Three social ways to market your business

I must confess that I was a little on the slow side when it came to using social media as a way of marketing businesses online but with the recent news that Facebook is overtaking Google in terms of popularity, no business can ignore this way of marketing now.

With this in mind I have picked out the 3 essential social media tools.

1. FACEBOOK

Love it or hate it, FB is here to stay, for now anyway. Personally I am pleased that there is serious competition to Google now and while you might not think of FB as a search engine, increasingly people will use the search functionality within to find stuff their interested in (e.g. your business or website link?).

I think it is vital to have a Facebook page for your business and to be clever with it. Once you have 25 fans you can choose your own facebook URL. So instead of having ‘Mike’s Guitars’ you could use ‘London Guitar Shop’ which could help more people find your page.

Ensure you have an enabled wall on your business page and think of it as an opportunity to provide some sort of utility to your visitors, whether it be information or entertainment. Use it to publicise news or events relevant to your business.

Make sure you keep your wall lively so people keep coming back (and help spread your word for you).

FB really is the new word of mouth too and if you have a localised business then it can be a really powerful way of getting your message out locally and even help you expand beyond.

2. YOUTUBE

I have mentioned video quite a bit and the importance of youtube for marketing your business.  Youtube is fast becoming only second to Google in terms of search engines.

People spend hours on youtube casually surfing around for stuff and doing searches so why not tap into this and get your business / website under their noses?

For instance, if you ran a blog about recipes / cooking etc then why not make a short video presentation to accompany one of your ideas? By having a youtube account that is linked to your business you could then reply to other peoples’ videos with useful comments that could prompt people to check your offerings out.

Also consider that you could use Youtube for more than marketing and advertising. You could perhaps make a video presentation that covers a FAQ page you have that can act as a walk through guide.

For instance, as a musician, you could provide some basic information about the equipment, or even how to tune your instrument in 3 easy steps etc.

3. TWITTER

Is Twitter a fad or here to last? Well the jury is out on this but everyone seems to be tweeting so it makes sense to jump on the bandwagon.

Most people consider Twitter as a broadcast medium but it’s real usefulness can come when you engage in conversations with others, rather than just using it as a soapbox.

Also, don’t just start tweeting assuming that everyone is going to listen you. It’s important that you spend some time just listening and observing the behavior of those that you want to engage with.

There are lots more tools out there of course but these three are the key ones to focus on for now. Ignore them at your peril people!

Some really useful tips I learned from Affiliate4U conference

Last Wednesday I trundled up to London at some ungodly hour (to avoid excessive commuter fares) on the train to the ExCel centre for the annual London A4Uexpo which is essentially a gathering of internet nerds people like me. I missed out on the full event deciding only to go for the day pass which I have to say was pretty worth while!

The talks were really good actually and I did pick up quite a bit of useful information, which I am happy to pass on here and now to you, for free!

The main theme of the talks I attended seem to be video and the upcoming trend of universal search results. Universal search results are essentially a Google results page that is littered with more than just web page links, including news results, image results and more importantly video results.

Are you aware of the 2nd busiest search engine on the web? Well apparently it is Google, well Youtube actually, so Google is number one and two!

So here are a couple of really useful tips that I gained from the day and will be implementing.

THINK UNIVERSAL!

As I mentioned above universal search results are here to stay and there has never been an easier time to get on the first page of results by using other channels. For instance optimise those images, make videos that are relevant to your niche and attempt to get into Google News (yes it can be done!)

VIDEO

This is the future people! Get videoing! Create that Youtube channel and upload those videos. A useful tip is to reply to other existing videos (popular ones) with your own video. Youtube video descriptions can take up to 5000 characters! Just think how many juicy keywords you can get in there.

One good example is a website about hotels. How cool to actually video the hotel, rooms and facilities and then to provide your site visitor with more of an experience than simply putting up a few links and photos? You get a much better feel for somewhere through video.

So here are three things that you should be looking at doing now..

1. Get your website in order

First of all, get your SEO in order, make sure you optimise your website and keep universal search in mind: optimise your images, get into Google News, make sure you are listed in Google Places and make sure you have video sitemaps in your website.

2. Combine offline and online

Make sure that if you do offline marketing to follow that up online.

3. Use all the channels such as video, facebook, twitter etc

Combine the different channels, both online and offline. Connect with your potential clients on Social Media (Twitter, Facebook or what ever social media your potential visitors are using. Make YouTube videos, post them and optimize them. Also start using others for your optimization efforts.

I hope that you find something useful in there. It was well worth the long day in the end.

Ways to take things to the next level

It has been a while since I have written anything on the blog but I have been busy getting things sorted out here in sunny Auckland. Looking for somewhere to live and something to drive is a full time occupation.

So I have often banged on about taking things to a new level. It is easier said than done to raise your game especially if you have been lacking in motivation!

So after two years of growth I am finally getting someone on board to work with me full time for a month initially. A friend of mine in Auckland has been stuck in an employment rut and I am helping her out which I am sure will help me out as well.

I have used freelancers in the past to help on certain requirements but I have never had someone working with me side by side.

I am hoping that this temporary partnership will…

– Motivate me more to continue working and innovating
– Add lots of new content to existing websites (she is a good writer)
– A fresh pair of eyes and feedback for what I have done up to now
– Help kick start some new projects that have been on the back burner for a while
– New ideas for web projects through market research

So I am finally re-investing some of the money I have made and I am confident of an excellent return on this outlay.

It will be nice to work with another person for a while and I am hoping this could be the start of establishing a more serious web business.

My only regret is that I did not do this before now!

Social networking sites for website promotion

One way to promote your website is via social networking sites such as http://www.facebook.com&quot and the like.

I am wondering how many other people use social networking as a website promotion tool and whether they have had any measurable success?

Some commentators are suggesting that social networking is not all its cracked up to be. One important issue is whether exposing your own personal data is a good thing and how easy it would be for fraudsters to steal your identity?

Another point from a website promotion point of view is the quality of traffic from these sites. Your average MySpace user is probably 16-22 years old, great if you have a website targeting this demographic but not so if your site requires a more mature audience.

Even advertisers have suggested that they prefer targeted niche groups to advertise to rather than the masses on social network sites.

I don’t know about anyone else but I am starting to find social networking a bit tedious and I would not be too bothered if it just went away.

Long live Web 1.0!