Explaining Internet Business Terms Simply

July 12, 2010 under Social Media Basics

Build Your Highrise OnlineI was explaining this the other day to a client, and it dawned on me that maybe there are other business people out there who are also confused by this.

So let me try to explain this the best way I can with an analogy that gets as close as possible to explaining what things are and how they work.

When talking about a website, people can mean may things as there are many components of it. These components are comparable to your normal every day physical store front business.

Address/Location: www.yourbusinesshere.com (where people go to find you. the address you give people so they can locate you)

Land/real estate: Website Hosting – the actual place that holds up your store. Your hosting company makes a difference on how much “land” you get, and how many people can be there at one time. Your hosting is comparable to a real location with fire codes and parking limitations – unlike a real physical location, you don’t have to change your address to change your host (land) options.

Building/Store: Website construction. This is the decor and look that people see when they come to your address. The same concerns you’d have with people coming to your physical store are the same concerns you should have with your website.  Does it look good? Does it make people want to come in? Are the products easy to find? Is it easy to get around the shop? Is it outdated? Does the feel of the shop fit the products that you’re selling?

Signage/Visibility: SEO – search engine optimization – Do people even know you’re there? How you build your site can also affect your SEO. Much like a physical location, does your site come with big neon signs? billboards? or just one very small tiny sign that if you blink you miss it? Does your sign tell people what you do? Does your signage (keywords) fit your store? Or when people finally get curious enough to enter are they thinking you do something you don’t?

Your SEO can also include off-site billboards, or other similar things for the online world that helps direct traffic to your store.

Networking/Word of Mouth/Advertising: Social Media. This might be close to where I start stretching the analogy, so bear with me. With your physical location, you have outside interactions with your customers. You might see them on the street or meet them at a networking event. You can sometimes drum up new clients or new customers by going to some of these kinds of events. The online version of this is social media.

With social media, you can do the same type of networking you used to do by going to events simply by going online to social media sites. You can interact with people, find out what they do, and tell them what you do. When an opening comes up, you can tell them more and hook their interest. And just like real world social interaction, you do need to create that feeling of trust and respect before you foist your business on someone. Remember whether you’re online or offline, you’re dealing with real people.

But there’s something in social media that you can’t really get from anywhere else, and that is word of mouth. With social media, most of that word of mouth is searchable and you can often trace a complaint or compliment back to its source. This allows you to correct whatever problem at its source, and improve your products, store layout, and customer service.

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Brett Tabke On Social Media & SEO

July 8, 2010 under ROI - Social Media, SEO

Wednesday night I had the privilege to hear Brett Tabke give a talk to my SEO group. Note, I say “my” not because I run it, but because I’m an avid attender/member. The group is actually run by some amazing people.

Back to Tabke, his presentation was supposed to be on SEO, which he did cover quite in depth on all the ways you can use your SEO skills for evil. His actual point was to protect yourself from the evil-doers with SEO-ninja skills, but read scarily like a how-to list of building SEO bombs on your competition. Scary. But it was some great information to help people hopefully see it coming and do something about it before its too late.

Interesting also was the beginning of his speech where he talked at length about Twitter and how it can truly make or break your marketing efforts.

He talked about spending large sums of money on marketing that had little return. Amounts of $65,000 and $75,000 dollars on more traditional marketing efforts, and seeing little to no return on the investment (ROI).

Then Tabke talked about switching to a shoestring marketing budget (he said zero, but he had to pay people to tweet at least, even if just himself) and how his ROI skyrocketed. His conference increased in attendance 30% in 2009 when everyone was closely watching their budgets, and his income increased a whopping 40%. That’s some ROI right there.

The key with every marketing scheme, plan, strategy is that you have to be where the people are. Right now, those places are in Social Media.

Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube.. or the more current bandwagons of location-based, GPS social media like Foursquare & Gowalla.

(if you need help with your social media efforts, or you have questions, please feel free to contact me. )

The Numbers Lie – Social Media Is Social

CounterYou hear it often from “Twitter Experts” that you need large numbers. You learn how to use different Twitter applications to get those large numbers of followers.There is something to be said for having quite a few followers or fans, since your message can’t reach people if they’re not following you.

But are your followers listening? Numbers alone doesn’t mean that your message is reaching anyone.

We like numbers. Numbers are easy to measure. Social influence is not. Even the new application Klout, which is designed to measure your Twitter social influence, falls short.

So while building numbers is great, you also need to build trust, respect, and bring something to the table.

Social media is social. You wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and demand they buy your products, don’t do it online. That computer screen you see, hides all the faces, minds, hearts of the entire world. Engage them. Talk to them.

Don’t be the online “used car salesman”… you won’t get very far.

Recommended read:  Where Six Degrees is Wrong by Warren Whitlock

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Facts About The Social Media Boom

July 5, 2010 under ROI - Social Media

There’s a great article over at DannyBrown.me, here’s just a snippet.

Facebook:

1. The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
(When one person talks about you on Facebook, it has a lot of potential outreach.)

2. More than 25 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) is shared each month.
(Thats a lot of content sharing. I wonder is any of it yours?)

Twitter:

12. Twitter gets more than 300,000 new users every day.
13. There are currently 110 million users of Twitter’s services.
(Talk about reaching a large audience.)

Linkedin:

28. LinkedIn receives almost 12 million unique visitors per day.
29. Executives from all Fortune 500 companies are on LinkedIn.
(So not only are there lots of people, but some very influential people as well.)

YouTube:

33. YouTube receives more than 2 billion viewers per day.
35. The U.S. accounts for 70% of YouTube users.
36. Over half of YouTube’s users are under 20 years old.
(Hmm target market anyone?)

Blogging:

41. 77% of Internet users read blogs.
43. 60% of bloggers are between the ages 18-44.
45. Two thirds of bloggers are male.
48. More than half of all bloggers are married and/or parents.
(Interesting demographics)

But thats not all.. for all 52 facts, go see the original article  at DannyBrown.me

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Social Media Graphs

July 2, 2010 under Consulting - Social Media/SEO

Pretty Graph

Graphs can be lovely easily digestible information. When I look at my Google Analytics graphs, I can clearly see where I’ve had good days, and when I’ve not been so lucky.

However, there is a not-so-funny but funny anyway post over at Mashable portraying “10 Beautiful Social Media Infographics”. The graphics are certainly beautiful, but informational? That’s in the eye of the beholder, if they don’t get a migraine first from trying to figure a few of them out.

As with anything, there can be too much of a good thing.

Though a few of them, I am tempted to have printed up and placed on my wall. They’re pretty.

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Tips On How To Write Great Copy Online

If you’re used to writing copy for newspapers or professional magazines, or you’re looking for a great copy writer for your online business.. The article below is a must read.

When writing copy for an online audience, whether it be simple Twitter posts or posts on your blog, having great grammar skills can be detrimental.

What you need is copy that can not only convey the message in a quick-to-read, easily digestible way, but show your company’s personality or add a human component.

As someone said to me once, “The internet is a very cold place.”

Make sure your copy helps breathe some life into it.

So please read: 4 Grammatical Mistakes That Can Enhance Your Copy

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Twitter Tips For The Beginner

June 29, 2010 under Social Media Basics

Just a few tips to get you started:
1. Keep your ID short. It might be tempting to call yourself “VonQueenOfTheJungle” or to go with your full business name “YvonneYoungSocialMedia” but they’re way too long.  Twitter only allows for 140 characters. While the length of your name won’t have an effect on the length of your messages. The longer your name is; the less room people have to type a message to you.

So keep it short and sweet, even if it doesn’t make much sense. There’s space on Twitter to put your real name or business name as well so people will know who you are. However, do be innovative. Instead of picking “Von12345″ instead go for “BoxofVon” or an appreviation of your name, your company or a creative nickname.

2. Follow people you find interesting. Follow people that you want to interact with either personally, professionally (collegue or customer), or you just enjoy their subject matter. One of the most important parts of Twitter is interacting with each other. Following people you find interesting will give you plenty of chances to interact with them about things that they post, and interest them. This will also give them chances to learn more about you and promote yourself or your business.

3. Twitter is social with real people. Sure there are automated bots, but most tweets (messages posted on twitter) are written by real people with real lives and real feelings. Remember this in your dealings with them. Socially the same general rules apply in Twitter as would in your every day life. “Treat others as you’d like to be treated”

4. Be Interesting. The flipside of Tip #2 is that your tweets also need to be interesting and engaging. Whether you’re tweeting for personal or business, do your best to post tweets that add value to the the Twitter community. Whether it be an interesting video you found, a new product you’ve developed, or a quote you find helpful. While now and then the mundane can add character about you “So tired today, my shoes don’t match.” It’s not usually a good idea for every tweet.

5. Tweet often, but not too often. There’s a line between not tweeting often enough, and tweeting to the point of spam. As much as people may like you, you can get quickly unfollowed if you’re constantly adding too much clutter to someone’s twitterstream.  If you’re posting breaking news, you’ll get more leeway than if you’re posting knock-knock jokes, but keep conscious of how often you tweet. You can also tweet too little. In which people following you, might stop following you due to inactivity or send you messages asking if you’re still alive.

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Why Do Social Media?

I’ve gotten asked several times, “Why should I do Social Media?”  “What’s in it for me?”

Rarely do I ever get asked “how” but more of a “Why?”

For me, the “Why” was never a question. But I suppose it’s the same with every technological advancement..

“Why would I put an ad on the Radio?”

“Why put an ad on TV?”

The answer is exactly the same for social media. Because you want more customers, you want to get your name out or advertise a product, you want to reach your current customers more efficiently, you want to be accessible to your current and future customers, and you want to be seen as relevant and innovative.

If you don’t want more customers, you don’t want to increase your base of loyal customers, you don’t want to be accessible and relevant to new customers and new technology, then really social media isn’t for you.

I attended a talk last week at the Austin Social Media Club and listened to a presentation by Simon Salt a local social media guru. Simon gave a few examples of the benefits of simple Location-Based (GPS) Social Media marketing campaigns. One company he mentioned had a 110% increase in growth, and another had a 20% increase.

That’s just for one specific area of Social Media marketing. Just One. Of course, not everyone is going to see that kind of growth or have that kind of growth opportunity.

However, don’t forget the value of having a customer base and being able to communicate directly with them.

What used to take millions of surveys and polls to figure out, you can now hear directly from the customer’s own lips. People are using social media more and more to connect to friends, talk, and voice their opinions, and most of that information is public for you to access. Plus, the easier it is for them to contact you, the more likely you’ll get to hear about products they want, new features to add, or even as Rich Harris, Senior Manager of Social Media at Seagate Technology, mentioned yesterday in a Hootsuite webinar, your customers may tip you off to a mistake on your site saving you hundreds of dollars in legal fees or lost sales.

People are going to talk, but are they going to be talking about you?

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The Money Power of Social Media Fans

There’s a great post over at Emarketer.com that gives some really compelling research and evidence of why you need to dive into social media marketing.. if you haven’t already. Go check it out.

“What Brand Fans Are Worth: Can A Single Number Capture The Value Of Social Followers?”

North America Social Media fan chart

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Under Construction Again

June 11, 2010 under Contact

I can never decide whats the best way to work this site, so bear with me.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for me.. You can find me:

Linkedin: Networking? Or you want to see my “resume” check me out here.

Twitter: @Simplyv

Facebook: Friends.. add me here.

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