What Blogging and Social Media Can Do for You and Your Business!

 Monday, November 28, 2011

What is a blog and why should businesses blog? Blogs, or Web logs, present online journal content organized in reverse chronological order, and should be entertaining and informative. Blogs and other social media can create the following for you:

Online Democracy

This is the human factor that reads blogs, searches online for Information, sends and receives e-mails, sends and receives voice mails, and has a Web site or visits Web sites.

Search Engine Optimization

As much as 80 percent of all Web interactions begin with a search. Using key word phrases targeted to your product or service helps your organic placement and you can also use pay per click campaigns to grow faster, but organic sites seem to have more credibility for searches. From 80 to 95 percent of all clicks on a page happen in the organic results. This will get people to your site, but there needs to be recent and relevant content with links to keep consumers on your site and give information that is valuable to the customer.

Higher Prospect Interaction and Conversion

Google ranks phrases used on your site and it is important to know what the customer is searching for in your industry to be able to best interact on your site and gather leads that eventually convert to sales.

E-mail Acquisition

E-mail personalized newsletters are a great way to educate the consumer and establish you and your company as the expert in your field. There is a downside to e-mail campaigns in that if you are just selling, selling, and selling, you will have people opt out and the e-mail acquisition campaign will fail. Deliver content that your customers want to know and drive traffic back to your Web site with more relevant content.

A great example of this would be in a newsletter. My company links back to our seminar page http://www.exhib-it.com/seminars/ highlighting our FREE marketing seminars for the entire year at a glance.

This is informative for the customer and shows how our company supports businesses in the community (which establishes our promotion and process that is relevant to our strategies).

Employee Retention/Customer Engagement

Employees who blog for a company are more engaged with the company than employees who do not blog for the company. If you want to start with an online blogging site, try WordPress (www.wordpress.org). It is the most widely used blogging site and is free, and has lots of plug-ins. The featured plug-in are WordPress.com Stats that provides simple, concise stats with no additional load on a server by plugging into WordPress.com’s stat system. WP Super Cache is a very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files. Poll Daddy polls create and manage the polls from within WordPress.

Intense Debate Comments enhances and encourages conversation on a blog by building the reader community, increasing comments, and boosting page views. Wickett Twitter Widget displays tweets from a Twitter account in the sidebar of a blog.

Get Recent Comments displays the most recent comments or track backs with your own formatting in the sidebar. The weaknesses are that WordPress usually requires you to have hardware/server and it is a little more technical to use, and is not built for organizations.

Key word-focused blogs compound at a much higher rate than individual blogs.  However, if you do not post frequently and systematically, your blog may end up nowhere. Blogs are meant to be written frequently with relevant content that is key word focused. If you are doing something unique in marketing, write about it online! Use the Internet for traditional and media marketing and incorporate social media to grow your business!

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts

DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

Put YOUR Brand to Work for YOU in LinkedIn with a Company Page.

 Monday, November 21, 2011

LinkedIn recently announced their update to Company Pages that now helps companies and small businesses become more engaged on the network.  Having a Company page is a company’s profile of record on LinkedIn and is a powerful tool to speak to millions of professionals through word-of-mouth recommendations with trusted testimonials. It is very similar to a LinkedIn Profile for a company.

If you’re already a LinkedIn Member, Company pages are a new great way to research companies you are interested in, follow what they have to say through their updates and shared information, and see what kind of people work there.  You can even review products and services you use on a Company Page.

Company Pages present a great opportunity to reveal the human side of your company by allowing others to peek at the individuals behind your brand and highlight how members use your products or services. A Company Page offers tools to bring your brand to life and truly engage your audience.

Until now, company pages existed in isolation.  Businesses are now able to update their individual company page to enable followers to receive updates and insights about company news, employee moves, job opportunities and much more.  This is a brand new opportunity to showcase your thought leadership and expand your business.

Want to post a company status update for your Company?  Any company page administrator can post a note in the status box on your company’s overview page.  Keep your followers thinking about your company by sharing updates, promotions, announcements, news articles or videos. Updates will appear on your followers’ home pages.  Followers can comment, like or share updates. This allows you to develop a unique conversation between your company and your followers. Best of all, these interactions can be seen by your followers’ networks exposing your company to a greater audience. You can also view the LinkedIn Metrics to see what followers found engaging to optimize the conversation.  Get your company conversation started today by setting up a company page on LinkedIn.

Brands can now have company pages, and users can 'follow' the company page for updates from those companies. The LinkedIn network has more of a business networking and career focus, and the way that users connect is much more formal.  Users in LinkedIn often have fewer, more intimate connections than they would on Facebook or Twitter. The content shared and discussions started to engage your audience are usually more industry and business-focused which makes LinkedIn a great source for B2B Marketing.

Want to find and follow your favorite Companies?  You can locate and find interesting companies in one of two ways:

  • From any Member’s LinkedIn Profile.
    You can click through to company pages from any LinkedIn Member’s profile. Just mouse-over any company on a LinkedIn profile page and on the resulting popup, click through to a company page or click the “Follow Company” link.  If a smaller company has not claimed their company page, you may not find them.

  • From the LinkedIn Header.
    One of the easiest ways to find a Company Page’s homepage is in the LinkedIn navigation bar at the top of any page. You can also search by using the search box in the box in the navigation bar for any company.

  • From the Company Page.
    If you’ve found a company page of interest that you like by searching for a specific company name or keyword, just click “Follow Company” to stay updated on that company.

Having the ability to follow companies helps you track developments at companies of interest to you, including job opportunities or other business developments.

Now that you know how to set up a Company Page and Search and Follow Other Company Pages, listed below are Tips to Engage your Audience Listeners.

Five tips to “turbo-charge” your LinkedIn company status updates:

1. Say “Hello” to Start a Relationship.

Introduce yourself first by describing who you are, why you and your business are here and don’t start off with the sales pitch. Truly engage your audience. Get to know your audience. For example, an IT services firm should tailor its messages differently to their tech-savvy followers than an audience of  marketing executives.

Remember - your followers are already interested in hearing what you have to say so be brief, authentic, honest and relevant.

3. Think Quality - Not Quantity.

Offer insightful news, tips and other relevant information about your industry or business. Engage your followers with what you have to say and build relationships. Don’t just blast yoru readers with sales pitches or promotional messages.

Develop friends first! If you build your LinkedIn Company Page based on relevant content, the business results will follow. A humorous, effective status update can go viral and expose you to a wider audience as your followers “like,” share, or comment on company-driven content with their own professional network of followers.

A great example is Dell’s update about rival HP that created lots of buzz recently.

2. Mix Up Your Content with Varying Your Status Updates.

Company Status Updates are posts made by a company to share anything from company news about product releases to promotions to relevant industry tips and articles. Company posts are visible on the company’s Overview tab by any LinkedIn member. Anyone who follows a company will see the posts directly on their homepage. All LinkedIn members are able to view posts, click on embedded links or view videos and are also able to comment, like, or share a post.

In one post, consider highlighting a new product release, share an article link to press coverage or industry news and in another post, highlight a new product release or a list of hot topics or hot jobs. Photos are great! Try posting a YouTube video, opinion pole or even an infographic - even better.

Here are some great examples of spicing up your content and engaging you readers:

The Harvard Business School Executive Education that posts video Q&As with faculty, online newsletters, podcasts, and other multimedia content to engage with users.

Intuit posts a weekly news video broadcast to keep their followers informed:

4. Participate in Conversations. 

Ask for feedback from your followers and find out what they want from your company. Start by asking questions and then watch how your followers respond and interact with other readers who are commenting.

Answer their questions timely and highlight insightful comments and show your followers that you’re actually listening to what they are saying.

5. Analyze Your Engagement Often.

How do you know if you’re doing well? Utilize the Free Analytics Tool in  LinkedIn and check the stats that appear on your posts within 24 hours after your status update goes live. This will allow you to see what types of information and links create the most comments, likes, and clicks. Use this data to understand who your followers are, refine your strategy and optimize the conversation.

Use your time wisely and effectively in your social media marketing efforts. Remember: just because a social network is "popular," doesn't make it necessarily right for your business or industry. Use analytics as your guideline for what steps to take next. Monitor the traffic and leads you're generating from your online presence on each individual social media site. Is the return on investment (ROI) significant enough based on the amount of time and effort you're spending there? Is one social networking site performing better for you than another? These are all important questions to adjust your strategy accordingly so you can focus more of your time on the social networks that work for you and your business, and less of your time on those that don't.

About DJ Heckes, Author of Full BRAIN Marketing and Owner of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts

DJ Heckes is CEO of EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts and Full BRAIN Marketing .  She focuses on educating and training companies to significantly improve their Small Business Marketing strategies.  DJ Heckes also presents customized training programs for Business Marketing, Social Media, Leadership and Trade Show Marketing. Learn more at www.EXHIB-IT.com  and www.fullBRAINMarketing.com.  Be sure to follow us!

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
EXHIB-IT! Tradeshow Marketing Experts
Full BRAIN Marketing

Some New Things in Social Media You Will Want to Know!

 Monday, August 15, 2011

What’s new with Twitter Enhancements this past week? Twitter rolled out a new interface to access your accounts on twitter.com.  The prior tag @Mention is replaced with two new tabs.

  1. @Username
  2. @Activity

Similar to the Google+, these new tabs show you “new” people who have followed you along with “new activity” of people within your network. Here is an example of a strong twitter user with the new tabs along the top of the illustration. As you can see below, the new @Username tab shows which of your tweets are favorites, plus the latest retweets (from your tweets), tweets directed to you along with new followers.  The new Activity tab highlights the latest favorites, retweets and follows from the people you follow on Twitter.

Twitter now makes it easy to share your pictures. You can now upload images up to 3MB directly from your twitter account. Twitter scales the image to size for you to fit into the display pane on right side of your twitter.com timeline.  You can go to the Twitter Help Center and read about uploading and sharing images on Twitter.com. It is as simple as clicking inside the tweet box on your homepage or in the New Tweet Button. You will see two small icons in the lower left corner – one is for adding your location (a compass) and the other is for uploading an image (a camera).  After you click “add Image,” you will click on the camera icon to upload the image and you will browse to find the image and upload. Once you added the image, you will see the character count on then left of the Tweet button update. Add the text inside the box and hit the Tweet button. Once you are done, click on the Tweet to view the image in the display pane.  In some browsers, you may see the name of the file instead of the thumbnail. See examples below.

Twitter will reveal the official name of the Twitter Bird who is called “Larry.” You can see below a tweet revealing his name. With the Twitter bird making appearances pretty much everywhere, it was about time to give him a name.

Twitgram delivers messages to anyone on twitter and all you need is their @twitter_names.  This tool lets you write as much as you would like with no character limits! This allows you to send a tweet to any of your followers letting them know how to retrieve a message.  You can change this to anything you want, but leave the @twitter_name and [URL] which will be filled in automatically, so the tweet is delivered promptly to the persons you want.

Have you heard of the “Who Retweeted Me” tool?  This new tool that is supplied by HubSpot enables you to analyze your website and gives you some interesting stats including your 20 most influential tweeters with a link to thank them with a tweet.

Improve your LinkedIn Profile today. Your LinkedIn Profile is your online professional identity. This helps you not only connect with others but also helps you become found for career opportunities. When you edit your profile on LinkedIn, you will see an “Improve Your Profile” button with tips on how to get better visibility on LinkedIn.  See example below showing the new tab on and how to update your own LinkedIn Profile.  The Improve Your Profile Tool analyzes your profile and offers you personalized profile recommendations to help you improve your own profile. Clock on the Improve your Profile Button and Edit your Profile page.

LinkedIn also included a handy checklist guide that is displayed on the right side of the tool that highlights your recommended steps.  In the left column, they guide you through the steps with simple questions.

This new tool is constantly being updated and is customized for every member within LinkedIn. Be sure to check out your own profile and make some quick improvements today.

Have you ever heard of Klout? Well, there are 5 more networks added.  You can now connect Blogger, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram and Last.fm to your Klout account to help keep track of your social influence. With these additions, Klout now tracks 10 social media network sites. On August 10th, Klout took a big step forward for measuring influence wherever it happens. Klout goes beyond a status update for measuring influence.  Check out their site and start using it today.

DJ Heckes, CEO & Author
Full BRAIN Marketing
Full BRAIN Marketing

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