Using Social Media as Internet Marketing

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Any serious Internet marketing strategy should include social media as critical to its success. While having a website is the bare minimum, it’s unlikely to get much traction without social media. Just like any other marketing technique, however, there are several choices of platforms and methodologies to consider.

First, you need to know who your audience is (or who your audiences are). Where do they prefer to hang out online? Each platform has a mixture of users, and your business may also have a mixture of audiences. But without this information, you may wind up focusing on the wrong platforms, missing out on others that would be better for your business.

Research whether or not your audience uses a platform to take action or just to find information. And decide if this aligns with your company’s goals. While many users may be on one platform, they may be just hanging out for entertainment purposes. You may have to spend more money to place ads or maintain a presence there than with another.

This article just touches on some of the major social media platforms for marketing, but it’s only a start. If your budget allows in-depth marketing trials and analyses, thoroughly investigate each one. If not, try a few that make the most sense. Just start somewhere.

Facebook

Facebook is a household name, and most major companies have a presence. Businesses can put up a simple page or launch full on campaigns. Surveys, polls, daily (or even hourly) postings, conversations with readers, and even Facebook apps are all examples of ways to enhance a Facebook presence. Even though there should be a link to your company’s website, some companies use Facebook as a makeshift website.

Twitter

Millions of readers use Twitter to find out about news as it happens. Having a Twitter account lets companies interact almost immediately with their customers and prospects. From writing witty content during major events to using hashtags for people to follow, Twitter is a major player in marketing businesses. Like Facebook, written content is the main way it connects with readers, though images and video are quickly gaining favor.

Instagram

Instagram’s platform uses primarily images/photos and videos to communicate messages to its users. This works really well with a company whose products are interesting, or those who have a message that is enhanced with the spoken word. It’s growing in popularity, and it is often shared to other platforms.

LinkedIn

What’s notable about LinkedIn is that many of its users don’t use Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn caters to businesses, so if your company is B2B, this is the platform for you. Like the others, it can be connected to other platforms, but don’t overlook its power as a marketing and networking tool. And LinkedIn is always testing new ways to build its brand and increase its value.

Blogs

The last platform we’ll cover here is blogs. Blogs are just websites that post new content on regular basis – sort of like an online newsletter or magazine. Businesses can teach readers about their field, give them tips, entertain them, or even converse with them in the comments section. Other bloggers share blog articles, search engines rank them just like any other website, and they are a great resource for keeping customers coming back for more. Regular websites tend to be more static and out-of-sight/mind.

Finally, though there are other platforms to consider, this is a good list to get started. As other social media platforms gain in popularity and influence, research their pros and cons. Give them a trial run when time and money permit. Most of all, good luck in the world of Internet marketing. It’s truly a web – easy to lose your way but not hard to find a connection.




Internet Marketing Tips for Online Businesses

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Internet marketing means telling the world you’re in business. It’s the equivalent of putting a huge sign on your brick and mortar store, placing ads in local newspapers, and activating rotating spotlights in the sky. Getting new customers is tough if they don’t even know your company exists.

The bare minimum of Internet marketing is having a web presence. Search engines list websites if the user types in just the right combination of terms. But your company’s site may nearly impossible to find otherwise.

If you want to increase your audience (which can translate into increased sales), you can use a variety of marketing techniques, but there’s so much you can do while still focusing on just the website.

Keep Your Website Relevant

When was the last time your online presence was updated? The content and the design should get tweaks from time to time. If it has flashy images or popups, make sure they’re comparable to other websites’ techniques. Change the copyright at the bottom to reflect the current year. Research your competition and keep up with the latest technology. The online world changes so quickly.

Mobile-ize

Websites users aren’t stuck at their desktops anymore. In fact, according to comScore, mobile has overtaken desktops in media and website use. Is your website optimized for mobile viewing? Do you know how it looks on a tablet or smartphone? Does your site load easily if the device isn’t connected to Wi-Fi? Are the icons easy for fingers to tap? Does it navigate intuitively? How does it look in different browsers and with different operating systems on mobile devices?

SEO Best Practices

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of making a website rank higher in search engines. When someone enters search terms into their favorite browser, the hope is that your site shows up on the first page. Sure, this can be a lofty goal when there are millions of websites out there, but that’s the whole point of SEO. Understand what your prospective customers are looking for, and hopefully your SEO expert can help your site rank higher for those terms. As with the rest of the Internet, SEO is constantly changing. Do your best to keep up.

Analyze Constantly

Do a baseline analysis of your company’s website using analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics). Then set some benchmarks and re-analyze the initial markers. Has website traffic changed? Are visitors coming back repeatedly? What pages are popular?

Analysis can also come in the form of surveys or other direct feedback methods. Numbers only tell so much of the story. Pay attention to reviews, ask your visitors what they think of your website, or even test things out using your employees as reviewers.

Improving your Internet marketing doesn’t have to be mind-boggling. While you can employ a variety of strategies, concentrating on your website alone is a sound way to make progress. Keep informed and keep up with the times.




Where to start with SEO

guy-on-pcIt’s no secret that marketing your business online is essential, so pretty much every company already has online real estate in place. But with the non-stop, seemingly overnight Internet changes, it’s no easy task deciding what strategies to implement – and when.

So where do you start? Should you research a dozen Internet marketing articles for the newest techniques? Look at what your competitors are doing? Stand frozen like a deer in headlights?

Before getting overwhelmed with the possibilities, the first step is to analyze what you’re already doing. If your company has a website and a blog in place, it’s time to stand back and take a super close look at how those things are working for you. Let’s cover a few of the most important data points to gather before you do anything drastic.

Is Anyone Visiting Your Site?

Using website analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Mint, and GoSquared), find out how many people are visiting your site. Daily and monthly visits are the most important to note. Internet marketing goals usually include increasing visitors, so you need to know where you are right now.

Who’s Visiting and Are They Coming Back?

Obviously, this is closely related to the first data point. Just because you have 1000 visitors each day doesn’t mean they’re relevant. If 900 of the visits are from the same person, your message isn’t getting out there. If you are getting a lot of new visitors, it may not mean very much if they take one look at your site and never come back. Your website’s goal is to get a variety of people who find enough value in your website to stop by and want to come back to learn even more.

How Was Their Visit?

New people who keep coming back is great, but what did they do there? Did they spend time on various pages (page views and pages per session), take one look at the site and click away (bounce rate), or stay a long time (average session duration)?

Where Did They Come From?

Finally, how did your company find your online property? Some may have found you directly by typing in your URL. Others may have clicked on a search engine suggestion (organic), clicked on a link in an article (referral), or even been led there by a social media post (social). Knowing your traffic’s source(s) can help you decide what highways you want to focus on for future campaigns.

This list isn’t exhaustive – you can definitely find out more about your website using other data points. But don’t get bogged down with this first step either. Once you’ve done some of this background work, start deciding what your website goals are. Armed with this information, researching strategies won’t seem so overwhelming.




SEO and Changing Algorithms

seo-blogMost individuals and businesses that want to be seen on a Google search will need Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It simply means showing up on the first three pages of a Google search. Although SEO can be explained easily, achieving it is another matter.

As of October 2014, there were a billion websites according to Netcraft, an Internet research firm in the UK. Google, the top search engine in the world, continues to make changes in its algorithm to ensure that Internet users get the best results from their searches – and to maintain its lead among all other search engines.

Some of the major changes in Google’s algorithm were Panda (2011), Penguin (2012) and Hummingbird (2013). Panda was done to filter high-quality websites from poorly designed sites. Penguin was done to check links and weed out unnatural links because according to Google, using these is part of what they consider “unethical.” Hummingbird was not exactly an algorithm change but more of a complete overhaul of their indexing methods and overarching algorithm. This affected how websites are now ranked. These changes and updates will continue to emerge and often without warning. Google is famous for announcing the new algorithms after it has been activated. The result? Your website will suddenly drop or go up in ranking depending on the quality of your website – according to the search engine’s standards.

These are just the major changes. As far as small changes in the algorithm are concerned, it happens about 500 times a year. It is possible to make an intelligent guess when an algorithm is changed because there are visible signs. The most visible sign would be volatile movement of your website’s ranking. Some of the reasons for the most recent movement last June occurred with websites that:

  • Had more ads than content.
  • Had too much sponsored content.
  • Had generic and/or thin content.
  • Had issues with indexing.

Although it isn’t possible to foresee changes in algorithms, it is possible to be prepared for any such event.

  • Make sure your website follows the high quality standards (front and back end) of the top search engines.
  • Keep content unique, high quality, and informative.
  • Use social media hyperlinks.
  • Avoid overstuffing.
  • Use high-quality links

You should also consider getting a professional to step in and monitor your website occasionally. You don’t need a full-time consultant to do this but having an expert team keeping tabs on your website and giving you recommendations will go a long way in preparing you for the inevitable algorithm changes. Don’t be like Demand Media, a company that was soaring high in 2010 as the 17th largest web property in the country with over 105 million followers, only to tumble and crash after Google changed its algorithm. The website had to make drastic changes in its website – changes that continue to this date. As of August 2016, the website has only managed to climb back to 71st place – a far cry from its 2010 status.