Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘blogs

Does Social Bookmarking Really Work?Social bookmarking is the process of storing, organizing, searching, and managing bookmarks of web pages that you want to remember or share with your social network. Effective social bookmarking sites include StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious.

Why Social Bookmarking?

You absolutely need to use social bookmarking sites when you publish new content, whether that’s new web pages, blog posts, or news and press articles. Social bookmarking works because it will drive large amount of traffic to your website.

Social bookmarking communities view bookmarks either chronologically, by tags, or by search engines. When you bookmark a page on your website and share it with an online community, it classifies that page as useful within the particular category you specified. The bookmark is then disseminated and shared among a viral community.

Social bookmarking is the third most effective medium of searching and finding useful information, preceded only by Google searches and directly visiting websites. It is a powerful marketing tool you should use to promote the information on your website and drive an amount of traffic almost equitable to what you get from Google searches.

How to use social bookmarking effectively

Rich Brooks of Social Media Examiner wrote in a recent blog post:

“It’s always best when someone else bookmarks your content, so it might makes sense to have a small ‘bookmarking club’ with friends where you promote each other’s work. This ‘seeding’ will often encourage others to bookmark your content.”

His advice is very useful in that bookmarking your own content will work in terms of search rankings, but it may end up looking like just promotional efforts in the eyes of your consumers.

When you publish new content (i.e. new web pages or blog posts), make sure you bold your keywords, add related links back to your website, and use tags to categorize your information to make searches more effective. Then, bookmark your site on a few different social bookmarking channels like StumbleUpon, Reddit, and Delicious.

In a day or two, review your web analytics and see exactly where your traffic came from. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly social bookmarking can work for you.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

Why You Need to Connect Your Blog and Your WebsiteOne creative way to drive more traffic to your website and encourage interaction with your customers is by integrating your blog into your business website. Rather than solely using a blog or website respectively, using both together can improve the interactivity with your customers.

Interactivity is becoming increasingly important for consumers and their purchase decisions. A business website gives the consumer general information and a professional business presence. A blog allows consumers to see updated and fresh information, testimonials from recent purchasers, and even comments and conversations posted by existing customers.

Search Engine Optimization

Blogs are also great for increasing your search engine optimization, or your visibility online. By posting fresh content on a daily basis you increase your search engine ranking and the ability for people to see you online. Blogs can also drive traffic to your website by providing useful information while also using links and a call to action to direct your readers to your company site.

Personal Touch

Having a blog on a site like WordPress or Blogger will give your company a personality that many other companies don’t have. Publishing more personal content rather than pushing sales pitches gives you an advantage over your competitors. Because consumers are seeking more intimate relationships with the online companies they purchase from, a blog can be a great way to establish communication, relationships, and credibility with your consumers.

How To Integrate Your Blog and Website

There are several ways you can integrate your blogging platform and your business website. If you choose to use an existing platform like WordPress or Blogger, make sure to include links on every post you publish that directs your readers back to your website. Also, have links to your blog on the homepage of your business website. This encourages people to learn more about you, your company, your product, and your consumers.

If you wish to have a more seamless integration, consider investing in a content management system that includes a blogging platform. This means that your blog will be an actual page of your website and you wouldn’t need to send your customers away from your website in order to connect with them.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Get People to Bookmark Your WebsiteDo you want people to bookmark your website? By that I mean do you want your website to be a site your customers visit everyday, just to see if anything new has been added? Read on if you are interested in improving your business’s website to have more loyal customers and gain new ones.

Constantly communicate

Entrepreneur.com agrees with me in that blogging everyday should be a no-brainer. If you feel that your homepage should stay the way it is for a while and you have nothing additional you need to add, you absolutely should be blogging everyday. Posting something new and fresh each day will give people incentive to visit your website at frequent intervals. However, you won’t get returning browsers unless you offer something new and exciting with each post. The content you create with blogging and updates should be dynamic, unique, entertaining, valuable, and easy to understand.

Try highlighting a customer every week. Interview them, get some feedback, and then write a post on how your product is continuing to help them. Or talk about how your product got started, what mistakes you’ve made and how you’ve fixed them. There are so many different angles you can take to keep driving customers to your website.

Create a community

If you have dabbled in social media marketing, you understand how important it is to the success of any online location to build a community. Communities have a certain language, people within a community provide information to each other and engage in conversations about certain products and brands. If you encourage a sense of community around your website, you will increase your customer loyalty and provide a sense of belonging to new customers who are considering your product.

Encourage discussion and devote time to ask for feedback and provide answers to those who ask questions. Source people who give you feedback as often as possible. You can even provide an opportunity for customers to submit ideas or designs for your next event or campaign. If you make your customers feel like they are a part of your brand, your customer base will stay strong and continue to grow.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Make Your Website More Valuable to CustomersIf you have recently started up your own business, you need a website. With the amount of consumers that are embracing the world of e-commerce, you really can’t afford to be inaccessible online. Even if you don’t have an e-commerce option on your website, it should still be there for information and interaction with consumers.

There are several different factors that go into building a website for your business. You need a simple design that’s easy to navigate, quality content that can convert browsers into buyers, and an option for customers to provide feedback and opinions.

Web Accessibility

One of the most important factors of building your website is optimizing it for search engines. In order for people to find your website, or even know it exists, it must be available for consumers after they conduct a search to find the product or service you offer.

There are several different components that add to your search engine rankings (how high you appear on search results). Quality content and copy is of the utmost importance. Conducting thorough keyword research and creating unique title tags for your web pages can sincerely make a difference in your visibility online.

Social Media

Recently, search engines are using social media as another way to rank websites. If there is a lot of positive feedback regarding your website, product, or service, you will be ranked higher on search engiines.

Using social media as a source to drive traffic to your website is another reason why you should have valuable content within your web pages. If your audience takes the bait and ends up at your website, they should be satisfied with the valuable information that you offer.

It is important to provide information and instigate 2-way communication with your audience, whether that be through Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog. Nick James of Webcredible.co.uk says:

“Obviously, if you’re providing a useful resource for users, whether through a blog, regularly updated articles, or just the core pages of your website itself, then you’ll inevitably develop a base of regularly returning readers. If you’re actually selling something through your website then this increases the opportunities for successful conversions.”

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Hone Your Marketing SkillsIf you feel like your business’s marketing strategy is lacking and your business is not getting the attention it needs, it is important to review the skills you need to market your products and services effectively.

Marketing takes a certain amount of skill and tact. You have to know what works and what doesn’t before you create your marketing strategy. Here are a few characteristic skills you need to hone before your marketing efforts see any results.

Marketing and sales must work together

While it is important to distinguish the fact that marketing and sales are two very different avenues for a business owner to explore, they also need to coincide with a common goal. Your marketing team should respect the values and experiences of your sales team.

Sales people work with customers much more often. A successful sales person knows more about the target audience and loyal consumer than any well-researched marketer out there because sales people witness customer feedback firsthand. While your marketing strategy should still focus on gaining customer loyalty and increasing your brand equity, consulting with the sales people in your company can provide a unique perspective, and give a voice to the consumer.

Understanding social media marketing

It is also extremely important to have a clear understanding of the power of social media marketing. A social media marketing strategy should be implemented over the span of one to two years. Any results before that time will be minimal. While you may be a little apprehensive at the idea of putting forth effort for a year or two without expecting results, be aware that social media marketing can increase your brand’s reputation, your search engine rankings, and if done properly – your revenue stream.

If you choose to implement a social media marketing strategy, choose a few main channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and a blog. Use these channels to connect with your audience and gather as much information and feedback as you can. If your audience is convinced that your brand is there to help better the quality of their lives, you will have a leg up on your competition who, by the way, is probably already on Facebook.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How Your Business can Profit from a BlogYour small business needs some personality. You need a way to connect with your customers and offer them more than just a product – offer an experience they will remember and refer to others. It is important to develop something unique that makes your small business the one to buy from.

Michael Cage, an avid blogger about entrepreneurship wrote a really great post on his site Entrepreneurs Life, about how blogging can return profits for your business. Although it may seem like a lot of work to keep up a blog, it can be one of the best business decisions you make as a small business owner.

Here is some of Michael’s great advice on blogging for your business:

1. When local retailer’s blog it gives your shop personality.

There’s a business principle that people like doing business with other people, not nameless, faceless corporations. Your blog is your local business’s “name and face,” and gives your customers and clients a way to interact with your business on a personal level. And the more personal they feel their relationship with you is, the more often they’ll chose you over “x retailer” down the road … no matter how cheap or fast or whatever that competitor may be.

2. Introduce new offers, specials and sales on your retail blog.

Instead of waiting until someone is in your doors to tell them about your new new product or service, tell them on your blog and bring them into your business.

For example, you can write a blog post that’s a version of, “The most common question I get asked is _______. So we searched far and wide for (the solution), and narrowed it down to (what you’re selling). Here’s why it’s great. And here’s what you’ll love about it. Come check it out.”

You’ll excite your loyal customers and clients who already know you provide quality products and services. And you’ll make prospects want to work with you because you’ve shown you have their best interest at heart. This is much more effective than the “here’s what we have, take it or leave it” approach most businesses take.

3. Blogging increases referrals and word of mouth marketing.

A viral blog post spreads. Which means word of your business spreads, too. All it takes is one great idea and one rant about it on your blog to increase awareness of your local business. Plus, you can actively encourage referals by making stars of your customers on your blog. For example, highlight a customer who achieved amazing results with something you offer.

When you make a big deal out of someone, they’ll want to make a big deal out of you by referring.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How a Blog can Increase Sales for Your Online BusinessIf you have a small business, you probably already understand how crucial it is to have an online presence. Studies have shown how the world of commerce, marketing, and social interaction are all transitioning online, so there’s no reason not to be accessible on the Internet.

Once your online business is set up, you need something to continuously drive traffic to your site. Incorporating a blog into your business website can be one of the best investments you make. While it takes a lot of work and time for the results to show from blogging, the results are definitely worth it.

Why your blog will work

A blog is a low-cost (often free) form of marketing that can produce significant results such as long term relationships with customers and an increase in traffic. When you set up a blog, you can easily (and continuously) update content and publish it for your customers and viewers to see.

By having control over the content, you can update and inform your customers about new products, services, and promotions. Blogs are great because they can spread quickly across the Internet. So long as they have quality information that is worth the reading, you can gain and retain the attention of fleeting Internet browsers.

Blogs are also a great advantage to have when trying to optimize your website for search engines. Blogs are screened much quicker than entire websites by search engines and as long as you have some sort of call to action in your blog posts, it can drive people to your website with established interest.

Blogs also help with establishing customer loyalty. They can be very interactive. For example, a customer can pose a question or request, and you can recognize that in a blog post. This makes that customer feel important and recognized – adding to your credibility and building on your relationship with customers. You can even use blog posts to give your employees some empowerment, have them write posts once in a while so your entire company can be heard.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

How To Avoid Wasting Time On Social Media

Although I have been adamantly advocating the use of social media for small businesses, many people are still hesitant to jump right into it because of the fear of being overwhelmed. This truthfully happens all too often. You could very well become bombarded with status updates, tweets, Facebook posts, or even spreading yourself too thin across different social media networks.

Travis Hodges, a freelance social media consultant, gives us wary social media users some advice on how to avoid wasting our valuable time and marketing efforts. It is important to use social media marketing to your advantage. There are many components of social media that can become a distraction to your objectives, so pay attention.

Do not follow too many blogs

Try sticking to blogs that directly relate to your industry. Also, weed out blogs that aren’t as informative as others. You should follow blogs that you can learn from on a consistent basis. In addition, pay attention to how much time you’re spending reading each blog, you should be able to get a wide variety of information, not sinking into one particular blog for an absurd amount of time.

Do not read every single tweet, post, or status update

Social media is completely overloaded with unnecessary content. If you follow tweets or updates that can be valuable or informative to you, that’s fine, but try to avoid those that don’t quite make your favorites list or group.

Do not follow or friend too many people

You don’t necessarily have to be friends with everyone you possibly can. This is just poor networking and is inefficient. If you friend every person possible, you will undoubtedly be labeled as a spammer eventually. Again, follow and friend people that you can learn from, or converse with, all for the better of the community, your company, and yourself.

Do not spread yourself too thin over social media networks

For small businesses, the most recommended social media networks for you to join include: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and blogs. These are the most widely used and the most effective if you are using social media for your marketing strategy.

Distributed by IntelBuilder Social Media Platform

good customer reviewsWith the growth of social media and the increasing importance of positive word of mouth marketing, it is more difficult than ever to shape your advertising campaign to ensure a positive image. Customers are inevitably going to talk to other customers. If a customer has had a poor experience, it will reflect poorly on you and there is not much you can do about it after the fact.

How to avoid poor reviews

The most important thing to remember is the critical need to please your customers. You need them to keep coming back after all, why not encourage them to come back with their friends? There are many ways to maintain quality customer service using social media, where the conversation about your brand is happening anyway. Make sure to have accounts on various social media channels that encourage customer feedback like on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and blogs.

How to use social media for customer service

With the blog posts, you can write something creative such as an answer to a customer question or response to a customer concern once a week. The advantage to this is that not only are you answering a question that other customers may have, but it is now published to your website which shows two things: one-that you’re genuinely concerned in the happiness of your customer and two-that you are willing and able to solve the concerns of your customers should they arise.

Facebook and Twitter are great to answer quick customer questions and respond to customer complaints. However, social media is regularly updated and one status update will be forgotten two weeks from now. The reason why blogs are great is because they’re a little more permanent and generally have a longer shelf life.

The more questions you answer and problems you solve, the better it reflects on you and your company. Negative word of mouth marketing will inevitably happen, it is so hard to avoid. However, if you take care of the customer first, your chances of having poor reviews firing across the Internet decrease dramatically.

social media trendsSocial Media is starting to become old news to all businesses, big and small. Now, people are starting to pay attention to how social media is changing to adapt to the demands of all businesses (big and small).

Smartbrief, a media company that prides itself on disseminating important information to professionals, conducted a survey about how social media is changing and evolving. This survey gives fantastic insight into some of the trends, behaviors, and challenges of many social media marketers.

Here are some of their findings:

  • 66.5% of companies surveyed have started a social media presence in the past 18 months.
  • The top 5 social media channels that companies are generally focusing their efforts on are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Blogs
  • 49.1% of businesses find Facebook to be the most important site, with Twitter close behind at 40%
  • The point at which businesses begin gaining confidence with their social media presence is after approximately 2 years of activity.
  • 28% of businesses say they have fully integrated social media into their business model after about 2 or 3 years of activity.
  • Almost 50% of business have a fully developed social media marketing strategy after about 3 years of social media usage.
  • 94% of surveyed business said their number one goal with social media was to “increase awareness of and interaction with our brand.”
  • 33.3% of respondents said that the number one obstacle with social media usage was “I am not the decision maker”. This could be because many people in charge of the social media usage of companies are not in executive positions.

What does this all mean?

Social media is certainly growing. Businesses are starting to learn that having a social media presence is mandatory for their success. About one third of the companies surveyed have been using social media for at least two years. This is clear evidence that measurable results from social media efforts take time. Those who have been around longer have a stronger level of confidence and more measurable results than the 66.5% of people who started their social media presence within the past 18 months.

So does this mean you will have to pitter around on Facebook for a full two years before you see results? No. If you use social media the right way, it can work to your advantage almost immediately. Almost all of the survey respondents said their goal was to increase awareness and interaction with their brand. That’s great, but we still see that many companies are not doing much to promote 2-way communication. As long as you are genuinely interacting with your customer base, you will see results.


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