The Five Giants of Social Media Your Company Needs to Be Using

Social

Unless youve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that social media is the hottest vehicle for online marketing these days. Social media is the main source of online activity for teenagers, and sites like Facebook and Twitter are fast outpacing email as tools for casual communication. If you want your business to be taken seriously, social media must be an important element of your overall marketing plan. Without a presence on the five most popular social media sites, your business loses credibility and interest among key demographics.
Facebook
Social2With over 750 million active users, Facebook is the king of social media. On their profiles, users display the brands, places and people they like. Additionally, users can post videos, pictures or other content to their walls, which are then seen by everyone in their friend networks.
Many companies have enjoyed success by offering special deals to individuals who like them and share their advertising content with friends. By positioning your brand as a friend to your potential customers and posting entertaining and informative content on a daily basis, you can create a base advertising segment that consists of thousands of people passionate about your products.
Facebook plays a huge role in what analysts term viral marketing. Used to describe word-of-mouth advertising that reaches a tipping point online, viral marketing depends on customers willingly sharing advertising content due to its interest, humor or other entertainment factors. People will re-post your content if they enjoy it enough. This effectively allows a company to use Facebook for free advertising, though success is dependent upon the quality of the content.
Twitter
Twitter is a social networking medium primarily geared toward concise communication. Posts cant be longer than 160 characters in length, and each person using Twitter typically follow tens or hundreds of individuals and companies. From an advertising standpoint, a persons Twitter feed is like a personal television channel. Each person chooses which people and companies she subscribes to based on her interests and purchasing habits.
By offering great Twitter-related deals on your products, you inspire people to follow you in order to keep tabs on good offers for your products. People enjoy Twitter because it allows them to get real-time updates on the things that matter to them, so deals that prompt customers to act quickly are the best Twitter sellers.
Additionally, Twitter is a good way to send press releases directly to fans of your brand. This will further improve sales, as an informed customer is far more likely to buy your latest product than a customer who doesnt even know it exists.
LinkedIn
Designed for business professionals to network and find jobs, LinkedIn boasts over 100 million profiles. People on LinkedIn use the site to help find new professional opportunities and make connections with others in their field.
A presence on LinkedIn cements your company as a serious contender in the online world. In the way that traditional advertising improves brand awareness among the general public, a LinkedIn profile improves awareness of your company among professionals in your field.
Networking, participating in discussions and making friends on LinkedIn all go a long way toward establishing credibility for yourself and your business. You may also wish to befriend key media contacts on the site to get good press releases when you offer new products and services. LinkedIn is a social network for the movers and shakers of the world, and while it may not have the sheer numbers that a site like Facebook enjoys, it more than makes up for it in the quality of contacts. Nearly everyone you connect with on LinkedIn will be interested in how your business might help them succeed at theirs.
YouTube
Most viral video advertisements are initially posted as YouTube videos by businesses wishing to promote their products. This alone should convince you that a YouTube presence is essential for your online marketing success.
YouTube allows you to connect directly with interested customers through videos promoting your product. If your video seems interesting, dynamic or unique, a potential customer will watch it. If the customer is pleasantly surprised, he is far more likely to purchase your product. Therefore, the best YouTube marketing advertisements are those that dont seem like typical ads. Use your creative muscle! Fun is contagious on YouTube, so have fun while making your movie.
Even talking to the camera and doing weekly vlog updates has done wonders for companies in some niches. Make sure that what youre talking about is current, topical, and even controversial, and you will get a big boost from these videos.
As with any social media site, your companys success on YouTube depends on how many friends your company has on the site. Be social and friend as many people as you feel comfortable doing, and if theyre interested in your product they may friend you back.
Flickr
One of the least-utilized social media sites for marketing purposes, Flickr has served to boost the sales of businesses that take a leadership role in its unique community. Some of the ways to do this include getting a pro account to establish your credibility, uploading quality photos of company events or commenting on other peoples pics.
Social3The community is not geared toward business. Instead, high-quality photos with interesting content will entice viewers to look at your profile. A Flickr profile tied to your business should avoid going for the hard sell, but should instead use the site to offer pictures of how products are made, company parties and other positive imagery to strengthen your brand without being overly pushy.
You should be sure to allow others to reuse the images you post on Flickr.

People are always looking for quality images online, and Flickr is one of the main repositories. This allows you to get free advertising. For instance, if you own a winery and someone is looking for a stock photo of a bottle of pinot noir, your bottle might be used if the picture is really good.Ultimately, social media represents the present and the future of internet marketing. Dont be left out! Develop and maintain profiles on the Big Five social media giants today!

Guide to Basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Techniques

growing5

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is commonly thought of as a confusing and hard way to increase how high a website ranks in search engines. This is a large misconception, and making a website optimized for search engines can be relatively simple and requires little knowledge, however, will require effort and hard work.
What is SEO and how does it work?
growingTo start with; SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how your site is optimized for search engines. In essence, the friendlier to search engines your website is, the more Search Engine Optimized the site is.Search engines, primarily Google, Yahoo and Bing, all use web spiders or web crawlers that frequently search and crawl the web.

These crawlers and spiders collect data from the web pages they come across, such as; the content of the site, outgoing and incoming links, essentially everything on the site. As they crawl through web pages, the data they collect is stored in a database.When a person queries a search engine, the search engine then looks through the database to find the most relevant and high quality content, on the websites it has already crawled through.

The most relevant websites are then displayed in the search engines results, to the person who searched.But before the results are displayed, the search engine performs another process; this is called the search engines algorithm. The algorithm is essentially factors and variables that tell the search engine whether the content on a website is relevant to the search query, or not. The search engine performs a series of checks, and the more relevant to the search query the content on the website is, the higher your webpage will be displayed within the search engine results.

However, relevancy is not the only factor that determines how high your webpage is shown in the search results. What are some basic SEO tips?I will tell you some of the basic factors and changes that will increase your websites rank within search engines. This is a basic overview of on site SEO, and is not in depth.
THINGS TO-DO
• Keywords
Make sure your site is based around a specific niche, such as rabbit hutches for example. Having a site about everything, will be much harder to make SEO friendly.
To find good keywords, there are a few tools at your disposal you can use. I heavily recommend using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, its free, fast, detailed and is extremely effective at highlighting effective keywords and information about them.

growing2It will tell you how many people are searching for specified keywords, and can therefore be used to show which keywords you should target.Try to target a keyword that hasnt got a lot to compete with. For instance, if you were to target the keyword online games, there are already thousands of sites that are also competing for that keyword, and you would be hard-pressed to beat them for the top search engine results.

Target keywords with high demand (lots of searches), but a low amount of competitors.Once you have your site targeted at a specific niche, make sure to place your keyword in key areas of your website. Some of these key areas are; the title of your website, your website URL or page URL, within links, within your main headings or other key headings, within your sites written content, etc.
• Title
Make sure your main title contains your keywords, as this is a key area that affects your search engine rank. A bad title will badly affect search engine results.
Also make your title compelling, so it looks appealing on search engine results.
However, search engines only show the first 50 characters or so of your title, so dont make it too long.
• Meta Tag Description
Another important part of your site is your meta tag. Effectively, this is the description of your site and the pages on it. This is the description that shows up under the title on search results, although it doesnt have a large impact on your page ranking; it is very useful for potential visitors. A good meta tag description can tell people, by viewing the search results, what the site is about and the content it contains.
Should you have a bad meta description; visitors will probably click on another website in the search results, which has a better meta description.
• Content
Content is one of the most important factors to get your site noticed by search engines. The more relevant content hosted on your website, the higher your site will rank. You can never have enough content on your site.
Include your target keywords within the content of your site.
• Internal linking/Sitemap
Internal linking is a great way to direct web spiders to crawl through all your other pages and content. Having a sitemap with links to all your pages, not just click here but links containing keywords and page names, will direct crawlers to these web pages through links using your keywords.
• Image ALT Attribute
Unfortunately, search engines are unable to view images; they rely on the alt attribute of an image to determine what an image is of. Describing what the image is showing by using the alt attribute, this can help increase your ranking and make your images show higher up on image searches.
• URLs
Make your URLs simple and descriptive, not meaningless. Make sure your URLs contain your relevant keywords. A page title containing numbers, like http://blog.com/123 is not targeting any keywords and doesnt tell the search engine about the content that URL contains. If you were targeting rabbit hutches and your page was about pricing your page URL could be; http://blog.com/rabbithutchprices which is a much friendlier, and effective URL.
• Anchor Link Text
When linking to content or other pages, never just use click here as it gives no description of what you are linking to. Attempt to use keywords and basic information about the URL you are linking to. Such as, using rabbit hutches as an example again, a link that reads rabbit hutch prices.
THINGS TO AVOID
• Spamming Key words
Do not continuously repeat your keywords everywhere, over and over again. This will actually harm your search engine rankings, as it is classified as keyword stuffing.
• Broken Links
Broken links are also a thing to avoid. If there are broken links on your site, do not hesitate to fix it as it can and will affect your search engine rankings. This is because spiders and crawlers will index and record the broken links, but they contain no content, therefore reducing your sites rank.
The Link Checker, at W3.org, is capable of telling you all the broken links on your site.
• Using Flash
Do not make a site purely from Flash, as search engine spiders and crawlers are unable to interpret the flash. Therefore, they register the site as containing no content.
Also, menus made in flash are also a no-no. This is because the crawlers are unable to read the links, and they will not be able to index and navigate to your other pages.
Generally avoid flash.
• Cleanly Coded
growing3Make sure your sites coding is clean and doesnt throw up too many errors, as this can affect how a crawler reads and interprets your website. Tools such as W3Validator and Google Webmaster Tools can help identify errors and problem with your websites coding.
Helpful SEO tools and websites?
• Google Webmaster Tools
As previously linked to, Google Webmaster Tools is a great and extremely useful tool for webmasters. It can display data from crawlers that check your website, detailed statistics for your website, check for coding errors and problems, etc.
• Page Rank
This website, Page Rank, features many online tools based around SEO, webmasters and domains; many of which can prove extremely useful. Tools such as; keyword suggestion, high paying keywords finder, related key words, meta tag generator, search engine simulator, link popularity checker and a many more. This is a great site for helpful SEO tools.
• Seobook
Seobook is similar to the pagerank website, however boasts tools based solely around SEO. Although, it contains less webmaster and domain tools than pagerank, it certainly contains more SEO orientated tools.
• SEO WikiPedia
The SEO WikiPedia page, contains some very good information, references and in depth detail all about SEO, how it works, how people do it, etc. Very useful for SEO newbies.