Monthly Archives: November 2013

Image

Is Social Media Really Right for Businesses? You Bet It Is

Social media, begun for young adults to communicate with each other, has since been embraced in a big way by businesses – both large and small.

Each day, Daum Weigle maintains Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts, as well as blog sites, for our clients. As we keep on top of trends, the statistics clearly show that social media has become a vital tool in the business marketing toolbox.

Here’s a small sampling of those statistics in the form of an infographic.

– JDTwitter: @Jdaum

Slide1

 

We need to talk . . . on Twitter

whitewhale

We need to talk . . . That phrase is so often the prelude to breaking up, losing a job or some other dire life-altering event.  But not this time. In this instance I’m talking about Twitter and the fact that too many brands don’t get everything they can out of it because they simply don’t use it right. They use Twitter like an electronic billboard putting up tweet after tweet about their new products, sales meetings, personnel changes or maybe once in a while a job opening.  I hope you see the pattern here. It’s all about them.  They talk at the Twitterversus, not with it.  It’s like going to a party talking about your job, your family, your hobbies, etc., then saying goodbye to everyone and walking out the door. No matter how fascinating you are that’s going to turn people off and certainly not get you a return invite.  In Twitterdom that translates into getting ignored and losing followers – the death knell for any marketing/communication effort.

Social media is meant to be a conversation. You can post stuff about your company on the website and it can sit there for everyone to read, but you go to social media when you want people to share, comment and interact.  Talking with, not at, your social community is what makes it social and there is a lot of value in having a real conversation. 

  • It shows that you care about having an open dialogue – something customers highly value in vendors.
  • It gives you information about what is important to your customers, vendors and partner organizations.
  • You get feedback and questions from your customers, which is always helpful, but too often hard to come by.
  • You learn new things.  Twitter can be a valuable resource for information and news about what is going on in your industry and with your customers.

So, how do you start talking on Twitter – I mean really talking? Here are a few suggestions on ways to begin the conversation. 

It’s not all about you – Talk about more than just your company.  Look for interesting articles or news about your industry.  If, for example, you’re selling security cameras, look for news articles and blogs that support the use of your product.  It might be a survey from a research firm reporting about the booming camera market or an article talking about a situation where security cameras helped stop a potentially dangerous or criminal incident. It shows your product in a favorable light and it does it without chest pounding.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a place on Twitter for self-promoting tweets, but not all the time. In fact, the majority of your tweets should not be commercial. The soft sale is very effective and works well on social media.

Retweet, favorite and mention – Start interacting on Twitter by retweeting other accounts.  If you see an interesting tweet that would be relevant to your Twitter followers, by all means retweet it.  Your followers will appreciate the additional information and the fact that you are savvy enough to keep informed about your industry.  At the same time, the account you are retweeting will appreciate the shout out and will be more likely to retweet you in the future.  Also your retweet will show up in that account’s feed, so more people will see your post and you just might gain some followers.  The same goes for making a tweet a favorite and for mentioning accounts in your posts.  The more you start talking to people on Twitter the more attention you’ll get, which, after all, is the point.

Hashtags – Use hashtags, but use them sparingly and wisely.  Hashtags are a way of making your tweets stand out for people on Twitter who are interested in following specific topics and key words.  Do a little research.  Find out which hashtags are going to work best at reaching your target audience.  Again, if you are selling security cameras then putting a hastag in front of #security and #camera may work best for you.  But check it out first, you may find that many people are tracking security cameras by making the hashtag into a smash word and following #securitycamera.  It’s just a matter of working with Twitter to see how people in your industry are using hashtags.

Reply & DM – Reply to tweets, ask questions and thank people.  If you see an interesting tweet and you not sure about the source reply or send a direct message asking a question.  Thank people for following and retweeting. And definitely answer any questions sent your way.  Even if you don’t know the answer you should acknowledge the question.

Starting with these basics will get your Twitter conversation going.  It should get you noticed, attract followers and add real value to your social marketing efforts.  Obviously, the most difficult part of this equation is the time it takes to follow Twitter and get this dialogue in gear.  But once you have developed your strategy and you know the direction you want to take Twitter can be managed by the marketing communications team or even outsourced to an agency.  Making it someone’s job to talk on Twitter is probably one of the quickest ways to get the conversation underway and get everything out of each 140-character message that you can. 

Cindy Weigle
Follow me on Twitter
Connect with me on LinkedIn

 

 

Google and SEO, What You Need to Know Part II

 

SEO-Writing-for-Press-Release

In my last blog I talked about new updates that were made to Google affecting a website’s SEO results. There are similar things happening with press releases. Starting this year Google’s update, Hummingbird, again changes the SEO algorithm. What does that mean for your company?

Hummingbird also targets press releases. Traditionally companies have spent hundreds to thousands of dollars issuing a press release on one of the news wires or other media distribution sites. Most of these releases are then picked up by media sources that simply post them without any editing. If that’s the case, Google now ignores your release and it will not be ranked in a Google search. Google will rank original, or at least edited content. This means that establishing and maintaining good relationships with journalists is the key to having content at the top of a Google search.

This doesn’t mean that you should abandon the news wires. But for the best results in Google searches your content needs to be original to each publication.

Of course, Google is not the final word in search engines. There are plenty other respected search engines with different algorithms. However, Google is the number one search engine used by 620 million people a day. There’s a reason why no one says “I’m going to Yahoo that.” Playing by Google’s rules is more important than ever.

Before you even send out your next press release, check out these tips:

Use Keywords

Think of a list of keywords relevant to your industry and your press release. Then be sure to use the words as you are writing. Avoid keyword stuffing and always make sure the keywords are relevant and add to the flow of your release.

Headlines- shorter ones are better.

Some release titles look more like a small paragraph than a headline. Keep your headline concise – 70 characters or less. Avoid using adjectives such as “industry leading” or “best in class.” These adjectives take up space and have very little impact. Above all, make sure your headline is clear. You want reporters and readers to know exactly what you are talking about once they read your headline.

Anchor Text

Highlight anchor text and keywords in your press release. Include “no follow” language on URL’s. Otherwise, Hummingbird will view this as advertising and it will negatively impact your SEO.

Press releases can help your SEO if the content is relevant and original to a media site. But if your news doesn’t apply to a wide audience, think about creating it as blog or other type of content. Save the press releases for your company’s most important news.

– NP