The Ibis Network's Social-Media Marketing Tips
Thursday October 2nd 2014

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Posts Tagged ‘Business Website’

A Short History Of Blogs Or How To Maximize Your Online Opportunities

Blogs are to social media what Elvis was to popular music. Now before you declare this post ridiculous and stop reading, hear us out. Sure, Elvis didn’t invent rock-and-roll but he popularized it and inspired so many young musicians that he could rightly take credit for giving birth to everything from The Beatles to Black Sabbath. In much the same way, the basic idea behind blogs goes back much further than the late 1990s. But the popularity of blogging gave rise not only to social media but also the general idea that businesses could enhance their brand and Internet presence through a properly maintained and regularly updated online property.

Here are some tips and ideas to help build your business blog …

The Beginning: In the beginning, blogs were the domain of the self-absorbed. Developed as a sort of online diary, blogging soon became the Internet-based past time of anyone who believed they had something to say. And thus, the idea of the basement blogger sitting in his or her pajamas, cluttering the Internet was born. But the blog also became something more important than that. Blogs are easily updated and quickly customized websites. And businesses interested in having a presence online soon figured out that their static business website wasn’t drawing enough attention. So keeping a blog updated regularly with interesting content and relevant info became a way of expanding on their business’ online reach.

The Strategy: Social media, of course, isn’t really anything other than a way to share information with a group of friends, family members, clients, or connections. In other words, blogs stressed the importance of having content to share and social-media made it easier to share it. Which means, having a blog and a social-media presence is the most effective way of getting word out about your business and services. Posting information to your blog that will be interesting and helpful to your clients and connections is the first step. From there, share your blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social-media sites you are using. That will maximize the number of people that see what you’ve shared and also the possibility that they will then pass it along to their list of online contacts. Do this consistently and you’ll see an uptick in the amount of attention your online properties receive.

The Results: Developing a consistent posting strategy and sharing it across your social network will undoubtedly lead to an increase in traffic to your sites. But getting the right traffic is the most important part of any blogging strategy. If you’re running a business in Topeka, Kansas and your blog and social-media sites are receiving the majority of their traffic from Japan, you’re not doing it right. Targeting your region and industry is important. Share content that pertains to the people you want to attract and actively seek out new connections in your area, rather than waiting for them to come to you. Once you begin receiving some attention from the right audience, you’ll have an easier time converting blog visitors into business. Be patient and avoid the temptation to use heavy-handed sales tactics. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Give it time.

Online Marketing: The Importance Of Branding Your Business

If you’re someone that thinks of livestock when you hear the word branding, you may be a bit behind the times. Or you’re an actual cowboy. Either way, some simple tips on branding your business and building customer loyalty may help.

Here are some thoughts to get you started …

The Branding: The primary reason to brand your cattle was to help make them more easily identifiable. The same goes for corporate logos, advertising, and marketing campaigns. And, with the growth of online marketing, branding has become an important part of marketing even the smallest of businesses. Ultimately, having an online presence that is consistent, easily identified, and interactive will help you find new customers and keep current clients coming back. The trick is having your info where it can be easily found and making sure it’s consistent on all of your Internet properties, whether it’s a blog, Facebook page, or business website. Branding is about being identified and remembered. And a social-media campaign focused on keeping all the details, logos, and contact info consistent and presentable is one that will be more easily found online and more memorable.

The Messaging: Branding is a pretty simple concept. You want people to recognize your business and feel a sense of familiarity with you. What you do with that brand, however, is a bit more complicated. Sending the right message is about content. Once you’ve got your info, photos, and logos in place and your pages looking the way you want them, you have to have content that keeps people coming back to your page, to make it stand out from the rest of the Internet noise. For example, if you’re in the cupcake business, you don’t want a page that’s purely self-promotional and a bore for anyone other than you and your employees. You want a page that makes people think about how much they love cupcakes and would love to buy some. In other words, you want to share content that’s interesting, educational, and not directly self-promotional. In this particular example, you’d likely want to have some large, attractive pictures of cupcakes and stories touting their health benefits and how they’re particularly delicious this time of year. In other words, info that makes it more likely that visitors will feel familiar with your brand and a desire to do business with you.

The Basics: How To Get Your Social-Media Campaign On The Right Track

 

Running a successful social-media campaign is a bit like running a railroad. First you have to be where the people are. Then you’ve got to keep a regular schedule so the people know when to get on board. Finally, you’ve got to offer your customers something they can’t get from your competition. And, in this case, that means offering quality content consistently and regularly. It also means providing superior service and treating your pages and profiles as an important extension of your business.

Here are some things to think about …

Location: Where you set up shop matters in any business. Open a bait shop 300 miles from the water and see how well that goes. The same is true in social media. Fortunately, this part isn’t very difficult. There are many sites out there. Some are new. So are niche. Some offer some things and others offer others. Ultimately, you want to be where the people are. Niche sites can be good for networking within your industry but new business comes from communicating with the public. And the best way to develop relationships with people online is to go where most of them are. And yeah, that means Facebook is probably a good bet.

Schedule: This is the part that trips a lot of people up. It’s one thing to survey the available social-media sites and get started registering. It’s an altogether different thing to log in regularly and use your profiles and pages to your advantage. Sadly, though it can be done, it isn’t automatic. You have to have something to share and you have to share it on a regular basis. How often you update your pages is up to you. Some social-media gurus will tell you you have to update your pages with new content multiple times a day. Fortunately, updating on any schedule – as long as it’s kept – will likely benefit you. Start slow. Come up with a post every other week. Then up the frequency as you get into a rhythm. What works for you is what works for you. In other words, set the pace you’re comfortable with and let the people know when to expect you. Regularity is familiarity. And familiarity breeds business.

The Extras: It really shouldn’t be a hard sell to get some people to visit, like, follow, or recommend your new social-media profiles. It’ll cost them nothing and make your page seem populated and more interesting to newcomers. So ask some previous clients, referral partners, and other professional contacts to stop by your new page. They’ll be happy to do it and you’ll end up with increased visibility and some potential new connections. But that’s where the extras come in. Now that you’ve got some people visiting, what you put up on you page determines whether or not they’ll come back. Offer good content, interesting info, be available, and answer any questions or comments you get. In other words, treat your social-media sites as an extension of your business and treat your fans and followers like they’re your customers. Be consistent and available, professional and prompt and they’ll return to you in the future.

 

Social-Media Marketing: Crafting Content That Brands And Builds Your Business

Nobody likes a poorly timed call from a telemarketer. Answering a call about having your carpet cleaned when your house has wall-to-wall hardwood floors is never welcome, least of all during the dinner hour. But, what if that telemarketer, rather than trying to sell you something you didn’t need, gave you some information you could use? What if every time you answered a call from a telemarketer they didn’t try to sell you anything but, instead, told you something fascinating and then left you alone. You may be more opened to future calls. This is the theory behind social-media and content marketing.

Here are some tips on content creation and building a presence and reputation online …

Know Your Audience: You’ll find articles suggesting you need to post multiple times a day to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook page. And yeah, the more you post the more attention you’re likely to get. It’s the old quantity over quality argument. In order to drum up some new business, however, you needn’t follow any arbitrary number of posts per day, week, or month. More importantly, you need to determine what kind of content your customers and potential clients would most benefit from receiving. Sending out a tweet every hour that doesn’t appeal to your customers and has nothing to do with your business won’t gain you any respect or attention. Posting something of value, however, can result in a new connection regardless of the frequency.

Know Your Topic: It’s tempting to get online and fill your pages with everything from the personal to the professional. And when you’re starting out and having difficulty finding appropriate content, posting about your favorite hobbies and habits may seem like a good way to get going. But nobody shopping for your particular services is going to choose you over your competition simply because you share the same taste in television, food, or sports teams. They will, however, take a longer look at your page if you’re consistently posting educational, informative, and interesting content aimed at helping them make better decisions. Give your audience what they’re looking for and they’re more likely to come looking for you when they’re ready to do business.

Know Your Purpose: Because it’s easy and free, setting your business up with a social-media profile may seem less valuable and vital. In other words, it may not seem like something that requires time, effort, planning, and forethought. It does. Spending a little time figuring out how you want to present yourself, what kind of content you’d like to offer, and who your target audience will be, can make the difference between a successful campaign and a half-empty Facebook fan page. You wouldn’t, for example, take out an advertisement without considering what it says, where it runs, and how it brands your business. So the same amount of consideration should go into your social-media properties. Keep them professional, up-to-date, consistent, and timely for best results.

Top Tips: Hints and Help For Your LinkedIn Profile

 

Think of LinkedIn as the most well-attended networking event the world has ever seen. Then congratulate yourself on finding a way to meet and greet with more than 70 million professionals without having to endure the awkward conversations and business-card exchanges that go along with your regular, run-of-the-mill business gathering.

When used correctly, LinkedIn provides a platform for online networking, maintaining contacts, receiving referrals and participating in the community at large. And so, we’ve compiled the following tips and tools from past posts in order to help you take better advantage of your profile …

Your Profile: Since LinkedIn began as a vehicle for job hunters, many people are still under the impression that some form of copy-and-pasted resume is all you need to attract potential business to your page. Truth is, this is a representation of you and, hopefully, one that will be seen by potential clients and partners. That means, you’ll want to offer up a bit more than your work history. If you have a Twitter page, add it. Add your website as well. Get connected by importing your email address book and sending out an invite to your business contacts. Add a bio and job experience. The more information you offer, the more likely your profile will be found.

Get Active: So you’ve filled out your profile and imported your business contacts to LinkedIn. The next step is getting active on the site. LinkedIn offers the ability to join as many industry-related groups and discussions as you wish. So do it. Search groups by category or keyword and focus on your region or industry. Once you’ve joined, ask a question or answer an existing query. If nothing else, you may learn something from someone. At best, you’ll make new contacts within your industry and region that could lead to business down the road.

Make Recommendations: On LinkedIn, recommendations bolster your credibility. After all, if you’ve got a lot of recommendations, you’re most likely trustworthy and not out to scam, spam, or swindle anyone. But how do you get them? Well, start by recommending people you’ve had positive business experiences with. Once you’ve made some recommendations, it’ll be a lot easier to get some in return.

WordPress: If you have a business blog and haven’t added it to your LinkedIn page, you should. The WordPress application on LinkedIn allows you to easily update your profile with your most recent blog posts, provided you’re using WordPress. And, if embedding your blog on your LinkedIn profile sounds like it may be beyond your technological abilities, it’s as easy as entering your domain name into the application. Everything else is automatic.

Polls: You may think polls are only for research centers and presidential campaigns but they’re also a handy and convenient way of gathering information that will boost your business. Use the poll application on LinkedIn to pose a question to your connections and millions of other professionals, then use their answers to better your services. In addition, the poll application allows you to embed the voting module on your website or blog.

Be Strategic: Once you’ve set up a page and joined some groups, developed some content, discussion topics, or questions to share, it’s time to think strategically about how, where, and when to post it. You don’t, for example, want to post your content on Christmas morning or the 4th of July or even 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 found among millions of members.

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.

The Layman’s Guide To Search-Engine Optimization

 

Trying to figure out the algorithm Google uses to rank web pages in search-engine results would take a degree in mathematics and a minor in computer science. And even then, you may be at a loss. That means, search-engine optimization will forever remain a mystery to any of us outside the bowels of Google’s headquarters. Still, you don’t have to be schooled in calculus and computer programming to know that the more popular and regularly updated a web page, the more easily it’ll be found in search-engine results.

Here are a few simple tips to improving your web presence without hiring a mathematician …

Content & Keywords: You can find plenty of articles online explaining how to optimize your web properties through the use of keywords. Simply put, if you have a blog and use the phrase “ice cream stand” in every sentence in every blog post you put up on the web, then you’ll be more likely to be found when someone searches for ice cream stands on Google or Bing. But creating content around keywords will likely leave your blog posts sounding as though English was your second language. However, if your business is running an ice cream stand and you’re blogging about your industry, then you’ll naturally be including all the right keywords. Which is another way of saying, regular content relevant to your profession or industry will naturally include all the appropriate keywords. That means, creating content regularly and focusing on a target audience is the simplest way to ensure that you show up in the right searches online.

Plugins: If you’re using WordPress, there are plenty of plugins available that promise to increase your search-engine rankings. These plugins, including All in One SEO Pack, WordPress SEO by Yoast, and SEO Smart Links, will require some input and knowledge on your end but can help automatically tag your pages and posts to increase the likelihood that you’re found in the searches you’d prefer. Unfortunately, if you’re already creating regular content and are active online, it’ll be hard to determine whether the plugin or your manual efforts are responsible for any noticeable results. Still, having a look through the available online tools can’t hurt and may help you achieve the results you desire.

Social-Media: Having social-media pages devoted to your business can also help you show up in search-engine results. But, in order to capitalize on the positive effects social-media can have in getting you found by the right people, you’ll have to make sure your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages are properly set up. For example, though you may be tempted to get creative with your page names, the most effective way to be found in search-engine results is to be straightforward. Use your business name or the closest thing to it and also fill in the most essential parts of your fan pages and profiles. The more relevant information you share online, the more you’ll be found in relevant search-engine results.

 

Wikipedia: social media The online forms of communicating that any individual can employ, which include blogs, microblogs such as Twitter and social networking sites such as Facebook.

The Basics: Turning Blog Visitors Into Business Leads

 

If you opened a retail store and had a flood of customers coming through your door everyday but never buying anything, you wouldn’t call that success. Sure, you would have succeeded in getting people to visit but, if your visitors do nothing but look, you wouldn’t be able to afford your rent, employees, or merchandise. Which means, you would be out of business just as quickly as you got into it. Social-media marketing works the same way. Converting visitors into customers takes effort and some organization. Concentrating on quantity over quality can leave you with an impressive stat sheet but no new leads.

Here are some tips on organizing your efforts and making the most of your online properties …

The Operations Center: Maybe you feel like blogs are yesterday’s news and you’d prefer to skip a step and take your online efforts directly to Facebook or Twitter. Don’t. A blog gives you much more control over how and what your customers see. Facebook, for example, is continually changing and evolving. You have no control over the next update and how that may affect your ability to share your content with potential customers, clients, and partners. Set up a blog and use that as your central hub. From there you can send your posts to whatever other online properties you use for business. In short, start with the blog and share from there. You’ll have more control and an easier time organizing your info and where it’s shared.

Use Your Base: Maintaining a blog takes effort. If nothing else, it requires regular content. That can be a challenge. So much so that getting your blog in front of your target audience can be a secondary concern. Turning your latest post into a lead generator can be tricky but building an audience may be easier than it seems. For one, you can use existing and past clients to generate an audience that’s focused and familiar. How, you may ask, would having past customers reading your blog help build your business? Well it will boost awareness and readership, in addition to providing all important word-of-mouth. After all, a past customer who’s already familiar with you and work will be more willing to pass along your info to family, friends, and colleagues.

Merge and Integrate: Too often, professionals set themselves up with social-media sites and blogs but don’t take the time to link them together or to their business website. Using RSS feeds or any available plugins and widgets online makes it easier than ever to incorporate your blog into your business site, your Facebook fan page, and your Twitter feed. If the purpose of keeping a business blog is to build business, then your main objective should be getting people to visit any or all of your online properties. Driving traffic back to your business website is key. Make sure you’re making it easy for visitors to find you before complaining that your online marketing efforts are a waste of time and effort.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

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 Business of Blogging: Why You Need A Blog And How To Get Started

The Internet doesn’t stand still. It’s constantly evolving and ever changing. And for that reason alone you need a business blog. Unlike your business website, a blog can – and should – be updated regularly. So, while your website may have all the most pertinent and relevant information about you and your business, it’s the same info anytime anyone visits. A blog gives you the ability to provide potential clients and customers with fresh content and a reason to return to your site in the future. It also gives you a platform to further impress, explain, and inform, in addition to driving page views and traffic to your website.

Here are the basics …

The What: A blog isn’t a replacement for your business website. It is a supplement to your other online destinations. Which means, you’ll benefit most if your blog and website are linked and driving traffic to one another. Promote your blog on your site and your website on your blog. The same goes for any other social-media sites you’ve set up. Creating a network of online properties that are professional, well maintained, and regularly updated gives potential customers the ability to investigate you and your business and become more comfortable with your expertise, experience, and services. It’ll also provide increased customer interaction and loyalty, as well as helping your business appear higher in search-engine results. And, let’s face it, not many people are using the phone book anymore. People search online when looking for goods and services. It’s best that you’re there when they get there.

The How: It’s always easier said than done. It’s one thing to say you’d like to start a business blog and another altogether to actually maintain and update one on a somewhat regular basis. And the number one reason for that is the writing. You’ll have to have some content to share. And you’ll have to have a fair amount too. The good news is content is easier to generate if you think in terms of types and not topics. In other words, come up with a few types of posts that seem easier to craft and then alter the topics each time. Lists, for example, are an always popular choice for blog posts. Others include, how-to posts, insider info and expert opinions, predictions, polls, and surveys. Eventually, you’ll develop a rhythm and schedule that works for you. Don’t give up too quickly.

The When: One would assume, if you’re in business, you’re in business to make money. So you’re likely thinking, “When will I see actual business after writing all these lists, posts, and updates?” Well, your blog is not a sales tool. It’s a marketing vehicle for your brand and an opportunity to attract a new audience for your services. In other words, think of it as added value. It sets you apart from your competition by offering extra information and expertise that benefits your customer. It makes you more accessible online and more easily found. In short, it provides a lot of value to your business and your clients while building your brand, online presence, and reputation. But it may take time and it’s success all depends on your goals and expectations. If you expect to put up a blog and be ringing up sales after your first post, you’ll likely be disappointed. Give it time. The more content you share on your blog, the higher you’ll rank in search-engine results. It adds up. And again, when’s the last time you used a phone book?

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Email Marketing: Crafting Content That Your Mailing List Will Read

For all its high-tech bells and whistles, the Internet is really all about the written word. After all – whether you’re posting to your blog, tweeting, or updating your Facebook page – what you’re really doing is writing. Which means, spending a little time thinking about your writing could make a big difference in the success, or failure, of your online activities. And nowhere more so than when launching an email marketing campaign.

Here are some tips …

Headlines: Okay, start with the subject line. It is, arguably, the most important part of your email. It will determine whether or not the recipient even opens your mail, let alone reads any of it. That means, you’ll have to start thinking of your email subject line as though it was a headline in a newspaper. In other words, you’ll have to give ‘em enough info to know what to expect but also spur enough interest to get your mail opened and read. Subjects left blank, vague, or suspiciously urgent will get you deleted on the spot. For examples, pay attention to the emails in your own inbox. Which subject lines sparked your interest and which didn’t? Mimic and repeat.

The Body: The trick to a successful email-marketing campaign is making the people on your mailing list feel like they’re not on an email-marketing list. That means, keeping it light and easily digested. It also means adding a little personality to your emails. If you’re sending out dry sales pieces, you’ll be treated accordingly. Add a little of your own voice to the emails and include all the pertinent info right there in the body of your email. Don’t fill up on attachments. Instead, copy-and-paste any relevant info, so your recipients won’t have to do any extra work. Sure, it’s only an attachment. But the less you ask, the more you’ll receive. After all, we’re all inherently lazy.

The Content Farm: So now you’re wondering where email marketing fits into your social-media marketing campaign. Right? Well that’s to be expected. Here’s the thing … Integrating your social-media pages and your email marketing campaign is not only the most effective strategy, it’s the least labor intensive. In other words, use your mailing list to promote your social-media sites and your social-media sites to add to your mailing list. Use each to boost the other. And share content, while you’re at it. Say you’ve just posted something to your business blog and wanted to ensure someone, other than you, reads it. Send out an email announcing the post with a link, a few highlights, and a short note to your clients and partners. Make it personal, easy-to-read, and top it with an enticing subject line.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Personal Branding, Social Media, And The Art Of Presentation

 

If you’ve ever thought enough not to wear overalls to a business meeting, you know something about personal branding. Which is to say, branding isn’t just for corporate logos, high-profile advertising campaigns, and big-budget marketing efforts. At its root, branding is about how you present yourself, whether you’re a multinational corporation or in business for yourself. And these days, the Internet and social media provide professionals with more control over their personal brand than ever before.

Here are some tips for building your brand online …

Use Your Name: Buy a domain name in your name. In other words, www.yournamehere.com. Whether you’re setting up a static website or a blog, having your own domain name – or something close to it – gives you a home base. Generally, blogs rank higher in search engines and provide an ability to communicate regularly with your contacts. But whatever you do, put it in your name. Setting up a blog, Twitter or Facebook page under your company’s name means, if you switch jobs at any point, you’ll have to reestablish your brand with new pages and profiles. Setting up a network of pages in your name will allow you to build your own brand and provide potential clients and partners a place to form a first impression.

Create Some Content: Once you’ve created the destination, you’ll need to create a reason for people to visit. That means content. And content, in this case, should be thought of in terms of presentation. Before you post anything consider how it’ll be viewed by potential business that may stumble upon your blog or Facebook page. Use your online properties to promote your professionalism, expertise, and attention to detail. That means, in addition to posting relevant and interesting, industry-related information on your blog, you should also have a professional photo and bio, along with easily located contact info.

Sweat The Small Stuff: Building your personal brand means paying attention to even the smallest details. Keep things linked and consistent. Setting up pages under your own name and making sure your contact, bio, and photo are updated – and the same on each page or profile – will prevent guesswork. Litter the Internet with multiple email addresses, out-of-date web pages, and 12 separate phone, fax, and cell numbers and risk losing possible business contacts to confusion. Also, if you have a business blog, use its RSS feed to send your posts to any of your other business-related social media sites. Having a network of online properties that present a consistent representation of who you are personally and professionally will establish your brand, along with your business, online.

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

Three Strategies For Getting Your Facebook Fan Page Found

By now, if you haven’t heard of Facebook, it’s likely because you’re still busy trying to program your VCR or you have a Victrola that needs cranking. Which is to say, it’s everywhere. But how does a professional use Facebook to build their business, generate leads, and meet potential clients? First, you have to set up a fan page for your businesses or brand. After that, you have to get the word out. The page won’t do the work for you. So here are some tips on finding an audience and keeping their interest …

Give it a Proper Name: Sure, it seems easy enough but choosing a smart name might mean something entirely different to you than it does to a search engine. The best name to use, if you’d like to be found more often in searches, is the exact name of your business. Using clever phrases or your web domain may seem like a good way to separate yourself from Facebook’s 500 million active users, but more often than not it’ll make you less likely to be found by the very people you’re trying to attract.

Promote Your Page: Like anything else, if you want people to know about something, you have to tell them. So take advantage of Facebook’s widgets and badges and add links to your page on your business website, your blog, and anywhere else you can think of. The more opportunities you create to promote your page, the more likely you’ll have a burgeoning fan base before long.

Advertise: Facebook offers an advertising platform that allows you to buy a simple ad that you can target by location, age, or interests. That means, your ad appears before exactly the audience you want to attract. It’s not free, but if you’re serious about building your fan page, it’s a good way to start adding fans that aren’t in your family or social circle.

More Facebook tips from The Ibis Network here and 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.

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/

Making The Most Of Your Active Rain Profile

Active Rain is the largest and most active social networking site for real-estate professionals. As such, it’s a perfect place to begin refining your online efforts. Use the tips below to maximize your profile or, if all else fails, grab some ideas from the nearly 200,000 profiles currently registered.

Start Blogging: Whether or not you already have a blog, Active Rain’s blogging tools are a great way to broaden your audience. If you’re already blogging, consider re-posting your blog posts on Active Rain or write supplementary information with a link back to the original post. If nothing else, the search-engine benefits alone make it worth while. Also spend some time reading through other posts on the site and offer a comment or some friendly encouragement. Like any social-media network, it’s about relationships. The more relationships you form, the more likely they lead to a potential referral partner or client.

Link Active Rain to Your Online Accounts: Having an online network is all but useless unless you keep your profiles fresh and full of content. So, wherever possible, link your social-media sites. Connect your Active Rain account to your Facebook page, or any other accounts you have. Having your profiles automatically updated will save you time and provide even more exposure for your business and services.

Take Advantage of Your Profile: On Active Rain, the more complete your profile, the more points you receive. The more points you receive, the more visible you are when people search for agents in your area. In other words, take some time and add a bio, testimonials, work experience, and any other pertinent background information to your profile. Use anchor text to link back to your business website, blog, or anything else you’d like to share.

Learn From Observation: If you get discouraged, scroll through Active Rain’s success stories for inspiration. Click through and see how other Realtors are using their Active Rain profiles. Steal an idea or two and apply it to your page. If it worked for them, there’s no reason it can’t work for you too.

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/

Using LinkedIn To Grow Your Business

A short tutorial on using your LinkedIn network to grow your business. More here.

[youtube http://youtube.com/w/?v=IzT3JVUGUzM]

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/