4. Keep it credible
People can be leery about contributing online. Set guidelines for nonprofits to feature and funnel funds directly to them.

“Honestly, I was shocked,” said Jeff Wiedner, director of community engagement at Share Our Strength. “I had a feeling that the timing was right for our mission and, since Scott knew so many people, that we’d do pretty well, but I never expected how quickly we reached that $12,000 target.”

When all was said and done, the total reached $15,549 for Share Our Strength, which pushed donations beyond monthly averages for the nonprofit. But the impact extends well beyond the actual donations.

“We got attention from folks like Mashable, Chronicle of Philanthropy and other media,” Wiedner said. “That led to more folks knowing about SOS and our mission, which led to a bump in our online community, which led to greater interactions with our community and building out of other campaigns later with other bloggers. There were some additional corporations that learned about us, too, as our reach grew.”

Share Our Strength Tweet-a-ThonA total of 477 contributors raised $15,549 for Share Our Strength during a 12-hour Tweet-a-Thon.

4000% Traffic Increase

Brown turns to analytics tools Woopra and Quantcast for detailed measurement of traffic on the 12for12k.org site. With those, he not only knows traffic numbers but where they live, their income level, average spending, ethnicity and gender—letting him tailor content and events to his audience.

In March, the site was “hammered” with a 4000% increase in traffic in a 12-hour period because of the Pledge to End Hunger Tweet-a-Thon.

Yet the most important metrics for 12for12k don’t require fancy measurement tools. In 2009, the initiative fell short of its goal of $12,000 every month. But it still raised $91,275 that all went directly to charities and the people they help.

More importantly, Brown did so without any organizational budget, on the side of his day job.

Well into 2010, he still hasn’t stopped. In fact, the momentum of last year has inspired him to do more. Plus, he’s intent on continuing to support the charities of 2009 as he can with exposure and social media help, if needed.

Year two began by featuring Hope for Haiti, bringing in $8,000 so far from 140 contributors.

Brown wants to expand by enlisting sponsors, hosting more events and focusing on three charities each quarter, rather than one each separate month. This year’s theme, “connect globally, help locally” will encourage people to do more in their own communities.

“A lot of people don’t do anything because they’re just one person,” Brown said. “If you think you can’t help financially, help a local charity in your city understand how to use social media to tell their story. Ask a charity what you can offer them.”

What do you think about this story?  Have you seen any great examples of social media impacting nonprofits in your community? What are they doing well?

From the Team at WebWitches

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Think carefully about the content you publish

March 3, 2010

If your company depends on the business generated from your website – and let’s face it, most do to some extent nowadays – then the content you publish should be of paramount importance to you, as it is representative of all you stand for, in relaying your message and brand to your customers (and potential customers). Therefore, it is crucial that you don’t overlook this when spending a substantial amount of time and money creating the best-looking and most interactive website in your industry.

Your web content is the main reason users will visit your site and so your level of success can rise or fall depending on what is on your pages. If you want to remain in business and generate your fair share of site traffic, you need to remember that content is important and therefore should be considered very carefully.

To do this you may wish to provide interesting information about your products/services through a blog, becoming a strong resource for the latest news and happenings in your industry sector. You can also generate discussion on your blog and provide advice and guidance to your site’s users.

Think carefully about the quality (and quantity) of content on your site and you should start to notice a positive change in site traffic volumes, with users encouraged to visit your site on a regular basis.

Daniel Higginbotham
Content Writer

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How to Better Engage Facebook Fan Page ‘Fans’

January 27, 2010

How to Better Engage Facebook Fan Page ‘Fans’

By Mari Smith
Published January 26, 2010

A compelling, active Facebook fan page should be an integral part of your marketing plans. With its 350 million users and average daily session time of 25 minutes, Facebook provides an exceptional opportunity for visibility, Google indexing, live search ability, and fan engagement—whether you’re a solopreneur, a large brand or anywhere in between.

But, if you build it, will they come? And if they come, will they stay and engage?

There are two primary components to Facebook fan page engagement: 1) Sharing quality, relevant content and 2) inciting comments.  In this article I’ll tell you how to best engage with Facebook fans.

Of course, there are many other components of effective Facebook fan pages and Facebook marketing in general. However, for the purposes of this two-part post, we’ll focus on content and comments. The more comments you have, the more viral visibility and free marketing you’ll create. But your fans have to have something to comment on!

Share Quality, Relevant Content – Daily

TechCrunch recently posted a Facebook fan page study by Sysomos that revealed 77 percent of fan pages have fewer than 1,000 fans. What stood out for me in that post was this fact: “Facebook fan pages tend to be updated only once every 16 days.

TechCrunch goes on to say, “On Twitter, you follow someone because you want to hear what they have to say. On Facebook, you fan them just to show your support or affinity. Too often, it’s a throwaway gesture.”

While this may be true for many Facebook members and fan pages, I see a lively fan page as an extension of your blog and business – a place where you can generate real community and further solidify your brand.

calendar

1) How Often Should You Post?

  • For most fan pages, there is a direct correlation between frequency of posts and number of fans. Frequency is king, but there’s a fine balance – you don’t want to overwhelm your fans.
  • If you’re just starting out with your fan page, I would suggest a minimum of one update per day and increase from there to several times a day (mixing up the types of posts – see below) if you’re getting a good response from your fans.
  • Daily posting (at least Monday through Saturday) should yield daily comments and engagement.
  • You’ll find the right rhythm with your fans. Better to start with once a day than several times a day and have your wall filled with only your own posts.
  • Also, keep in mind high traffic windows. Depending on your time zone and the time zone of the majority of your fans, you’ll probably want to post sometime between 8:15am PST and 2:00pm PST.

2) What to Post

  • I recommend a mix of your own thoughts, breaking news, useful tips, tools, resources and links from other sites in your industry and related industries. Stay on topic, stay focused.
  • You could create an editorial calendar for your fan page just like many bloggers do.
  • If you’re not sure what content your fans want, ask them – in a poll or status update.
  • If your fan base is small and still growing, ask your Twitter followers, Facebook friends, email list, and blog subscribers. They are all potential fans. (See related post: 5 Ways to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page).

In this screen shot of Volkswagen’s Facebook Fan Page, photos from a recent auto show yielded 363 likes and 68 comments and a video trailer got 121 likes and 25 comments. These are great results, as every one of the fan actions created a post on their respective walls and out into their friends’ news feeds. Free visibility, and every line item has a link back to VW’s fan page.

volkswagen on facebook

3) Sourcing Quality Content

4) Cultivating Your Style

  • Most people will come back to your fan page if there’s a real sense of community.
  • It’s important to be open, inviting, warm, friendly and personable. Even if you’re a large brand.
  • Starbucks leads the way with engagement – you might observe their style for ideas. Though they use their globally recognized logo, you’ll occasionally see posts in first person. I think this is commendable, as it really creates that personal feel so important to social networks.

starbucks on facebook

5) Mix Up the Types of Posts

Text

This is your standard status update. You get 420 characters in the publisher to say what you want. As long as you don’t have a link in the update, the post automatically changes your latest Status Update at the top.

I highly recommend using the Facebook fan page to Twitter app at http://facebook.com/twitter. You simply link your fan page to your Twitter account, then choose which posts to share as tweets (Status Updates, Photos, Links, Notes, Events). You may need to experiment to get this just right.

Your posts will automatically truncate at around 120 characters and include a bit.ly link back to your fan page. Regardless of the number of characters, the tweet always contains the bit.ly link. Here’s an example of an update I posted for this blog post:

image

image

To track stats on any bit.ly link, just paste it into your browser and add a “+” sign at the end. As of the time of this writing, this post/link had 109 clicks and the post had 23 comments, plus replies on Twitter.

Video

Video is the next best thing to meeting your fans in person. There are many choices for video updates: You talking into the camera, photo montages (try Animoto), screencasts (using software like Camtasia Studio for PC or Mac, or ScreenFlow for Mac).

When you talk into the camera, always make good eye contact with the camera lens – just as if you were chatting to one good friend. You could do a video tip per day or per week. Make sure to keep the length short and the content concise. The ideal length for videos is up to 1 minute and 40 seconds.

You can record directly on Facebook or load a file onto your fan page – see screenshots below:

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Here’s a video upload example from Dell Computer’s Facebook Fan Page – a 41-second ad for their nifty new customizable range of laptops, with 179 likes and 57 comments.

Dell on facebook

Or, you could pull in the video from YouTube as a link (click the Links icon on the publisher) – and this pulls in the live video player just as if you’d loaded the video file as in the example above:

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Photos

Upload relevant pictures periodically and be sure to encourage your fans to upload photos anytime they wish. Each time your fans upload a photo, the thumbnail goes onto their profile wall and out into the news feeds of their friends.

Make sure your settings allow fans to post content. Just to the right under the publisher, click Options, then Settings:

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In the screenshot below, there’s a photo on the Coca-Cola Facebook Fan Page – what’s neat about this photo is it was actually a fan-loaded image that Coca-Cola then reposted using the Share button (a great illustration of how Coca-Cola partnered with their raving fans who created the page).

coca-cola on facebook

Links

  • Anytime you post a link in the publisher, Facebook displays a preview with a choice of thumbnails. (If you’re publishing content from a third-party app like Ping.fm, the thumbnail will be a default view.)
  • You may at times wish to create an actual status update with a link in it, instead of a link with the preview on the wall. Here’s what to do: Before clicking the Share button, simply click the “x” to delete the link preview:

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The post goes out as a status update with a clickable link:

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Events

You can quickly create Event listings right from the publisher for any virtual or live event you have coming up. Fans can easily RSVP, as a regular Event page is created when you publish the event.

@ tags

This is a relatively new feature on Facebook. You can tag any friend, any fan page you’ve joined, any group you’re a member of and any event you’ve RSVPed to attend. You can include up to six @ tags in any update. Use the @ tagging strategically and your post will show up on your friends’ walls and other fan pages’ walls per the tag. (Just type the @ symbol in the publisher and the first letter or two of who/what you want to tag and a list drops down for you to select from.)

Notes app

This app is typically used to import your blog. However, I like the Networked Blogs app, so I actually import the RSS feed of my Twitter Favorites via the Notes app, which makes it easy to push relevant, regular content onto my fan page wall (and into the news feeds of my fans).

Incite Comments

Now that you have a wide variety of regular, quality, relevant content posting on your fan page, here are some points about inciting comments:

  • For status updates, try ending with a question.
  • Add your own comments as needed to get the ball rolling.
  • Come back and reply often to your fans’ comments – Facebook currently doesn’t have threaded commenting, so I suggest addressing specific fans in your comments as @name.
  • Do your best to respond to fan questions as promptly as possible. If you find you can’t keep up with the volume of questions, offer a free teleseminar or webinar in which you answer your fans’ top questions.

Vin Diesel has the second most popular Facebook fan page with well over seven million fans. Vin doesn’t post all that often, but when he does, each post yields tens of thousands of comments and likes. Just like Starbucks, there’s something to learn from Vin’s style – he talks to his fans in a very warm, caring and authentic manner.

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In part two of this Facebook Fan Page Engagement post, I’ll cover:

  1. How to encourage fans to keep coming back to add their own content and comments and ask questions, etc.
  2. Monitoring insights – what do they mean, how to analyze the numbers and adjust your posts accordingly.
  3. Should you also use the “Send an Update to Fans” feature? Do fans read their updates?
  4. How to spark ongoing engagement via the Discussions tab.
  5. Setting up systems for monitoring and responding to your fan engagement, given that there are currently no notifications of activity or RSS feeds to subscribe to on fan pages.
  6. Integrating your Twitter followers and activity into your fan page engagement.

From the Team at WebWitches

Tags: Increase traffic site Internet seo Online internet marketing Online ranking Online seo Learn SEO online SEO Course SEO for Beginners

www.webwitches.com.au

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Five Facebook-Only Strategies For Business Success

January 21, 2010

Five Facebook-Only Strategies For Business Success

By Jason Falls
Published December 29, 2009

It’s hard to find a business participating in social media that isn’t doing something on Facebook. In fact, “I want a Facebook fan page,” has replaced, “I want a company blog,” as the single most heard request from clients in the social media world these days. With 350 million accounts and growing, it’s no wonder.

Facebook is one of my favorite places to recommend for businesses for a lot of reasons. The primary one is that Facebook offers almost of all the various social media tools that companies can apply to their brand.

Facebook allows you to participate without having to spend time or money on your own website. Still, few companies are using Facebook well. One example of a business doing it right is Ernst & Young Human Resources effort (brilliant).  But for every good Facebook presence there’s a brand page we like to call a “campground.” Not because lots of people hang out there, but because all you hear when you visit is crickets.

To give you a leg up on getting smart with Facebook, here are five facebook-only strategies for business success.

1. Drive Off-Line Engagement With Event Postings

Facebook event postings are not just whimsical little calendar items. If you use them correctly, you can drive a veritable viral wave around what your business is doing because people who RSVP, comment or add to the event conversation have their activity posted publicly to their friends.

Here’s an example of an event page on Facebook

The catch is making your events irresistible, making the headline, description and invitation irresistible, then delivering on the off-line experience.

2. Give People Virtual Keepsakes With Photo Tagging

Speaking of events, when you have them, take pictures to post on your fan page. Then create some post-event buzz by inviting attendees to tag themselves in the photos. You won’t be able to tag most people (unless they are Facebook friends with the brand page administrator) but encouraging your attendees to tag themselves and their friends gives you a fun reason to reach out to them after an event.

This serves as a long tail effect of your event, driving your fans back to your fan page or event posting to see their images and further engage with your brand. And as a courtesy, put signage up at the event informing people their pictures may appear on your Facebook page or website.

3. Turn Customer Service Up a Notch With Facebook Discussion Forums

This tip works wonders for companies that don’t have some sort of support forum on their own website. Drive customers to your Facebook forums (called “Discussions” on the brand page tabs) by letting them know they can get support there.

Here’s an example of Jeep’s discussion forum on Facebook

Open up a forum topic for customer support and have someone on your staff check the forum for new issues every hour or so (or more depending upon volume). You’ll immediately give confused or frustrated customers a direct connection to solutions without having to spend a lot of money on complex issue tracking software.

4. Promote Your Page With Super Targeting

While I do not have access to specific data, almost every company I’ve talked to that has placed ads on Facebook has been thrilled with the outcome. The click-through rates have been higher than normal display ads and have had immediate impacts on page traffic.

The great thing about Facebook ads is that when you set them up, you can hyper-target them to the exact audience you’re trying to reach. Age, location, interest… filter your targeting to the specific profile of your target consumer and let Facebook do the rest. Because the ads are served on Facebook pages only, Facebook knows the age, location and interests of the people they serve the ad to. It’s probably the most effective ad targeting system in the world. Take advantage of it.  Here’s 5 more ways to promote your Facebook fan page.

5. Collect Fan Photos and Videos at No Cost

Want your fans to take their picture with your product at various landmarks while traveling? Throw out a cool video contest or activity idea to engage your customers in some fun creativity. No need to hire a developer to pull together fancy code or pay YouTube thousands of dollars for a branded video contest.

Just ask your Facebook fans to upload their entries. Using the commenting tools provided, you can work up some guidelines for judging or just highlight and post the best stuff on your wall to promote the video makers. Even better, by posting appropriate policies and guidelines, you can get permission to use anything uploaded for company advertisements, projects and more. However, you should beware that Facebook has recently implemented some strict promotional rules.  See this post for more on that.

There are lots of other strategies you can use on Facebook to engage your customers and even drive them to your website or other calls to action. These will at least give you some Facebook-exclusive ideas for starters. But these are just my ideas. Please share what you’re doing or your ideas to drive your business on Facebook in the comments.

From the Team at WebWitches

Tags: Increase traffic site Internet seo Online internet marketing Online ranking Online seo Learn SEO online SEO Course SEO for Beginners

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New Study Reveals Facebook Better Than Twitter for Marketers

January 20, 2010

New Study Reveals Facebook Better Than Twitter for Marketers

By Amy Porterfield
Published January 18, 2010

The team at Social Media Examiner recently received a real gold mine of social media insight.  It’s a mega report recently released by MarketingProfs called, “The State of Social Media Marketing.”  This massive report highlights social media usage, strategy and predictions for 2010.  And this article will bring you a small look at some of the findings from this content-rich report.

By the way, MarketingProfs used a three-tiered approach to craft this study, including consulting with a panel of social media experts, surveying more than 5,000 MarketingProfs readers and asking comScore to mine its panel data.  This approach adds greater integrity and scope to the overall results.

#1: What’s “Normal” in Social Media Usage?

How often are marketers posting on some of the most popular social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn?  Here’s a snapshot of the frequency of posts:

  • Twitter: Half of the marketers surveyed reported updating at least once per day. Of those, 20.6% actually update several times per day.
  • Facebook:  The largest group (33.4%) of marketers are updating “weekly.” However, nearly 30% are updating at least once per day.
  • LinkedIn: Only 11.5% update daily with the overall consensus being weekly updates at 25.4%.

What’s hype and what’s fact?

Many of the findings in this report touched on some of the frequent hype-versus-fact dialogue taking place in the social media arena. “Is Twitter more popular than Facebook?” “Do companies with no money use ‘earned’ media the most?” and “Do a lot of followers mean social media success?” are some of the questions addressed in the results.

Who has higher usage stats, Facebook or Twitter?

If you look at the overall number of users, both corporate and consumer (with the exception of certain industries), Facebook comes out ahead of Twitter.

Here are some facts:

The average minutes per visitor on Facebook in 2009 was 182.8 versus only 25.6 on Twitter. According to MarketingProfs, “Part of why time spent on Twitter is so much less than time spent on Facebook has much to do with the design of these sites. Facebook encourages users to aggregate external content on Facebook to be viewed within the network, while Twitter encourages users to link externally, viewing content outside of the network.”

Also, about half of all marketers report that their employers or clients actively maintain a corporate Facebook account, while 42.8% reported their employers or clients maintain a Twitter site.

Who’s using “free” media? Based on the results of the study, “free” media, also known as “earned” media, is not just for small businesses with no money to spend. The data shows that “it takes money to build and staff earned media marketing materials. The word ‘free’ belongs in quotations for a reason,” says MarketingProfs.

This compares “earned media” usage against annual corporate revenue. Surprisingly it shows a steady usage amount across many of the “earned media” tactics, showing that annual corporate revenues are not necessarily a driving factor for “earned media” usage.

“Comparing earned media use against annual corporate revenue, we find a remarkably steady usage amount across many of these tactics. Private communities, share tools, SEO and email have nearly identical amounts of usage across all these levels of annual revenue. Those taking in less than $10 million do tend to rely more heavily on public online communities and blogs, while companies with lots of cash are more likely to invest in PR and viral videos. However, it is surprising how consistent usage is across all these categories.”

Do follower counts really matter?

According to the stats, there are three types of Twitter users, the two primary types being “those that value massive follower counts and those that want a very specific set of people to follow them.” And MarketingProfs points out that a third type of Twitter users might be those that want a lot of followers but have no clue how to get them.

This shows how the number of followers reported by corporate Twitter users is distributed. The steep curves shows that some users care about the quantity of followers while others care more about the quality of followers.

Although the report did not touch on the number of fans on corporate Facebook fan pages, it did report on corporate Facebook accounts and the number of friends associated with them.  Based on the results, only 6% of Facebook fan pages had 2,000 friends or more.

This shows the number of Facebook friends reported by corporate users. Similar to the Twitter graph above, there is a steep curve. This curve shows that very few marketers (only 6%) have been able to reach the 2,000 friend mark, meaning most marketers fall well below this mark.

#2:  Social Media Strategies: The Good, Bad & Ugly

On Twitter, the two tactics tried the most were 1) driving sales by linking to promotional web pages (72.1% tried it) and 2) driving traffic by linking to marketing web pages (54.2% tried it).

On Facebook, the two tactics tried the most were 1) driving traffic to corporate materials with status updates (55.3%) and 2) “friending” recent customers with corporate Facebook profiles (39.2%).

Here’s what you really need to know from the report:  The least-tried tactics often seem to work the best (something to consider next time you plan a social media campaign!).

Here are some interesting factoids revealed when marketers were asked the following:

  • Monitoring Twitter for PR problems in real time? While only 50.8% actually tried it, 74.8% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”
  • Inviting Twitter users with positive brand tweets to do something? 33.2% tried it, 72.1% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”
  • Contacting Twitter users tweeting negatively about the brand? 22.4% tried it, 72.3% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”
  • Creating an in-person event using only Twitter invites? 13.5% tried it, 71.8% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”
  • Using Facebook user data to profile your customers’ demos or interests? 25% tried it, 73.1% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”
  • Creating a Facebook application around a brand? 24.6% tried it, 73.3% reported it “worked great” or “worked a little.”

Counterproductive Social Media Tactics

MarketingProfs’ expert panel weighed in on the counterproductive tactics many marketers are using today.  Below is a list of a few from the report.  Check them out and see if you or your company fell into any of these social media tactic traps:

  • Pushing data: Companies that only push out their own messages and continually dump links to their promotions are missing out on the responses of their followers and fans. When they do this, they are missing the opportunity to engage and build valuable relationships.  This is a sure-fire way to lose followers quickly.
  • Treating social media as a short-term campaign: It is easy to spot the companies that are not in it for the long haul and not interested in long-term relationships—just like the previous point, they are the ones pushing data and ignoring their followers.
  • Thinking Twitter revolves around you: Two great examples of this are Twitter auto-responders triggered by a follow and not following most people following you on Twitter. These actions speak volumes and tell your followers you are in it for you… not them.

#3:  2010 Social Media Predictions from the Expert Panel

When MarketingProfs asked their panel of experts how social media and social media usage will change in 2010 and how these changes will affect marketers, their predictions touched on the surge of Google Wave, the onset of social media integration and growing skepticism overall. Here’s a snapshot of their predictions:

The Surge of Google Wave

One expert predicts Google Wave will “rock the universe” and thus blur the lines of online communication such as blogging and IM. “Efforts to make it easy for people to ‘take their network with them’ across sites will play an important role in the disruption of user loyalty to various sites and services.”

Social Media Integration

According to Jason Baer, president of Convince & Convert, we’ll begin to see more case studies showing the integration of social media with other prominent marketing initiatives. For example, we’ll see more examples of how social media integrates with email, banner ads, direct mail and customer service.

Social Media Growth and Skepticism

Heidi Cool, an Internet marketing strategist, predicts that social media will continue to grow and more consumers and marketers will get in the game.  And with this continued growth will come social media newbies who will introduce more “missteps along the way” (e.g., increase in Twitter spamming) that could negatively affect how we choose to use the platforms. She notes how thought leader Robert Scoble changed the way he uses Twitter due to the spamming issues and many may follow his lead as more missteps surface.  Cool points out that if “too many new marketers abuse the systems by using auto-following services, only pushing content without listening, etc., it will make users more skeptical of business usage.”

More Opportunity to Capture Market Share

David Alston, vice president of marketing & community for Radian6, predicts that more people will continue to use social media platforms to express their needs and challenges with companies (instead of calling or writing in their grievances). Alston notes that businesses that embrace this form of communication will have the opportunity to capture market share from those who don’t. Marketers that make listening and engaging the core of how they market will begin to grow in numbers because it is how word of mouth is powered and it is much more effective.

The report goes into much more detail and is definitely worth a read.  To check it out, go here.

So now it’s your turn.  What do you think of the findings? Have you or your company been victim to the “counterproductive” social media tactics mentioned above?

From the Team at WebWitches

Tags: Increase traffic site Internet seo Online internet marketing Online ranking Online seo Learn SEO online SEO Course SEO for Beginners

www.webwitches.com.au

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