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Dying Online, Facebook and the Digital Afterlife

From time immemorial, countless people have looked at the stars and contemplated their existence and life’s greatest questions; What happens to us after we die? What will our legacy be? What will become of my Facebook account?

dying online

In an ever increasing digital world, this is a question that has been posed more than a few times between around the water cooler here at Beanstalk. With an ever increasing amount of users employing cloud based digital assets, and engaging in social media, many people are concerned not only for the protection of these valuable assets and intellectual property, but in preserving memories for friends and family for posterity.

A paper published law professor Jason Mazzone from the University of Illinois calls for federal government to interevene and to regulate what happens to digital accounts after an account holder’s demise.

Along with an ever increasing amount of people, Mazzone argues that social platforms and other online services have policies that do not adequately protect an individual’s intellectual property or privacy after their death.

"Virtually no law regulates what happens to a person’s online existence after his or her death," he said. "This is true even though individuals have privacy and copyright interests in materials they post to social networking sites."

In an absence of any legal regulations, social sites are unlikely to adopt any policies of their own accord that will do little to protect a users account or intellectual property. Presently there are very few regulations in place, and most sites are left developing policies on-the-fl, with little regard for the user’s data.

"It’s becoming increasingly common for people to have digital assets, and some of them do actually have value," he said. "Not only are such sites repositories of intellectual property, they also are important to family members and friends. Historians of the future will likely depend upon digital archives to reconstruct the past, which creates a real problem, particularly in an age when we don’t leave diaries, and, increasingly, people don’t write books."

Facebook’s policy is to "memorialize" the deceased’s account. All content that has been uploaded (status updates, photos & videos) are removed. The user’s wall remains intact so that individuals can express their condolences to the departed. However, the user data is not deleted by Facebook. Currently, the data is archived with the speculation that it will be held for posterity by Facebook until a such time where it can be re-purposed for historical records.

There is no system in place to state your wishes for your account after your demise (similar to a living will) and no regulations in place to appoint an executor of your estate. As the population of Facebook users begin to age, Mazzone is at the forefront of a growing movement to instill federally mandated regulations to protect the billions of Facebook and social networking users worldwide.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:43 pm on October 1, 2012


 

Gearing Up for Social Media Marketing

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

Different demographics are using different social media channels. Reaching the right audience with social media is about using the right channels and voice to connect with and engage your followers. Different sites as well as online marketing and analysis techniques can help you connect with the audience you’ve been trying to reach. Below is information about common social media networks and their audiences so you can gear each channel towards the demographic and sectors of your potential audience that uses it most.

Facebook

There are a number of infographics and articles online with information about who is using Facebook. Knowing that the average person visits the site 40 times per month may not be the information. Here is breakdown of who is using Facebook and how to connect with them:

  • People from the ages of 18-44 are using Facebook the most. This means you’re information needs to be broad enough to reach and connect with most of your audience, but not so broad that no one takes interest. Posting information about news topics related to your field and asking open-ended questions are two of the best ways to do this.
  • Though the 20- and 30-somethings are some of the most active on Facebook, people over the age of 45 are becoming more frequent users. If your products relate to the older demographic, share information they can relate to. If your services are for those in their early 20’s, share that.
  • Because the Facebook audience is so broad, use Facebook Insights to see who is on your page and talking about your company. Gaining knowledge of your key demographics can help you provide content that will encourage more interaction and engagement.

Twitter

Like Facebook, Twitter had a wide range of users. Men and women use the site pretty equally, though a large majority of Twitter users include African Americans and Hispanics. People are more likely to buy from a company the follow on Twitter than from one they don’t so reaching your audience on Twitter is an important factor for both online engagement and overall sales.

  • Most Twitter users live in urban areas. If your business is based in a well-populated city, turn your Tweets to reaching those in the same city and other urban areas.
  • Because Twitter now has targeted promoted tweets, you can reach a specific audience. You aren’t tweeting to all your followers, unless you choose to do so. You are instead, placing the tweet in front of the audience you want to reach.
  • Programs like SocialBro provide insight into who your audience is and when they are online. Knowing the material that will relate most to your audience as well as the right times will help you refine your Twitter strategies to reach new people.
  • Many tweets are now coming from smartphones and 1 in 5 smartphone owners use Twitter on their phones. Sharing and tweeting comments that can be viewed quickly via a smartphone could increase your Twitter traction.

Pinterest

Pinterest, at the moment, has a more focused audience. Composed mostly of women, top interests of this image-driven site include crafts, gifts, hobbies, interior design and fashion. Brands based in these areas should be devoting a decent amount of time to their Pinterest efforts. Even if your business doesn’t seem to be a fit, your company’s Pinterest can succeed.

  • A top geographical location of Pinterest users is the East South Central United States, which includes Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee. Posting images that people of this region can relate to and take interest can lead to more engagement on your Pinterest boards.
  • Women compose nearly 80% of Pinterest account holders. Regardless of your brand, gearing images toward women is a great tactic.
  • See what’s trending and consider how your business can relate. Because Pinterest is open to a wide variety of images and information, focusing on what the users are pinning at the moment can gear your boards and pins in the right direction.

Tumblr

Tumblr combines blogging and image-sharing to create a unique site that’s perfect for social bloggers. Men and women use the site pretty equally. One of the most surprising demographics is the age. According to an infographic from Mashable, over half the site’s users are under the age of 34, with 18% of the total users being under the age of 18. Fitting your company into Tumblr means targeting content to a younger audience.

  • Because the age group is so young, gearing content to trending topics and information a person around the age of 20 can relate to is a great way to gain a following. Use common tags and popular images to increase traffic.
  • Some of the most tagged terms on Tumblr include gif, “LOL” and fashion, though art and vintage are other common tags. Use these as they relate to your business and content to gain new followers.
  • See which of your posts, reblogs and other content receive the most traction. What tags lead to followers? What content generates the most buzz? Measure your progress so you can easily make adjustments.

All social media sites are about connecting. On Facebook, you can connect with people of all ages and from all backgrounds. Twitter is used by people in urban areas who want a quick and constant stream of information. Pinterest appeals to women and Tumblr to a younger demographic. With each social media site, research who likes and follows your company to see which audience is the most engaged with your company on that channel. As you figure out what your audience is on each channel, you can gear the content towards them for more successful social media campaigns.

Author:
Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as telemarketing and social media trends. She is a web content writer for Business.com.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:08 am on July 20, 2012


 

Which Social Site Do I Use? Part 4: Social Media Terminology

the thinkerThis is the last in our series of "Which Social Sites Do I Use?" In Part 3, we discussed how to link your social sites together to maximize their effectiveness. In this last installment we will cover some commonly used terminology to help get started in the world of social media.

Twitter Tweets/RT & Mentions:

  • A tweet is simply a message posted on Twitter. While all agree on usage of tweet as a noun, people disagree on whether you "tweet" or "twitter" as a verb.
  • RT stands for retweet: Users add RT in a tweet if they are reposting something from another person’s tweet.
  • A mention is any Twitter update that contains @username anywhere in the body of the Tweet; this means that replies are also considered mentions.

Google +1 Button, Circles & Sparks:

  • The +1 Button: Each time you click +1, you’re adding to the batch of sites that you are attaching to your online profile. You’ll find your full list of +1′s in a special tab on your public Google profile. You can show your +1′s tab to the world or choose to hide it.
  • Circles: You share different things with different people. But sharing the right stuff with the right people shouldn’t be a hassle. Circles make it easy to put your friends from Saturday night in one circle, your parents in another, and your boss in a circle by himself, just like real life.
  • Hangouts: Bumping into friends while you’re out is one of the best parts of going out and about. With Hangouts, spontaneity hits the web. Whether you’re home in your pajamas or hitting the streets with your mobile phone, video hangouts let you bring up to 9 people into your world. It’s the next best thing to everyone being there.
  • Sparks: Google Spark would start on a single idea. Then, this idea would grow from collaborators’ comments, likes, and other ideas branching from this "spark". There would be connections, more connections and collaborating, and soon, a whole tree of ideas and support. A web of ideas revolving around a single motion, a single vision, linked by tags, keywords, and web links.

Facebook Likes & Recommends:

  • The Like Button lets a user share your content with friends on Facebook. When the user clicks the Like button on your site, a story appears in the user’s friends’ News Feed with a link back to your website. People are more accustomed and more familiar with this term. It is considered a more subtle action, and some people might feel less hesitant about liking something (rather than recommending it).
  • Recommend Button is a considered a stronger action than a "Like" and usually works well for negative (but interesting) content such as news stories. Followers may be more compelled to click a recommended link in their feed though some people may feel less compelled to make such strong action as a "recommendation" There is a perception that you would only recommend something that you firmly agree with or feel confident about recommending. Recommend also places a larger snippet in the Facebook news feed.

Take-Aways:

  • Don’t rely only on Social Networking. Use it in conjunction with a well developed, multi-tiered approach with might include traditional advertising.
  • Be willing to commit a significant amount of time, stay engaged and offer quality content.
  • Social media is about building up relationships online and instilling trust in your brand.
  • Engage with a deep understanding of your long-term business goals and mission statement and integrate them as part of an overall marketing strategy.
  • Put Social Buttons only to the most important networks on your site. Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too many.

Social media and networking is responsible for the biggest revolution in marketing and is undoubtedly responsible for the changing face of modern business networking. Staying engaged with your followers through social media allows businesses to stay closely connected with contacts, followers and customers in ways that traditional advertising and marketing could not.

Any business that is not fully engaged in social media is missing out on a increased customer base, increased sales and the potential for unparalleled growth.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:26 am on February 1, 2012


 

Stacking up Google optimization efforts

We keep optimizing our meta tags, keywords, link structure, content densities, markup, etc.. etc.. But how does Google optimize itself for us? If this is any sort of ‘relationship’ what’s Google been doing for us lately?

Comparing work done

Anti-Spam DMARC Efforts

One of the big problems with promoting on-line is the folks who don’t care about courtesy or the rules and they just spam everyone/anyone. The best way to cope with this is to never buy products we have seen ‘spammed’; Yet this has been a nerd mantra for so long, and clearly the consumers never got the message because spammers still get paid.

Because of all the abuse, legit advertisers have a bad reputation even before they get started. This is why we have captchas, whitelists, RBLs, and many many other annoying services that some people actually pay to use.

This is why we can't have nice things

Major email providers like Google and Microsoft (including Yahoo!/Hotmail), are working to ally with major online sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, and more to work on the DMARC system to cope with not only spam, but phishing, fraud, password scams, ID theft, etc..

In a nutshell DMARC is:

..a technical specification created by a group of organizations that want to help reduce the potential for email-based abuse by solving a couple of long-standing operational, deployment, and reporting issues related to email authentication protocols.

Essentially it’s going to make ‘authenticated’ mail much more commonplace in hopes of raising the global bar on email authentication to help eliminate the spam problem. Still too long winded with the explanation?
Here’s an illustration of DMARC:

This is why we can't have nice things

New Privacy Policy

I’ve witnessed a lot of complaining about this move, and yet I haven’t seen one logical complaint I could ally myself with. Personally, I’m a GMail user who has already invested the deepest amount of privacy I can into Google just by using GMail. Each time Google releases a new product, if I use the same Google account as I do with other Google services, I ‘expect‘ it to be smart and use what Google knows about me to the fullest.

If I wanted a privacy division between Google Maps and GMail, I’d make a separate account and use multiple logins so that if I am hunting for the closest guitar shop I won’t have to deal with Guitar adverts getting special preference when I am logged into GMail. In fact, if I was looking for a gift for someone and I really loved the focus Google has on ‘me’, I might just use a fresh browser instance to keep Google from getting confused.

Fresh browser instance?! I know, that’s jargon and we promised to explain ourselves, so a quick demo of this is to load Chrome (sorry Moz lovers) and then right click on a normal link. In the right click menu you should see this:Chrome Incognito Option

This will open a Chrome Incognito window :
Sites in this tab will not see browser history!
Try visiting your popular sites to test!

If all goes well, as long as you use the incognito window, you will be able to use Google services, and others, without them easily tying the info to a particular account.

Keep in mind that the alternative to a unified privacy policy is a system where the users have to read each privacy policy for every Google service to make sure they understand each service. Then, if you wanted your data to be shared between services you’d have to not only go and manually ‘share’ the information, but you’d also better be praying or something to find a way to motivate Google spend the time to enable the link between services because as we know already, Google doesn’t waste much resources on things that aren’t going to be popular. When you make something like this automatic it changes the entire functionality of that idea and what would otherwise be a ‘wasted effort’ suddenly becomes a ‘big win’.

Kicking Keister in Kenya


If you haven’t read about the Mocality debacle (link removed ), you really aren’t missing that much, it’s more of a ‘How the heck?’ than anything.

In a nutshell:

There was a Google contractor in Kenya using Google IPs and identifying themselves as a Google entity that had been ‘scraping’ the sign ups from Mocality and stealing them away with lies.

When Google first heard of the situation there was a “No freaking way, let us investigate and get back to you.” response from the powers within Google looking into the issue. As things unfolded it became clear that Mocality was indeed providing honest information and that something very bad was happening over in Kenya under Google’s name. Google’s own team leads were ‘mortified’ over the details of how the situation unfolded.

At this point the head of the Kenyan offices for Google, Ms. Olga Arara-Kimani, has resigned stating she felt personally that ‘the buck‘ stopped with her and she wanted to take full responsibility.

While no official statement has come from Google there are signs that the investigation is over and that Google is already implementing measures to prevent something like this from happening again. I expect we’ll hear a few more details as things unfold.

How’s Chia Bart? Well he’s in limbo, and I haven’t started the re-plant. Time for a vacation I think? :)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:23 pm on January 31, 2012


 

Which Social Sites Should I Use? Part 3: Linking Social Accounts

This is the third installment of my blog series on using social media to promote your brand or business. The first two parts are here:

Now that you know how to setup your social accounts and who the main social players are, it is time to tie all of your accounts together.

TwitterFeed

TwitterFeed is a program that allows you to syndicate several RSS or Atom feeds and sends them directly to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook (and a few others) This allows you to produce a steady stream of content to your social sites that will help to increase your level of activity. You will also want to check each social platform you use to see if you can like other social sites you are using.

the thinker

  • Use only high PageRank news feeds from reputable sites. Ensure that the feeds are not coming from your competition as they will invariably contain promotions which may lure your readers away. Stay focused on relevant news topics to keep your readers engaged.
  • Include your company’s blog feed into TwitterFeed. This is the best way to not only keep your followers tuned in to current news about your industry, but enables you to send out specific, content designed to convert your followers into customers.

Most social platforms allow you to spread your updates across other networks which can lead to syndication loops. An example would be syndicate your TwitterFeeds to Facebook and Twitter and then inadvertently telling Facebook (or LinkedIn, etc.) to send status updates into Twitter.

Because the RSS feed comes into Facebook as a status update, you get the same RSS going to back to Twitter. This can have the unwanted effect of you being penalized for distributing duplicate content which can severally affect your site’s search engine rankings.

The real secret to success with social media is to stay actively engaged with your audience on a consistent basis. The more you participate, the greater the reward will be. You should consider spending at least a few days per week engaging, responding and generally participating in all of the networks you are connected with. The real "trick" to social media is to be consistently involved with your community by sharing content, Tweeting (and retweeting), commenting on other posts and producing high quality, relevant content for your followers to share.

Klout.com

It is one thing to stay actively engaged across your social networks, but how do you measure success? Indicators for measuring your success may include the number of contacts and followers you have, the increase in conversions, or the number of likes or retweets your posts are getting.

If you are wondering about your progress once you step in to the social world, you can use a web utility like Klout.com to follow your progress. The Klout Score measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage you influence others. The Klout Score uses data from a variety of social networks in order to measure:

  • True Reach: How many people you influence.
  • Amplification: How much you influence them.
  • Network Impact: The influence of your network.

TIPS

  • It is important to keep your public and private networks separate and distinct. Do not use your personal Facebook page to promote your business. Create a separate, personal space where you can chat with grandma and put up those pictures from your "crazy weekend."
  • Choose a marketing representative or individual from your company that does not mind having a public profile linked to your business account and that you feel will portray your company in the best light.
  • Build up your marketing representative’s online persona by following only legitimate, valuable businesses and people. It is of vital importance to aim for quality or quantity.
  • Avoid promotional networks on Twitter such as #TeamFollowBack and similar groups that attempt to lure you in to following them in return for gaining followers from them. These may have a short time gain, but if you cannot vouch for the validity of each and every member of this network you may find yourself associated with those that do not share your ethics or personal values. It is also an attempt to game the system which will inevitably lead to several penalties.
  • Once you have a solid, well-developed persona, complete social profiles and have gained a some followers, you can create a business page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php ) and Google+ (http://www.google.com/+/business/ ) and consider getting involved in a few secondary social networks.
  • Ensure that your website keeps your viewers socially engaged with social media button that readily allow them to share, like and otherwise spread your content.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:19 am on January 23, 2012


 

SEO Effects of Social Search

Yesterday we covered the hot topic of Google’s social search from a very ‘news’ perspective. If you haven’t watched the tour video take a minute and hit play on the video below.

The truth is that Google is rolling this new search functionality piecemeal just in the same way as most of the recent features. So if I try to explore the option from my work account I get no offers and I’d have to cheat to go play with it right now.

However, on my personal account the option comes right up and my personal account has a smaller social circle than my work account so it seems to me that it’s just a work-in-progress at the moment.

A visit to the Google Inside Search site gives us a bit more confirmation:

If you aren’t seeing the features of Search plus Your World, don’t worry, we’re rolling them out over the next few days.

.. so if you’re not getting the option to try it out, it should come along soon!

Here’s a ‘hands on’ example of ‘Search plus Your World’ for a phrase I personally talk about a lot, ‘minecraft’:

Demonstration of Search plus Your World using the phrase 'minecraft'.

The first thing that occurs to me is that Danny talks about Minecraft WAY more than anyone else, but the second thing that gets my interest is that there’s nothing in the results that I wouldn’t have read or couldn’t get from poking my head into Google+.

Going back to that video from Google that we linked earlier, I have to admit this looks like a very over-hyped feature where 90% of the interesting parts of the video aren’t things we can do with the new search feature. This almost feels like a Microsoft product that was invented by marketers as something to market with zero user interest?

Well that’s my opinion dealt with, but what about SEO factors of this new feature?

A ton of questions come to mind that need to be answered, here’s a few :

  • Who stands to gain from these types of searches?
  • What sites will be negatively impacted?
  • What should websites be doing to take advantage of this new feature?

The first one’s easy, Google, and particularly, Google+ will gain the most from this new search behaviour. Google has always wanted you to find what you want within their domain/services, and limiting your search to a Google owned property, selling it as a great feature, works so well for Google’s overall goals. If you don’t believe that Google wants to keep you inside their services, as you use Google products challenge yourself to consider ‘What more could Google do to keep me inside their networks?’ and I think you’ll start seeing all the efforts they are making to give you what you want instantly vs. leaving Google to visit an external site.

Social media sites that were getting a lot of commercial traffic/advertising will be the hardest hit by this move. If a client came to me and said “We’re on all the big sites, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Squidoo, etc.. but we haven’t bothered with Google+.” I would be forced to assume they were Australian with such an opposite approach. The same thing would follow with campaign strategies where a company looking at time spent vs. returns would be silly to start a social media campaign anywhere but on Google+ first.

If you have a website that isn’t already following the guidelines for linking between Google+ and your site, you need to start there and then work on building up followers. Ideally you want people talking about your products/services more than your competition so I’d strongly urge someone within your company to engage in Google+ social media efforts on a weekly basis if not more. While it’s pointless to have infinite reach and zero relevance, you also want to be very ‘friendly’ doing whatever it takes to get people to take enough interest in your company pages to follow, +1, add to circles, etc..

In fact the last bit of advice will be a recurring theme for early 2012 where we will be looking at super organic ways to get your product/services out to relevant sections of the internet.

A good example would be a product that is easy to find on-line, but very technical/tricky to work with. Selling the product puts you in the same group as everyone else selling that product, but offering expertise on that product will raise your profile quickly while generating interest/informing potential clients. If you can get links from grateful recipients the effort will pay for itself, and the people you come in contact with are very likely to draw in more clients due to the way that social media is sharing business leads via friend connections.

Typical of Spring, the sooner you plant this ‘social seed’ the sooner it will grow into something that can support your on-line efforts.

Speaking of growing, Chia Bart is getting a little leafy already!

Chia Bart is sprouting nicely.Bart’s beans are sprouting!

SEO news blog post by @ 3:17 pm on January 11, 2012


 

Which Social Sites Should I Use? Part 2: Breakdown of the “Big 5″

Continued from Part 1 of “Which Social Sites Should I Use?“:

Once you have established a strong following across these main five sites, you can consider participating in a few niche social sites based upon your industry, services or geographical location. The social properties you employ define your overall social persona. Subsidiary aspects of social media can be realized in terms of company branding, building company legitimacy and trust, and online reputation management.

Breakdown of "The Big 5"

Facebook

the thinker

Traditionally, Facebook was typically best for personal relationships and getting reacquainted with friends and acquaintances. You can also use it for work colleagues with whom you have personal relationships.

With the advent of Facebook Pages, businesses can now separate their personal and business faces into different "pages" You can think of this as a Yellow Pages advert promoting your business. It gives your viewers a chance to see some of your products and get to know a little about your company and their online social presence.

You can build Groups and add Events to further engage your followers. The success of a Page is based upon the number of "Likes" from visitors it receives. It is important to have a strong and reputable personal profile that will be connected to the Business Page to act as an administrator.

Facebook is best for "private networks" but is useful to generate an online business presence

LinkedIn

This is the most popular site for maintaining your professional business networks. You can search and connect with former work colleagues, business partners and network with people that you may not know but may be in a related industry.

Different sections of the site allow for employee recruitment in order to facilitate the hiring of your next employee. This is a particularly great feature as people in your business network may be able to personally recommend an individual in your industry. You can list current promotions and have colleagues or clients recommend you which helps to build a more credible profile.

LinkedIn is your "professional network"

Twitter

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform as it only allows for posts (or tweets”) limited to 140 characters. Although Twitter is not a website in the sense that Facebook or LinkedIn is, it is starting to adopt similar functionality. Recent additions of pictures, follower suggestions and groups seem to indicate that Twitter may be moving toward more of a destination site, rather than only a platform.

Twitter allows you to connect with a much broader group of people. Because you can follow someone that does not necessarily follow you back, connections can be one-way or two-way and allow you to broadcast status updates, links, etc without needing to have an involved conversation. However, those businesses that do pro-actively engage their followers find that Twitter is an effective medium for connecting with a large number of people and organizations without the formality of a "friend request".

Twitter is for your "public network"

Google+

Google+ is considered the company’s fourth foray into social networking. The New York Times have declared it as Google’s biggest attempt to rival the social network of Facebook, which had over 800 million users in 2011.

Google+ integrates social platforms such as Google Profiles and Google Buzz and introduces new services called Circles, Hangouts and Sparks. Google+ is currently available as a web site and is reported to be available soon as a desktop application. It is already available as a mobile application.

Google+ is best for advertising your business, as well as for public and private interactions

YouTube

Created by three former members of PayPal and launched in 2005, YouTube offers a site for users to upload, view and share videos. Traditionally, YouTube did not seem to be advantageous to online business promotion and was considered a personal social site. Increasingly the video platform has become a standard medium for the promotion a business. By creating a YouTube account, users are able to create a public "channel" where owners can upload video files showcasing products and offer promotional information.

Remember that the larger your social network, the more time that will be involved to maintain it. Stick with the main 5 (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+) and choose only a few from the specialty niche oriented social groups. It is always best not to spread yourself too thin. It is better to have a closely formed network with a good number of quality followers than it is to have a larger network spread over many social sites that you are not engaged with.

You need to link accounts together to increase their effectiveness. Linking can become a bit complicated if you are dealing with many social sites. You may want to create a text document that shows where your feeds are being syndicated to (see example).

YouTube is akin to a "television audience"

In Part 3, we will discuss Linking Your Social Accounts

SEO news blog post by @ 10:56 am on January 9, 2012


 

Which Social Sites Should I Use? Part 1: An Introduction to Social Media

Initiates to the world of social media all inevitably ask the same question: “How do I know which social media sites to use?” Choosing the right set of social sites to promote your business can seem a daunting task if you are unfamiliar to social media. As ever-increasing numbers of social networks add themselves to the mix, it becomes increasingly overwhelming determining which sites to use and to know which will be best for promoting your company.

the thinker

There are very few businesses that would not benefit from an online social presence. Any business that is not actively engaged in the promotion of their business, products or services online today is truly missing out on opportunities for their company. Often the reluctance to embrace social media is from an emotional reaction based on an inadequate understanding of social media and what it can do to transform their business.

Social media can be thought of as an online equivalent to more traditional promotions and advertising. In the past, the most common mediums used to promote your business were magazine and newspaper advertisements, television commercials, radio adverts and billboards. To engage is specific niche markets you might have placed an ad in a technical journal directly related to your industry.
The modern equivalents of traditional marketing would be in the form of (but not limited to) tweets, articles, blog posts, press releases, viral marketing and video marketing.

In many ways social media has allowed marketers to streamline the advertising process. Niche social sites that are geared specifically towards your industry make it much easier to connect with others in a specific industry.

Although a plethora of social sites abound on the Internet, the main players in the social media world today are considered to be Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. These are currently the most widely used social sites today and should be considered a staple of any fledgling social marketing campaign.

In Part 2 of "Which Social Sites Should I Use?" we take a look at the top 5 players in the world of social media that you be should be paying attention to and using in 2012.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:54 am on January 4, 2012


 

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