The Ibis Network's Social-Media Marketing Tips
Saturday October 25th 2014

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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

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.

 

The What, Why, And How Of Facebook Fan Pages For Business

 

Here’s the thing … Telling yourself that Facebook is child’s play and there’s no way you could benefit from setting up a fan page isn’t going to build your business or attract any new clients. In fact, businesses both big and small are finding new ways to generate leads and potential business through social media. Of course, some are more successful than others but all of them will see more success than they would if they just did nothing at all.

Here’s the what, why, and how of setting up a Facebook fan page for your business …

The What: This is the easiest part to explain. A Facebook fan page is similar to a regular Facebook page but rather than updating your friends and family on your whereabouts and personal life, you’ll be sharing information about your business and communicating with a network of potential clients and existing customers. Sure, you’ll need to build that network first but with a bit of effort and creativity, you’ll find there’s a good reason so many companies feel it’s important to be represented on Facebook.

The Why: The short answer is there are 250 million users logging into Facebook each day and it’s the website Americans spend most of their time visiting when they’re online. In other words, your business should be represented on Facebook because everyone is on Facebook and, in order to build business, you need to go where the people are. Fortunately, having a Facebook fan page also means better search-engine results as well. That means, not only will you be able to capitalize on the millions of users already on Facebook but you’ll also be more easily found through search-engines such as Google and Bing.

The How: This is where it gets more difficult. Unfortunately, you won’t have much success if you register a page and then don’t ever update it, login, or fill out the appropriate information. So here are some quick tips. Once you’ve got a page registered and filled out all of your business info, have a look through the available applications to get an idea of the ways you can maximize your fan page. Using the provided apps is easier than ever and can, for example, import your blog posts, set up additional tags for reviews, polls, and contests, in addition to helping facilitate contact between you and any potential clients that stumbled across your page. Also, take advantage of the available badges to place a link to your new fan page on any other online properties you have. The more you advertise your site, the more visitors you’ll have. And be sure to use Facebook as your fan page. In other words, log in as your business and “like” other pages, make comments, and participate in the online community. It’s a great way of spreading the word and getting your name out.

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: Business Blogging For The Busy Professional

 

If there’s a television network you watch more than any other, it’s not because they run more commercials than their competitors. It’s because you like their shows. In short, it’s the content. A cable channel devoted to food-related advertising wouldn’t garner nearly as many viewers as any one of the many cooking/food networks.

The same applies to your business blog. You’ll have to create content that makes people take interest and you’ll have to post it regularly enough that they come back in the future. And, if that sounds like a lot of pressure, here are a few tips to remember while blogging for business …

Give it Time: The good news is nobody is likely going to be reading your blog when you first get going. And, though that doesn’t sound like good news, it will provide you some time to come up with a plan, some content, and a schedule that fits your schedule. Don’t be afraid to try things. Gather some industry-related stats or surveys, news or links and focus on the most interesting bits and pieces. Grab a couple, write up a short explanatory sentence or two, then summarize the details. That’s a blog post. Experiment with lists and how-to posts. Most importantly, keep at it. It’ll take some time and a little promotion before you have any readers, use that time wisely.

Write it Right: Okay, we understand that one of the biggest deterrents to keeping a business blog is the writing. But you don’t have to be the second coming of William Shakespeare in order to have a successful blog. You only need to pay a little more attention. Turn your spell check on and fix any mistakes. Keep it short and simple. You don’t need to know what a semicolon does. You don’t even have to use them. You do, however, have to make it readable. Break it up into shorter paragraphs and read what you wrote before posting. In fact, step away for a half hour or so and reread what you wrote with fresh eyes.

Keep a Schedule: There are those that will say, “Who has the time?” And yeah, the day is only so long. But keeping a regular schedule is better than keeping a bruising schedule. Which means, while you may notice more attention from search engines if you post 10 times a day, you’d also notice fewer hours in your day available for doing business. The answer is setting a schedule in advance. If you only blog on Monday and Friday, but you put something up every Monday and Friday, any readers you have will know when to check in for your latest offering. If you post 49 times the first week and then once a month and a half later, you’ll lose any momentum you had. Be consistent.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Tweet Suite: The Top 11 Tools For Twitter Success

So you signed up for a Twitter account, tweeted around a little, and think you know everything there is to know about the Twitterverse. Well there’s 1,000 ways to use Twitter and an ever-expanding list of tools available to help you figure one or two of those ways that’ll make it work for you and your business.

Here’s a list of some of tools, apps, and ideas to help you maximize your tweets …

Contaxio: A tool to help manage, track, and interconnect your Twitter account. With Contaxio, you’ll be able to find contacts with similar interests, review your activity, scan stats about the people you follow and those who follow you, and even keep up with new contacts from your Facebook page.

Twaitter: Twaitter is another all-in-one Twitter tool aimed at increasing your efficiency, managing your accounts, and organizing your Twitter output. Schedule a tweet for later or even set it up to send recurring tweets on a daily, monthly, or even yearly basis. You’ll also be able to manage your activity with an interactive calendar, link a RSS feed to your Twitter account, and invite co-workers to join your account.

Twictionary: If you’re new to social media, the lingo alone can be intimidating. Luckily, there’s a Twictionary, which is exactly what it sounds like it might be. A dictionary of Twitter-related terms you’ll learn everything from the meaning of the hashtag to what it means to be an Atwistocrat.

Twitter Counter: Twitter Counter claims to be the number one Twitter stat site, tracking more than 14 million Twitter users and providing stats, widgets, and buttons for its users. For a price, they even offer a featured spot on their website for people looking to gain some attention and followers.

Twitter-Search: The quickest way to find who and what you’re looking for on Twitter. Filter real-time tweets to find people and businesses in your region and industry, then follow the results.

Nearby Tweets: See who’s tweeting what in your area. The simple set-up delivers search results based on a keyword and a location. Search for anything anywhere and see who’s tweeting what near you.

TwitPic: Feeling limited by Twitter’s 140 character maximum? Use TwitPic to share photos with your Twitter followers. If you have a Twitter account, then you’re already signed up for TwitPic. Log in using your Twitter username and password and get started.

TweetScan: Another easy-to-use search tool for keeping on top of what’s happening on Twitter.

CoTweet: A popular site for managing your Twitter accounts. Handy for tracking multiple accounts and keeping you on top of all your online activity.

Twibs: A Twitter-based business directory, Twibs aims to help businesses reach their customers. It’s as simple as registering your business, choosing some keywords, and adding links to your email and blog.

Twitdom: A directory of nearly 2,000 available applications and sites offering Twitter-related services.

Social Media Isn’t Magic And Other Keys To Success Online

It’s tempting to think social-media success involves a little magic and some sleight-of-hand. There must be some app, service, software, or site that would propel your profits and boost your business. Maybe the spammers are right and you should just buy 1,000 Facebook fans and wait for them to spread the word. Sadly, though there are many helpful tools available to help you along the way (See our previous posts on apps and plugins for LinkedIn, Facebook, and WordPress), social media isn’t magic. It is, however, an effective way to develop relationships and create word-of-mouth if done correctly.

Here are some tips on successfully marketing your business through social media …

Content is King: Social-media success requires a bit of restraint. Which means, while you may want to fill your blog or Twitter feed with advertisements for you and your business, you’ll do better offering content that is interesting to your potential customer base and forming relationships with any followers or fans you make along the way. Keep your content short and easy to read. On Facebook, for example, it’s been shown that shorter posts get shared 27 percent more than longer posts. And, when you think about it, it’s just common sense. If you’re selling cupcakes, people will get tired of hearing about how you’ve got cupcakes for sale. But what if you posted a recipe instead? It’s likely that the recipe would be shared and enjoyed by more people than yet another plea for business.

Relationships Matter: Whether you have 10 Twitter followers or 5,000 Facebook fans, you should make an effort to treat them as something more than potential dollar signs. After all, people will be more loyal and likely to tell their friends if there’s a person behind the page rather than a company logo that rarely responds to messages or comments. Don’t be as concerned with the number of connections you’ve made as much as the connections themselves. Be personable, appreciative, and responsive. You may find shifting your focus from quantity to quality will, strangely enough, end up boosting your numbers.

Sharing is Caring: Your goal is to get people to share your content or your contact info. You may find someone in search of exactly the service you provide through your social-media efforts or you may be contacted by someone who had a link sent to them or had a friend tell them about your business. In other words, it’s about word-of-mouth. And the best way to create word-of-mouth is to do your best to be respectful and not an annoyance. Post regularly to your blog or social-media site but not so much that people tune you out. Share good information and think it through. Think about what you’d be interested in or what would be helpful to your customers and allow that to guide what you post.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

WordPress Made Easy: Top Plugins For Your Business Blog

Keeping a business blog can be an effective tool for branding your business, generating leads, and keeping in touch with clients, partners, and anyone else who stumbles across your site. It can also be a headache. That’s why you should be taking advantage of the large directory of plugins available to WordPress users. Plugins, like apps, are easy-to-use and greatly increase the functionality of your site. They can help with everything from reducing spam comments to spell checking to syndicating your content and improving your search-engine rankings. Best of all, they’re typically free and shouldn’t require a degree in computer programming to use.

Here are a few to benefit your blog and your business …

Postie: Posting regular content to your business blog can be challenging, if only because it can be difficult to fit into an otherwise busy work schedule. Using the Postie plugin, however, can take some of the work out of blogging by making it possible to send your posts via email. You can set categories and tags, include pictures and videos, and strip off your email signature and anything else you wouldn’t want appearing on your blog. Easy to set up and customize, Postie requires nothing more than a dedicated email address to send your posts to. After that, posting to your blog will be no more difficult than sending any other email.

Network Publisher: In order to use Network Publisher, you’ll need to register for an account with the plugin’s author, Links Alpha. That’s the bad news. The good news is it’s free and will make updating your entire social network a breeze. Network Publisher allows you to publish your blog posts to any, or all, of the 30 social-media sites offered, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogger, and Google Buzz.

WPTouch: In the age of the iPhone, iPod, and Android, it’s important that people accessing the Internet from their phone or tablet are still able to find and use your site. WPTouch will automatically transform your blog into a mobile-friendly theme without requiring any coding. In other words, this WordPress plugin will provide an accessible and user-friendly version of your site for mobile visitors without affecting your regular blog theme.

Jetpack: Jetpack is actually a set of plugins, including a widget for displaying your Twitter feed, stats, a URL shortener, and a collection of share buttons that allow your readers to easily pass your posts along to their social networks. It even includes a spelling, style, and grammar check to help you edit your writing efficiently. The all-in-one package is allows users of self-hosting WordPress sites to access the same easy-to-use widgets and tools available from wordpress.com.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

 

The Top 4 LinkedIn Applications For Business

Everyone likes a bonus. Whether it’s an extra check before the holidays or the surprise in a box of Cracker Jacks, getting something for nothing is always a welcomed development. When it comes to social media, most sites offer bonuses in the form of applications, or apps. Apps provide extra function and are, in most cases, free.

Here are four free apps available on LinkedIn that will add function to your professional profile …

SlideShare: Any application that counts The White House, IBM, and the United Nations among their users must have something to offer. SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing documents, PDFs, videos, and webinars. Using the free application on LinkedIn, you can upload presentations and documents to your profile and make them available to anyone visiting your page. You can also upload YouTube videos. And, if that wasn’t enough, SlideShare also allows you to sync your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts, so anything you share will instantly appear on both pages.

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

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.

Events: Social media is great for networking, but even better when you integrate your online efforts with old-fashioned, face-to-face functionality. The events app allows you to see what industry events and regional functions your connections are attending, in addition to providing you with recommend events based on your profession. Learn more about the conferences and industry seminars that are coming to town and let your network know where you’ll be and when.

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

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

Content Creation or How To Put The Media in Your Social-Media Campaign

Fortunately, all you need to know about social media is contained right in its name. It’s social, meaning you’ll have to participate and engage your community. And it’s media, meaning it’s a form of communication no different than a radio or television station. The difference is it’s your radio or television station. And that’s where it gets confusing. Content creation is the key to a successful social-media campaign. It’s also what leaves the Internet littered with abandoned Facebook pages and tweet-free Twitter accounts.

Here are some tips for creating content that will attract an audience and build your business …

Know Your Audience: Whether you’ve setup a blog, a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter account, you’ll need content. But before you post anything, think of your audience. Consumers use the Internet to educate themselves before making a decision. Therefore, if your content educates and informs, you’re likely to gain trust and build an audience. Use what you know to your advantage. Think of questions your clients frequently ask and use the answers to form blog posts. Use industry news and events to explain and entertain. Ask a question or offer an opinion. Take a poll and turn the results into an additional post.

Know Your Keywords: You can find plenty of advice online about including keywords in headlines, posts, tags, and categories. And it’s true that search engines will catalog your content based on the words it finds in your posts. But there’s an easier way to think of it. After all, if you concentrate your efforts on including a list of keywords, your content will read like poorly executed Mad Libs. In the end, if you’re posting content that is relevant to your industry or community, your keywords will occur naturally. In other words, if you’re in the mortgage business, post content about the mortgage industry and you’re more likely to end up in front of someone looking to refinance their home. If you write about your family picnic, you’ll end up more popular with family-picnic aficionados than potential business connections.

Know Where To Broadcast: After you’ve got a plan and created some content, you have to promote it. After all, even NBC still promotes its product and you likely don’t have the same name recognition. So once you’ve got something to share, think of where you’d like to post it. A Facebook fan page, for example, is a more appropriate vehicle for business-related content than your personal account. Syndicate your content to all of your appropriate profiles and/or blogs and then post it in relevant groups and forums within your social network. The more you share your content, the more likely you’ll grow an audience, generate leads, and meet potential clients.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Top Business Benefits of Social Media Marketing

If your idea of social networking involves a handshake and a business card, it’s time to upgrade your marketing efforts. The surging popularity of social-media sites has changed the way businesses interact with their customer base and market their services. Increasingly, businesses turn to blogs and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to generate leads, gain exposure, and brand their business. And recent surveys show social media’s use is expanding, along with its effectiveness.

Here are the top three business benefits of social-media marketing …

Exposure: According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of surveyed businesses said their social-media efforts had generated additional exposure for their business and led to improved web traffic. In a separate survey, companies that blog reported 55 percent more website visitors and 97 percent more inbound links than companies that didn’t.

Relationships and Referrals: Social media makes forming one-on-one relationships with your customers and clients easier than ever. Keeping a blog and regularly updated social-media sites creates exposure for you and your business, but it also forms an existing community of people you’ve done business with. And staying in touch and participating with your online community can lead to an increase in referrals. After all, if a potential client visits your Facebook or Twitter page and its filled with glowing reviews from satisfied customers, it will likely have a positive influence when deciding whether or not to do business with you.

Lead Generation: Among 752 recently surveyed small-business owners, 57 percent said lead generation was the top benefit of social-media marketing. And that number is growing. Small-business owners that said Facebook was somewhat or very beneficial to their business rose to 55 percent from 33.2 percent the year before, while Twitter and LinkedIn also saw significant gains. In other words, the popularity and effectiveness of social-media marketing continues to grow, as does the power to generate real-life leads from your online efforts.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: A Beginner’s Guide To Social-Media Strategy

Think of setting up social-media profiles the same way you would buying a phone. Sure, finding the phone that best fits your needs is important. But after that, you wouldn’t, for example, expect to get any calls without giving out the number. And you wouldn’t return the phone if it didn’t make calls for you. And you certainly wouldn’t expect that, when you did call someone, the phone would do the talking for you.

In other words, too many businesses sign up for a Facebook page or Twitter account and expect the wonders of the Internet to do the rest. Social-media is nothing more than a form of communication, no different than your telephone. And, like a telephone, having something to say is ultimately more important than the fact that you have a phone. Your content, ultimately, will determine whether your pages will be productive or passed over.

After that, here are a few other things to consider …

Where And How: Choosing where to concentrate your social-media efforts can be confusing. Ultimately, though, choosing an online community that fits your business needs is more important than signing up for the most popular site or the one with the most name recognition. In other words, the channel you use to broadcast your message isn’t as important as the message you broadcast. Once you’ve found a site to join, spend some time learning how its users interact. Learn “best practices” and abide by them. It is a community, after all. Don’t be the obnoxious new neighbor.

Plan With Perspective: Once you’ve registered and set up a profile, think about how you’ll use it and what to expect. An online profile is not an advertisement and you shouldn’t expect to promote your services and be able to sit back while tracking your success. It’s about communication. Shameless promotion is about as welcome online as a telemarketer’s phone call is during the dinner hour. Produce informative, educational, or entertaining content and chances are you’ll attract an audience.

Publish And Distribute: Now that you’ve got some profiles online, a plan for how you’d like to use them, and some content to share, it’s time to syndicate. Say you have a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account but don’t have the time to log in to each every time you have something to post. Most of the major social-media sites now offer applications that interlink your network and automatically share your content. Which means, any time you post to your blog, your social-media sites will also be updated, increasing your chances of building an audience for your information across your social network.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Common Sense Steps To Reaching Your Audience and Building a Better Business Blog

If you’ve ever scoured the Internet for tips on how to make your business blog more effective, you’re well aware that the available information can range from the contradictory to the incomprehensible. In the end, you’re only trying to reach the right audience for your services and have little need for number-one rankings on all the major search engines, especially if they’re only delivering empty clicks and hits from half way around the world.

Here are some simple steps toward more effective blogging …

Keep a Schedule: You can find so-called experts that will advise you to post, at least, five times a day . You can find others who will advise that you should post no more than once or twice a week. Both of them are right … and wrong. Only you can determine how much time to invest in your business blog. But don’t become discouraged if you can’t generate enough content to post every 20 minutes. If you keep a consistent schedule, readers will know when to expect updates. If you only post once a week, people reading your blog will learn to expect your weekly post and return to your blog accordingly. Sporadic posting, on the other hand, will leave even interested readers confused about how often to check your site.

Don’t Get Personal: There’s a difference between a personal blog and a business blog. If you’re sending your blog out to clients and referral partners, chances are they’re going to be more interested in relevant information about your business, industry, and region than they will be about your daughter’s birthday party. Keep focused on your audience and write posts that will be interesting, entertaining, and informative.

Make It Easy To Find: There are plenty of sites that will tell you about the importance of keywords, tags, and search engine optimization. And all of those things can be an effective way of getting your site noticed. But an even easier, and more targeted, way of attracting readers to your blog is telling people about it. Put links to your blog on your website and in your email signature. Put the address anywhere you’d put your website’s, including business cards and marketing materials. Syndicating your content through social media sites is another good way of spreading the word and luring readers.

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

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Social Media: How To Find Friends, Fans, and Followers Online

 

It’s been said that it not what you know, it’s who you know. And these days, who you know includes your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections.

So how do you meet more people online? Here are a few ideas to help you build a bigger online network of friends, followers, fans and connections …

Import Your Contacts: Increasingly, social-media sites offer their users the ability to import contacts from their other online profiles. In other words, if you’ve got 121 connections on LinkedIn but your tweets are going unnoticed, you can locate your LinkedIn contacts through Twitter’s “Who To Follow” function and boost the number of people reading your tweets in a few simple clicks. Or try this.

Promote Your Profiles: Make it easy for your contacts to find your online profiles. Most social-media sites offer badges and banners that can be added to your blog, website, and email signature. Adding a link to your profiles will provide potential clients and business partners an effortless way to find and follow you online.

Be Active: There’s a reason it’s called social media. The more you socialize and engage your network, the bigger your network will be. That means, posting regularly, offering interesting information, running contests and polls, and asking friends, family, and online fans to help you promote your pages. Keeping your profiles active and updated will keep your existing contacts coming back and lead to new connections you wouldn’t have otherwise made.

Offer Something Exclusive: Once you’ve successfully driven some traffic to your social network, you still have to convince that traffic to become a fan or follower. Deals, discounts, and freebies are a great way to build your fan base and your business.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: 41 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Realtors And Mortgage Professionals

 

An update of The Ibis Network’s previous list of social-media terms … New terms in bold.

The Internet is an incredible resource for real-estate and mortgage professionals 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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Source materials here, here, here, here, here, and here. Original glossary here.

Please check back with www.theibisnetwork.wordpress.com for future updates and additions to this glossary.

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

The Basics: 23 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Realtors And Mortgage Professionals

The Internet is an incredible resource for real-estate and mortgage professionals 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 are some basic terms to familiarize yourself with …

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

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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 to communicate and engage with one another online.

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

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.

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

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

Source materials here, here, here, and here.

Please check back with www.theibisnetwork.wordpress.com for future updates and additions to this glossary.

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/

Facebook: Tips and Tricks For Realtors and Mortgage Professionals

As of July 2010, Facebook had more than 500 million active users. So if you’re among those who still don’t believe they need to incorporate social media into their networking strategy, ask yourself how many people you’re reaching with your current marketing approach. If the number is anywhere south of 700,000, it might be time to register for a Facebook fan page and give online marketing a try.

With a little time and effort, your Facebook page will quickly increase your ability to communicate with your community, advertise your services, network with other professionals, and meet people who may be looking to buy a home or refinance a loan.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your new Facebook page …

Invite Your Friends, Contacts, And Clients: You can’t attract people to your page without first letting them know it’s there. Invite everyone on your contact list to become a fan of your page. Then add a “Become a Fan” button to your website or blog and watch your visibility grow.

Take out an Ad: Sure, it’ll cost you but setting up a small ad on Facebook can lead to new fans and further promotion of your page. Add an image and a catchy headline and start cultivating the resulting relationships. More here.

Share Information: Share links and articles to establish yourself as an expert in your area. Post business updates on your wall. Include your newsletter subscription information on your page. Post info on upcoming events. Start a group page for your community. Ask questions. Answer questions. Get involved.

Customize Your Page: Add applications. Facebook provides easy-to-use applications that allow you to connect your page to your blog, Twitter, Flickr, and many other social-media sites. The more content and connectivity, the more opportunities there will be for people to find you and your fan page.

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/

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