The Ibis Network's Social-Media Marketing Tips
Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Posts Tagged ‘Business Online’

Seven Simple Do’s and Don’ts of Social-Media Marketing

 

Everyone’s searching for an easy way out. And Internet-based marketing campaigns are no exception. In fact, some of the draw of marketing your business online is that, at first, it seems easy, inexpensive, and relatively labor free. That, however, is not the case. Like anything else, it requires some effort, time, and attention to truly pay off. In other words, it ain’t a get rich quick scheme but it is a viable and valuable tool for any business hoping to capitalize on the popularity of social media.

Here’s a short list of simple do’s and don’ts to help you accelerate your online opportunities …

Do Adjust Your Attitude: If you’ve registered for a social-media page or two and are now lounging poolside waiting for the business to start rolling in, this is the easiest and quickest way to change your fortune. Stop expecting something for nothing and start using the resources available to you. Social media is a tool but it won’t work itself. And expecting it to is no better than buying a hammer and expecting it to build you a house.

Don’t Give Up Immediately: A social-media campaign won’t succeed in the first three days. Probably not even within the first month. It’s gonna take some time to build up some content, fans, followers, and strategies. Time, consistency, and communication are the keys to success. Keep at it and stay engaged.

Do Import Your Contacts: All of the major social-media sites make it as easy as possible to transfer your email contacts to your page. Now you may not want to invite your mother to join you on LinkedIn but you’ve got to start somewhere. And inviting the contacts and connections from your address book will provide you with a foundation to build on. Announce your new page and ask people to connect with you. It’s far more effective than waiting for them to stumble upon your site on their own.

Don’t Skip The Photo: It’s 2012 and, if you haven’t yet figured out how to upload a photo, ask someone. ‘Cause chances are you know someone that can help you achieve this relatively easy and ultimately important task. Having a Facebook or Twitter page without a photo or logo or something that makes it seem as though you care at all about your presentation is a surefire way to make it look like you can’t be bothered. This is your business and wherever it is represented online should look professional.

Do Think About Content: Sure, you can have a presence on LinkedIn without having any content to share. You can do the same on Facebook. But, in the end, content is what gets people on your page and returning in the future. It’s also a way to further brand your business and help potential customers familiarize themselves with what you do, who you are, and why they should choose you over your competition.

Don’t Worry About Numbers: It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re trying to compete with Oprah for followers and fans. You can’t win that game. You can, however, approach your social-media campaign as a vehicle for spreading your message locally. In other words, you don’t have to have 1,000,000 friends and connections online to build business. You should concentrate your efforts on linking with people in your region and industry. Having five followers on your Twitter page that are in your area and looking for your services is better than having five million in China. It takes quality online connections, not quantity.

Do Explore The Possibilities: Nobody can tell you the best way to market your business. It is, after all, your business. But spending some time exploring what your social-media page of choice can do may result in new and exciting ideas. There are an endless number of applications, tools, and resources available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or any other social-media page you choose to use. Learn what they are and how to use them. Chances are, if there’s something you’d like to use your page for, there’s a tool to make that easier for you. Take some time and fool around. You may be surprised at the functionality available to you.

Social-Media Strategy: What You Need Now To Build Business Online

 

Setting up a social-media strategy for your business is a lot like buying a box of donuts. After all, no one donut can fulfill all of your sugary needs. Maybe you’ve got a taste for chocolate and sprinkles but also need something plain to go with your morning coffee. This explains why they’re sold by the dozen. Now you won’t need a dozen social-media sites to properly harness the power of the Internet and propel your business forward. You may, however, want to consider your choices, your purposes, and which options make the most sense for your business and what you’d like to accomplish.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is fairly cut and dry. It’s the largest social-media site devoted to professionals and that means you won’t be sharing space with your 13-year-old niece. It’s Facebook for business and it provides a platform to get in touch with other professionals in your region and industry. If you’re looking to meet people, network, and maybe get some referrals, LinkedIn is a good place to start. It’s also a good place to learn. Joining groups and asking questions can lead to new connections but it can also lead to knowledge. Have a look around and see how other professionals are benefiting from LinkedIn. It isn’t all resumes and job hunters. But it is drawing 33.5 million users a month.

Twitter: Twitter is also pretty simple to understand. It’s just like having a blog, only your posts are limited to 140 characters. That means, it’s designed to publish information in quick, continually updated bits. That’s why it initially gained a reputation for being the tool of self-involved Internet-addicts needing to share each and everything they’re doing as they’re doing it. Well it’s evolved from a site where you find out what your friends are having for breakfast. Everyone from neurosurgeons to politicians to your next door neighbor has a page. Which means, it’s all in how you use it. Type the name of your industry and scroll through the most recent tweets related to your business. It’ll provide a glimpse of what Twitter is and why it’s good for your business.

Facebook: Facebook is the trickiest of the big three. It started as a purely social site for college students but is now so large that it’s almost its own micro-Internet. And because it’s the site Americans spend most of their online time browsing, it’s become an important part of any businesses’ social-media strategy. More and more, businesses include their Facebook fan page’s address in their marketing and advertising. Use it for promotions and educating your customers. Offer them a deal or discount for liking your page. Carve out a spot so that you have a platform on the world’s most popular social-media site. It may not pay off in a week but not having a presence on Facebook means ignoring the fact that nearly everyone is using it and the time they spend on it is time they won’t be looking at your website.

Three Keys To Successfully Marketing Your Business Online

On the Internet, content is currency. Having a website, blog, or social-media profiles without content is like having a car without wheels. You’ve got the foundation but you don’t have the means to make it go. Successfully marketing your business online means you have to, not only be part of the conversation, you have to start some yourself. You have to stay active and continually engaged. The Internet values quantity over quality and, if you have both, you’re golden.

Here are some things to think about …

Types of Content: The mistake a lot of people make is feeling like their content has to always directly relate to their business. It doesn’t. Your content has to appeal to your target audience but doesn’t have to have a direct link to the services you provide. For example, if you were selling skin-care products to teenagers, you wouldn’t have to fill your Facebook fan page with posts only about teenage skin and ways to keep it healthy. You could use anything that might appeal to teenagers. Posting about issues and topics interesting to teens would be more effective than posting only about skin. After all, teenagers may want clear skin but they likely aren’t interested in reading article after article about it. Mix it up and keep it interesting.

Ways to Use It: Content is a general word. What does it mean exactly? Well, it means anything you share anywhere you share it. It can be blog posts, tweets, Facebook updates, or emails. It’s not about where, it’s about what. In other words, once you’ve created some content, think about the most appropriate ways to use it. Twitter, for example, has a very specific format. You can’t tweet a paragraph, so quick updates, links, and photos are perfect. But a blog post may also work well as an email blast. If you’ve got something to share on your blog and you’d like to share it with your email list, you’re going to boost the number of people who see it. And numbers, after all, mean more opportunities for business.

How To Think About It: Here’s the trick. Stop thinking of your Internet properties as having to compete against everything else on the Internet. If you’re in real-estate, you don’t have to worry about your real-estate blog competing with the top sources of industry news and information on the web. You’re never going to surpass the number of people looking at the top news sources and industry sites. You’re never going to become CNN. You’re goal isn’t to have the number one site on the web. You’re goal is to have the number one site among your clients and customers. If you’re sharing your content with the people you’re hoping to do business with, it doesn’t matter how many hits you receive. If you have one visitor to your blog and they end up your client, you’re an Internet success.

The Internet, The Gold Rush & Why You Need Social-Media Marketing

 

Living in the Internet age is a lot like being around for the gold rush. There’s a lot of buzz about the limitless opportunities and possibilities but there are no guarantees that it’ll make you any money. Fortunately, unlike the gold rush, the Internet doesn’t require you to cross the country on a brutal horse-and-carriage led trip through the mountains and you won’t have to do hours and hours of manual labor in order to try your luck. Which is to say, if mining gold were this easy, everyone would have done it. And yet, there are those that are still hesitant to take their business online.

Here are some tips and ideas for those of you still on the fence …

Social Media Is Local: Stop thinking of the entirety of the Internet and start thinking about it as a way to get in touch with people in your area and region. The Internet may be able to reach all four corners of the known universe but its users generally are engaged with their friends, family, and community when they’re online. That means, social media is actually more efficient and valuable to small businesses than large corporations. After all, no one is going to pay too much attention to a tweet from Coca-Cola but they’d be more likely to read a post or click a link sent from a local business they know and trust. If you’re not doing business in India, there’s no need to set up a social-media campaign aimed at world domination. Keep it focused, targeted, and small to start.

Social Media Is Participatory: Here’s the part that trips a lot of people up. Despite being named “social” media, many people are turned off by the idea that they will actually need to communicate and reach out to other people. They want their social-media campaign to function like an online advertisement waiting to be seen by the right people. Unfortunately, there’s no quicker way to become lost in a pile of forgotten social-media profiles than to set up a page and quickly abandon it. You needn’t feel like you have to constantly be updating and refreshing your pages but it does help to have something to offer. And always be polite and engaging with the people that follow your pages and posts.

Social Media Isn’t Going Anywhere: Fortunately, the opportunities and possibilities of the Internet will be around a lot longer than the gold was in San Francisco. Which means, there may not be a rush, but there’s also no reason to wait. The early adopters will have the advantage of offering something their competition doesn’t. If you wait five years to take your goods and services online, your Facebook fan page will still be beneficial but it won’t give you a competitive edge. Which means, not only can a properly executed social-media campaign benefit your business but the sooner you start the better those benefits are likely to be.

 

 

The Simplified Guide To Content and Social-Media Marketing

Change can be challenging for some and totally paralyzing for others. It’s among the reasons so many dismiss the benefits of taking their business online. It’s easier to retreat than it is to keep up with the ever-evolving nature of the Internet and its boundless opportunities. There is, however, a simpler way of thinking of things and we offer a few of them below

Content is Conversation: Content is key when marketing your business online. But what is content? Well, instead of trying to break down the ins-and-outs of “content marketing,” imagine you’re having a conversation with a potential client. What types of things would you want to share with them? Maybe some news, a hot tip, a new deal? That’s your content. Blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates needn’t be perfectly composed, crafty, clever, or even that creative. The only thing they need to be is relevant to the types of people you’d like to turn into customers.

Social Media is a Satellite: Think of your social-media profiles or blog as a satellite office. It’s your website away from home. It’s like an easily customized billboard that you have complete control over. Sure, it won’t replace your business website but it will become a place where you can communicate and connect with potential partners and future customers. Keep ‘em professional and relevant to your target audience and they’ll become a vital part of how you do business and how you reach new business.

The Internet is Everywhere: Increasingly, people are accessing the Internet wherever they go and whenever they want. And with the popularity of products like the iPhone and iPad, the ease with which people can access the Internet will only increase. That means, if you plan to stay in business for another five or 10 years, you’ll likely end up using the Internet in some way to promote and market your services. Starting now just means you’ll be better positioned to take advantage of future opportunities as the Internet becomes more and more integrated with everyday life.

Social-Media Marketing: Answering The Excuses, Misconceptions, And Cop-Outs

 

The lesson behind the story of the Three Little Pigs isn’t that the pig is a particularly industrious animal. It’s that the pig who used bricks rather than sticks to build his house survived by being the most intelligent pig. He outsmarted the wolf and saved his fat friends by having the smarts to choose a sturdy building material rather than one more easily blown down. In other words, sometimes outsmarting the competition and surviving means choosing the right tools and materials to build upon. And that’s how the story of the three little pigs relates to social-media marketing. You may not feel the need or understand the benefits yet of marketing your business online. But having an online presence means you’re building a sturdy foundation for your business and using all the tools available to you. In other words, you’re not a pig in a straw house hoping for the best.

Here are answers to three common excuses and misconceptions about social-media marketing …

The Internet Isn’t Going Anywhere: It may seem tempting to dismiss social-media marketing as hogwash. It’s a convenient excuse to seem smarter than everyone else by not buying into the newest thing. Unfortunately, the Internet is no longer a new thing nor does it appear to be on the way out. The choice here isn’t whether or not you’re going to use social media to market your business. The choice is between doing it now and doing it later. Small businesses using social-media sites and blogs have found them to be an effective way to boost brand loyalty, communication with customers and clients, and new business. Just because it doesn’t work overnight and without any effort from you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.

Don’t Think Of It As Facebook: It may seem silly to have a Facebook page or Twitter account for your business. So don’t think of it as social media. Think of it as a mini-website, a branch office, or satellite location. In other words, just because it’s a Facebook page doesn’t mean you have to use it to update your friends on where you’re hanging out on Friday night. Think of it as an extension of your website being hosted on the web’s most popular site. If your Twitter page is just an easily-updated extension of your online brand, then it’s a much easier concept to grasp. After all, making changes to your business website is difficult and not something you want to do a couple of times a day. But if you want to get a quick message out to your clients and customers, having a presence on any of the major social-networking sites means you can. You can never have too many avenues for communicating, keeping in touch, and generating word-of-mouth.

It Does Work, Just Not On Its Own: It’s also easy to say it doesn’t work. Or that you tried and nothing happened once you set up your page. It will take some time and effort but it will work. If you bought a phone and never used it, it wouldn’t be a broken phone. And you couldn’t return it due to a lack of calls. In other words, social media and online marketing is just another form of communication. Having an account on Facebook or Twitter won’t bring in business by itself but if you use your account to get in touch with past and potential clients, it will result in more familiarity with your business, new leads, and new business.

By The Numbers: 8 Reasons Your Business Needs Social Media

 

It’s hard to argue with numbers, unless you’re a mathematician or Pythagoras. And so, we’ve provided a list of social-media stats, numbers, and raw data to help convert the skeptics and offer encouragement to those who seek it.

There are more than 800 million active Facebook users. That’s right, 800 million. And Americans spend more time on Facebook than on any other website. That means, they aren’t on your website. Which means, you should probably have a Facebook page. Setting up a Facebook fan page for your business is an excellent way of making sure that you have a presence on the website most of us are presently perusing.

Social media apps are the third most downloaded apps among smartphone users. That means, the increasing number of people who access the Internet from their cell phone are, increasingly, using it to access their social-media pages. If people are that invested in their social-media pages that they want to be able to access them wherever they are, that’s a pretty good indication that having a social-media plan for your business isn’t likely to be time wasted on a passing fad.

78% of small businesses are using Twitter. Now we understand this comes dangerously close to the everybody-else-is-doing-it line of thinking but everybody else is doing it. And they can’t all be wrong.

41% of people using LinkedIn for marketing have generated business with it. LinkedIn is often confused for a job-hunting website but it’s also a great place to connect with other professionals, referral partners, and potential clients.

There are 3.5 billion things shared on Facebook each week. That means, blog posts, links, news, etc. That also means social-media is a high-tech word-of-mouth machine. Having your info shared is the quickest way to meet potential business online.

On Twitter, interesting content is the number one reason people retweet. In other words, if your content is interesting you’re more likely to have your content shared. Humor and personal connection were the second and third most common reasons for retweeting. Which means, if you’re not funny, you’d better be interesting.

79% of companies are using or planning on using social media. And that’s according to Harvard Business Review. Their survey found 58 percent of companies were already engaged on social-media sites, while an additional 21 percent had plans to launch a social-networking campaign.

57% of companies using blogs reported that they’d acquired customers from leads they generated through their blogs. And don’t believe it when you hear someone say that blogs are no longer relevant. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, the percentage of businesses that blog increased from 48 percent to 65 percent.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

Three Keys To Building A Business Brand Online

There aren’t a lot of self-described idiots out there. Which is to say, people like to believe they’re smart. And that’s the reason branding your business online is so important. After all, your customers and clients want to feel like they’re making an informed decision before spending their money. So the more information you share, the more they feel like they’re making a smart choice by choosing to do business with you.

Here are some tips to building a better business brand through social media …

The Foundation: In order to properly brand your business, you’ll need a foundation. That means, having a business blog. Having a blog provides your social network with a focal point. It also offers a convenient way to share content that can then be posted on any additional social-media sites you’ve set up. Make sure, though, that your blog represents your business professionally and consistently. Pay attention to the theme, layout, and widgets you’re using. Though it’s tempting to use all the bells and whistles available to you, a cluttered blog means a cluttered brand. Make sure it’s easy to read and, most importantly, easy to identify who’s in charge. You’ll want visitors to read what you’ve posted on your blog but you’ll also want them to know who you are and what you do.

The Goal: It’s easy enough to get yourself a blog and/or a Facebook page, Twitter account, or LinkedIn profile but you’ll also need a goal. The idea behind social-media marketing is to brand yourself as an expert and a resource. You want people to do business with you and you’re online to give them better access to you, your knowledge, and your business. In other words, your goal is to offer valuable information about your services, industry, and business and to share it with potential clients and customers. If you’re seen as knowledgeable, experienced, and willing to spend the time to make sure your clients are informed, you’ll increase the visibility and reputation of your business.

The Benefits: A properly branded social-media campaign can provide many benefits to your business. Most of all, it increases customer loyalty and referrals as it creates a stronger bond between you and your clients. If you’re communicating with your customers, sharing content, and responding to comments and questions online, you’re boosting the likelihood that those customers will remember you next time they’re in the market for your services or know someone that is. Social media also offers a platform for you to research your region and industry to help you better your business. Most of all, though, it serves as a word-of-mouth generator. The more you participate, the better the success rate.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: 57 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Better Business Online

The Internet is an incredible resource but keeping up with an always-evolving online world can be a challenge. Sometimes the lingo alone can stand between successfully implementing a social-media strategy and being overwhelmed by widgets, avatars, and hashtags.

Here’s an update of our previous list of basic terms to familiarize yourself with (New terms in bold)  …

Active Rain – The largest social network for real-estate professionals. Launched in 2006, Active Rain has nearly 200,000 members.

Aggregator – A web-based tool or desktop application that collects syndicated content from across the Internet.

API (Application Programming Interface) A computer system or application that allows programs and websites to communicate and exchange data.

App – An application performing a specific task able to be accessed by your computer or phone.

Archives – An index page that organizes past entries and older posts by date.

Avatar – The image, picture, or username a person uses to identify themselves on social-networking sites.

Badge – A linked image displayed on a blog that promotes a person’s profiles or participation on other social-media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Bit.ly – A popular – and free – URL shortening service that makes it easier to share lengthy web addresses on social-networking sites such as Twitter.

Blog – A regularly updated website or “web log” that allows a company or individual to post content and interact with readers through commentary, subscriptions, widgets, and syndicated RSS feeds.

Blogosphere – A term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet.

Blogroll A list of sites, typically found in the sidebar of a blog, showing the sites that particular blogger recommends.

Content – Content on any website, including text, pictures, video, and audio materials.

Creative Commons - A nonprofit corporation that provides free licenses and legal tools that label creative work with the creator’s specifications on reuse, sharing, and using commercially.

Dashboard – The administrative area on blogs and social-media sites that allows you to edit your information, manage comments, monitor traffic, upload files, etc.

Delicious - A free online bookmarking service that allows users to save web addresses publicly and privately online, so they can be easily accessed and shared.

Domain Name – The identifying name or address of an Internet site.

Facebook – The largest social-networking site for individuals and businesses. Facebook has more than 500 million users.

Feeds (RSS Feed) – A program used by a website that allows the user to syndicate their content and provide subscribers with new blog posts and articles without requiring them to visit the site.

FeedBurner – A Google-based tool that provides a way for users to accept subscriptions by email for their blog posts, podcasts, and online content.

Forums – Online forums allow members of social-media sites to interact with other members by posting messages or questions on particular topics.

Geotagging – Adding location-based data to media such as photos and video to help users find businesses and services by region.

Groups – Communities within social-media sites that allow users interested in particular topics or activities to share information, posts, and messages with other members.

Hashtag – Used on Twitter, a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by a “#” that helps organize posts, making them easier to find in Twitter searches.

Hits – A measurement defined as any request for a file from a web server.

HootSuite – A web-based Twitter service that allows users to manage multiple Twitter profiles, schedule tweets, and view statistics and metrics.

Hyperlink – A navigational reference that embeds a link to a document or page on the Internet.

HTML – The coding language used to link documents, text and multimedia files on the Internet. HTML is the programming language that provides content and structure for web pages in order to define layout, font, color, and graphics.

LinkedIn – A business-oriented social-media site for professional networking. Launched in 2002, LinkedIn now has more than 70 million registered users.

Links – Highlighted text that, when clicked, takes readers to another page containing related content or source materials.

Link Building – The process of generating links to your website from other sites in an effort to boost search-engine ranking. Blogging is a popular method of link building.

Metadata Information, including titles, tags, and captions, used to describe a media item or blog post in order to make it more easily found by search engines and aggregators.

Micro-Blogging – A form of blogging that limits the amount of characters or words per post, such as Twitter.

Open Media – A term referring to any media, including video, text, and audio, that can be freely shared online.

Permalinks – The permanent address or URL of a blog post or web page. A permalink is what is used when linking to another story within an email message or post.

Profiles and Pages – The pages on social-networking sites where a person or business displays their contact information, pictures, posts, and files.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of improving and increasing traffic to a website from search engines.

Sidebar – A column or columns along either or both sides of a blog’s main content area that includes widgets, contact and biographical information, links to previous posts and favorite sites, archives, badges, subscription information, RSS feeds, and more.

Social Media – Websites that provide communities with common interests a means to communicate and engage with one another online.

Social Networking – Socializing online through a social-media site, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, that allows you to create a profile and communicate with other members.

Subscribing – Signing up for a site’s feed, which automatically sends you new content from that site.

Syndication – The process of sharing and distributing content online.

Tag Cloud A visual representation of the most popular tags on a blog or website. More popular tags are usually shown in larger type while less popular tags appear smaller.

Tags Keywords associated with a blog post or other content making them more easily found through searches.

Threads – Messages or posts under a single forum topic or the comments and trackbacks of a particular blog post.

Trulia – A real-estate search engine and networking site that allows professionals to create business profiles and allows consumers to find listings, blogs, and real-estate information.

Tweet – A post or update on Twitter.

TweetDeck – A Twitter application that serves as a real-time browser that connects you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.

Twitter – A micro-blogging site where members post “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less.

Upload – The process of transferring a file from your computer to a website.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – A URL is the technical term for a website’s address.

Video Blog – A blog that produces and posts video content on a regular basis.

Wall – The shared portion, or discussion board, displayed on a social-media profile.

Webinar – A web-based seminar, presentation, lecture, or workshop transmitted over the web.

Widget – An application offered on social-media sites and blogs that performs a specific function allowing users to customize their profiles or blog.

Wiki – A technology that allows many users to edit a web page, such as Wikipedia.

WordPress – A blog publishing application that offers users an easy-to-use template through which they can create their own blog and maintain their own blog.

YouTube – Popular video-sharing website through which users upload, share, and view videos. It is the largest video-sharing site in the world.

Source materials here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Generating and Converting Quality Leads Through Social Media

There’s a difference between being popular and being profitable. And the difference is money. In other words, if you’re launching a social-media campaign for your business, you’re likely not in it to make new friends. You’re in it to generate leads and convert them into business. Here are some ideas to help increase the effectiveness of your social-media efforts …

Play it Cool: Even though you’re on Facebook for business, it’s still primarily a social tool. That means, you can’t come on too strong. In order to grab attention, you’ll have to create some content and make it interesting. And, more importantly, make it interesting to your target audience. If you hope to generate quality leads through social media, whether you’re using a blog, Facebook, or Twitter, you have to first build trust – and an audience – and the only way to do that is to offer something for nothing. If you’re posting quality information about your region or industry, you’re establishing yourself as a knowledgeable source and forming positive associations among visitors to your pages and profiles.

Be Discreet: You don’t want to fill up your blog or social-media profiles with solicitations and blatant advertisements for your services. You can, however, use areas around the margins to create an ad for your business. For example, if you’re keeping a blog, take an area typically reserved for ads and widgets to create a call to action. It doesn’t need to be sophisticated. At first, just having something on the page is better than nothing. Experiment. Write up a short description of your specialties with a link to your website. Having a few well-placed reminders of who you are and what you do will give visitors an opportunity to further explore your business online and raise the possibility of converting them into clients.

Be Available: Social media is about creating dialogue. So, in addition to keeping your page updated regularly and offering content that will interest and attract visitors, use your social-media presence to find and contact potential business in your area. If you have a Twitter page, for example, search for keywords related to your industry, then limit the search to your region and answer anyone in your area who’s posted questions related to your line of work or expertise.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

How To Drive Traffic To Your Website And Be Found On Search Engines

On the freeway, traffic is something to be avoided at all costs. On the Internet, traffic is the only way to generate leads and grow your business. Driving traffic to your website, whether through pay-per-click advertising or keeping a blog, means more potential customers visiting your website, learning what you do, and paying you for your services. So how’s it done? The easy answer is by making your business more readily found by search engines. How you do that, though, is up to you.

Here are a few strategies to help you start driving up your numbers …

Blogs and Social Media: The good news is this option won’t break your budget. The bad news is you’ll have to invest some time and come up with content to share on your network. Getting noticed by search engines takes time. So, if you’re looking for an overnight success, perhaps an advertising campaign is better suited to your needs. If, however, you’re able to regularly contribute, post, and interact with your social network, you’ll build word-of-mouth and traffic to your business website. The more you participate, the quicker it’ll happen. Not only will each blog post, tweet, and Facebook update boost your traffic and search-engine rankings, if done correctly, they’ll be an effective way of keeping in contact with referral partners and clients while attracting new business.

Online Advertising: The advantage of pay-per-click advertising is that you only pay per click. You set the keywords, target your region, and budget and pay only when someone visits your website as advertised on search engines, websites, or advertising networks. That means, unlike an ad in a newspaper, pay-per-click ads cost you only when they deliver traffic to your site. The disadvantage is you have to pay whether that traffic generates new business or not. Which means, it can get expensive if your ads aren’t properly targeted. And, until they are, you’ll be paying for errant clicks and aimless visitors.

Everything Else: Ultimately, the benefit of building your presence online is there are limitless tricks and tips to help you – not only get started – but effectively build your business. Blogs and social-media sites are packed with resources and tools to help you share your content across your network, easily link back to your business website, and offer added value through widgets, plug-ins, and apps. And, though it may seem daunting at first, any help you need along the way is no further than a quick Google search. Additional tips here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Secret of Social-Media Success and Branding Your Business Online

Advertising is about grabbing attention. It’s the reason fashion ads feature so little clothing, which – when you think about it – doesn’t make all that much sense. But a photo of fully dressed models won’t grab nearly as much attention as bare skin. The same is true on the Internet – though no one’s suggesting you resort to nudity.

Branding yourself online, whether it’s through a blog, a Facebook business page, or a Twitter account, is about grabbing online attention and getting people to take notice of your page … and then your business. Very few television ads spend that 30 seconds explaining their business credentials. More likely, there’s 28 seconds of a talking monkey and two seconds explaining who the ad is for and how you can buy their product. Which is a way of saying, social-media marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing. You’ll need to grab your target audience’s attention before you’ll see any benefits.

Here are a few ideas to remember …

The What: Okay, you’ll need some content on your pages to keep people interested but that’s not to say your business info and credentials aren’t necessary. Once you’ve registered for a page or profile, fill out all the provided places for your bio, websites, past experience, and whatever else is offered. The more you fill in, the easier it will be for people to find you. This information will provide the keywords through which people will find you in searches and such. It’ll also make it simple for interested visitors to learn about your business and find ways to contact you.

The How: So that’s not the difficult part. After all, anyone with a couple hours can set themselves up with an online profile and fill in their business information. If that’s all it took to bring in new business through social-media marketing, we’d all be on yachts in the South Pacific. Sadly, in order to keep visitors, build word-of-mouth, and brand your business, you’ll have to consistently offer content on your pages, profiles, or blog. And, unlike television or radio ads, you can’t schedule when people will look at your page. Which means, the more you update, the more reason they’ll have to visit. The more visitors, the more potential business. Finding a pace and type of content that suits you and appeals to your clients will take time. Don’t get discouraged. Also, be sure to interact with your audience whenever you can. If someone leaves you a comment, respond. The more available you seem, the more trust you’ll earn.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: LinkedIn Tips for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals

LinkedIn claims to register a new member every second. Which means, in the few minutes it’ll take to set up a profile on the popular social-networking site, there will be hundreds of new prospective partners, customers, clients, and connections available to you. In other words, if you’re looking to take your business online or just looking for another opportunity to meet people and market your services, LinkedIn offers plenty of professionals and potential business to the social-media minded mortgage or real-estate professional.

Here are some tips to building a more productive profile …

Write a Summary: Writing a short professional bio will not only help visitors to your page learn more about you, your business, and your services, it’ll help visitors find your page to begin with. In other words, make sure to use the terms you’d hope people would use to find you. If you’re in the mortgage industry, say so. If you’re in Atlanta, add that. But, if you write about how much you love the outdoors, don’t be surprised when you’re contacted about fishing gear. Keep it professional and focus on your target audience.

Have a Goal: Decide what it is you want to accomplish with your LinkedIn profile and focus your efforts on that. Connecting with former co-workers and friends is fine but it won’t generate any interest in your business. If you logged on to meet other professionals in your industry or community, then search for and join relevant regional and industry-related groups to make more productive connections and generate potential business down the road. Remember, though, it’s about communication.

Use Applications: LinkedIn offers a number of applications that allow you to share everything from your Amazon.com reading list to your most recent blog posts. They’ll fill out your profile and can help drive traffic to your other pages, blogs, and websites.

Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, develop some content, discussion topics, or questions to share. Then think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning, or on the weekends for that matter. Posting the right topic to the right group at a time when there’s likely to be more traffic and interest will make the difference between being ignored and being active in your community or industry.

For more LinkedIn tips from The Ibis Network, click here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Benefits of Blogging for Mortgage Professionals

These days, people seek information online before making even the smallest decision. Which means, having a presence on the Internet is vital to building a business in the age of Google, Twitter, and Facebook. And a great way to build that presence is to establish your brand through blogging. Need convincing? Here are some things to consider …

Blogs Generate More Traffic: To establish your business online, you need to show up in search-engine results. And to show up in search-engine results, you need regularly updated content. Search-engines such as Google, Yahoo! And Bing respond to frequent updates. In other words, if you’re blogging, you’re more visible to potential clients and referral partners. You’re also providing an ongoing source for useful, relevant information in your industry that will only increase your chances of setting yourself apart from the field.

Your Blog Is Your Brand: Setting up a blog and updating it regularly is an excellent way of showing potential clients that you’re more knowledgeable, credible, and committed than the competition. A traditional website isn’t updated often, or ever. Which means, that anyone viewing your business website won’t find much more than a short bio, contact information, and some testimonials. A blog offers you the ability to further brand yourself and make an impression while offering them pertinent news, industry info, and chance to build trust in your services.

Your Blog Will Cost Nothing But Time: In comparison to the cost of traditional advertising, a blog will cost you next to nothing. It will, however, require some patience. The most successful blogs have an average age of nearly 34 months. That means, you have to make a commitment to keeping your blog updated with fresh material and you have to keep at it. You can’t write three short blog posts and then get frustrated that the money hasn’t rolled in. Frequent content and time are a winning combination when it comes to creating better search-engine rankings and building a reputation in your community.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here and here.

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Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

If you’d like a free Real-Estate blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-real-estate-blog-for-free/

If you’d like a free Mortgage blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-mortgage-blog-for-free/

Social Media Marketing Made Easy

A quick video explaining the importance of social media and some simple ways to effectively market your business online.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=gza8dvN8Hkc]

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Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

If you’d like a free Real-Estate blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-real-estate-blog-for-free/

If you’d like a free Mortgage blog designed for you… no strings attached – click here: http://theibisnetwork.wordpress.com/want-your-own-mortgage-blog-for-free/