Monday, December 28, 2009

Social Bookmarking - Effective Web Site Marketing

Social Bookmarking - Effective Web Site Marketing

By Groshan Fabiola

When trying to develop a successful online business, seo (search engine optimization) services should be your number one concern. You may have the best products on offer, the most advantageous deals and the highest quality service, but what good does it do your business if no one knows about them? Or, why not try to improve your online marketing strategies and eventually double or even treble the number of customers? This would only take a little effort on your part, and the benefits would be countless.

There are many ways in which you can drive targeted traffic to your web site and eventually boost your ranking with the main search engines such as Google, Yahoo! or Msn. Increasing the popularity of your link is very important and this can be achieved in a number of ways, such as submitting your web site to certain directories, submitting articles that are rich in keywords to specialized article sites and directories, or social bookmarking.

For those of you who are less familiar with the notion of social bookmarking, this is a form of advertising your web site to social media. The concept of social bookmarking is by no means a new one, but this form of promoting services and products has seen a tremendous growth only recently.

How can your online business benefit from social bookmarks? It's very simple. With high quality one-way links from social bookmarking sites and the inherent amount of traffic, there will be nothing but benefits for your website. Socials bookmarks can bring hundreds or even thousands of unique visitors to your web site on a daily basis. From this point on, it's up to you to turn visitors into loyal customers.

With the obvious benefits of bookmarking, the question is not whether or not to use this form of web site marketing, but how to make the most of it. For optimal results, it is highly advisable that you let search engine optimization specialists complete this task for you, especially if you are not very familiar with the Internet in general and with social bookmark sites in particular.

For your site to be indexed a lot faster by the major search engines (if it's a newly developed one) or for quality traffic to be driven to your web site, you need to take into account several factors that have to do with the quality of the social bookmarking site and the content that you supply to such sites. Needless to say that the content needs to be accurate, good quality and original. Having said this, you will probably understand why it is better to use a professional social bookmarking service provided by search engine optimization experts.

There are thousands of social bookmarking sites out there, many of whom are not even worth visiting because of their poor quality and the fact that they are not search engine friendly. Can you tell the difference between a good social bookmarking site and a poor one? A seo expert certainly can.

Your success with social bookmarks does not lie in their amount, but greatly depends on their quality. This is the most important reason why you should consider using a professional social bookmarking service.

For more resources about social bookmarks or about social bookmarking service, please visit these pages.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Your Twitter Account - The 7 Most Important Steps to Be Effective

Your Twitter Account - The 7 Most Important Steps to Be Effective

By Sally Witzky

I recently completed three back-to-back social networking presentations for small business owners and one of the most burning questions coming from the audience always surrounds how to set up an effective Twitter account.

This blog post isn't designed to give you step-by-step instructions - you can get that from a number of places - including the Twitter 101 Guide for businesses. But we wanted to share our "traction tips" on what we believe to be the most critical things to think about when setting up a Twitter account for your personal brand or your small business.

Listed below are the 7 most important steps to gain social traction for your Twitter account:

1. TWITTER HANDLE. Be sure that the Twitter handle you choose is both memorable, it serves you well and is as short as possible. Keep in mind that people connect with people which means ideally we like to see Twitter handles in the name of the person. Often that becomes a challenge because your name may already be taken, it's too long or you'd prefer to use your company name which we'll address in a moment. While we don't recommend using all caps for sure, we do recommend using initial caps where it makes obvious sense. For example, @guykawasaki can be (and is) @GuyKawasaki.

2. MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS: For those of you who have personal brands as well as businesses, you can (and should) set up two accounts: one in your personal name and one in your business name. That way, you get the benefit of both. Your personal account should be bringing your listeners value based on your own knowledge and building of one-on-one relationships with others, and can and should include some of your own personality and humor. Your business or company account can be more focused on helping people strictly as it relates to the company and what value the company brings and shares to others. You don't need both necessarily; take a look at your own situation and figure out which is best. You certainly can have an account that has your business name as your handle with your photo and name. Or vice-versa. Weigh the pros and cons and figure out what is best for your individual situation.

3. PHOTO CRITICAL. For your personal brand account, your photo or avatar should be a photo of yourself. For goodness sakes, don't use a photo of your dog or kid, or a photo of you as a kid - unless you really are a kid (and then perhaps Twitter should be used only with some adult supervision). And it's probably not a good idea to put up just any photo of yourself. Your photo - whether on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook - is a reflection of you and your personal brand. Make it count. Invest in a decent photographer, pay attention to your wardrobe - even hire an image consultant if you feel it necessary. People will see your Twitter photo each and every time you send a tweet or post - adding up to thousands of times. Think of tweets as your own branding campaign - like your target audience seeing mini TV spots of you over and over again. If this is your business account, then your company logo - or a very memorable graphic representation of it - should be used. Traction tip: remember that Twitter (as well as LinkedIn) only allows for a square photo less than 700kb in size. Make it bold and impactful in that small space.

4. FILL THE BIO. Many people don't take the time to write a good bio and so they get in a hurry and just write something lame. Irrelevant. Meaningless. Your Twitter bio, while short, says a lot about you. In fact, it says everything about you. Aside from your avatar, it is your image to the world. Pay attention. It's like your resume only short. Very short. But just like a tweet, you'd be surprised what you can say in a few words. Or what your bio says about you. One of my favorite lines is one from Mark Twain or perhaps attributed to T.S. Eliot, who said "If I had more time, I'd write a shorter letter." The point is, take the time. Write pithy. Edit. Review. Edit again. Get not only to the heart of who you are but, most importantly, who you serve. To whom do you bring value to? Be sure they are mentioned. Business owners? Moms? Kids? Runners? When people read your bio, your "story," they need to see a bit of themselves in it. They need to relate to you. While you don't have to take up the entire character space, we don't want you to sell yourself short - but we also don't want you to sell in this space. Just keep it simple and don't try to do too much: simply get the person to the next step and the next step is to follow you or, if they're already following you, to connect or converse or contact you.

5. LOCATION. So we have some pet peeves about this. People don't realize how important it is to not only use the location field but also to use it correctly if you expect people to find you and follow you. If someone leaves this field blank, then it says they were either lazy or don't want anyone to know where they're from. I'd rather see something in this field, than nothing. Geez, at least let us know what country or state you're from. But some people use UberTwitter and then have their UberTwitter code in the field, which is meaningless if I'm looking for location to be a connection with the person. What's worse, is that their Twitter handle won't be picked up in Twitter directories such as Twitterholic or Twellow. Which means, if I'm looking to find people close to me, I won't find that person. So adding the proper location is important if you want more people to find you - and particularly important for local businesses, sales professionals or freelancers. Traction tip: use the main metropolitan area closest to you. For example, I live in Chesterfield, VA but in the Richmond, VA area so I use Richmond VA. Most people won't be looking through all the suburbs to find people. And best to use that City, ST format as well.

6. FILL IN THE URL. Sometimes people leave the URL field blank but don't do that. If you don't have a website you can find a URL to put there. You can use the link to your LinkedIn or your multi-media VisualCV profile, particularly if you're looking for a job or building your personal brand. Or you can set up a PeoplePond page with your social profile and use that. Or a simple Google personal profile. Even your YouTube channel if you work with a lot of video. Traction tip: we want this URL is an active, engaging place - either a blog or a site that not only has further contact information for you but also has further content - content that is relevant to what you do, who you are and, most importantly, who you help.

7. TWITTER BACKGROUND. Ideally, you want to design a custom background for you or your business that is branded to you. Not a designer? That's fine. You can use the Twitter backgrounds and colors to at least match your brand temporarily, until you get started. There are also a number of free Twitter backgound services you can use. But, just like your photo, your Twitter page is a reflection of who you are and your company so don't leave it to chance. Just like anything else, sometimes you only have one chance to make a great impression. So find a designer who will create a Twitter background page for you - budget of $100-$200 will usually more than suffice, depending on how much graphics you need created. If you can't find someone, call us and we'll create one for you.

So those are what we believe are the 7 most important set-up steps to creating an impressive and effective Twitter account - one that will get you the most traction from a branding standpoint. If you still need help, no worries. Just contact the Traction Group, the social marketing agency for small business owners, and we'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. Remember, WHAT YOU TWEET is just as important, if not even much more so. We'll share some traction tips for that as well - in a future article.

Sally Witzky is owner, chief strategist and "tractioneer" of Traction Group LLC, a Richmond VA based social media marketing agency. She helps small business owners and speakers develop an online brand strategy through social media and she coaches people who want to develop their personal brand. For more than fifteen years, she has led advertising, direct marketing and brand development initiatives for Fortune 1000 companies including Citizens Bank/RBS, Champion Mortgage, Saab, FMC and Mercedes-Benz. She can be found on Twitter as @SallyWitzky and @TractionGroup and blogs at

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Power of Newsletters by Joel Comm

The Power of Newsletters
By Joel Comm

A top-earning AdSense website will have a number of different elements: it will have high quality content filled with valuable keywords; it will have the right ad units in the right place well blended into the page; and it will have a steady stream of traffic flowing in from various sources to click the ads that the feed the funds.

Gathering that traffic can be hard work. You can take the easy route and simply pay for ads on AdWords. That works fine as long as you’re paying less per click than your ads receive per click. Swapping links will certainly be a part of your traffic acquisition strategy, as will search engine optimization. But all that takes effort... so you want to make the most of it.

You’ve probably heard that old business maxim about new clients costing ten times more to pick up than holding on to old ones.

The principle is exactly the same for websites.

If you’ve attracted a user to your site, you want to make sure he comes back. If he didn’t click on ad during his last visit, he might click next time. And if he did click on an ad during his last visit, then that’s definitely the sort of user you want returning.

Satisfying your users with valuable content will help, but even the most satisfied user can still forget to check your site regularly. That’s why a newsletter is such an important tool.

You should always be trying to capture your users’ email addresses. You’ll be able to remind them that you’re out there, tell them that you have good information and suggest that they come back to your site. You can’t put ads in the newsletter itself yet (although Google say that’s on the way) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be using a newsletter.

One way to create a newsletter and use it to generate ad clicks is to fill it with original content and make sure that your URL is well displayed. If people feel that they’re getting good content from your newsletter, they’ll come to the site to find out more.

The other method is even easier. Every time you create a new blog post or write a new article simply take the first paragraph or two and paste it into your newsletter template. When the template is full, mail it off to your list. To read the rest of the article, those old users will have to visit your site.

If you’re not sending a newsletter to your users, then not only will you be unprepared when Google wheels out ads in newsletters, you’re also missing a valuable traffic opportunity now.

Joel Comm is The Internet Revenue Expert.

Online for over 20 years, Joel teaches people how to make money in the digital age. The recognized authority on Google AdSense, Joel teaches how to multiply your AdSense income at To ask Joel Comm a question about making money online, visit Joel invites you visit his AdSense Forums at

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Do Social Media?

Why Do Social Media?
By Katie Colbourne

Over the last 6 months or so people keep asking me 'what is social media', 'how are you using it' 'why do it, 'what exactly is your job?'. I will (hopefully) try to give you a brief introduction to social media, some tips and why companies from big conglomerates right down to small businesses should use it.

Social media is online conversation. It's the 'new word of mouth' - Conversations that were previously happening offline are now happening online in 'viral ecosystem' type communities. Viral is the keyword here as if a topic is provocative/ interesting enough it can spread online like gossip in a small town - this is what we call Digital Interaction. You've probably all heard of Twitter, Facebook, Linked IN, Flickr, YouTube etc right, and if not ... WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN??? On social terms these communities allow us to interact with friends, catch up on the latest news, see whose flying high, who really isn't and generally have fun interacting online. In marketing terms, these are all potential goldmines.

If you put it into perspective; Facebook for example now has a user base that if it were a country it would be the fourth most populated place in the world! Just this week it was announced that Facebook now has surpassed 300 million users across all demographics AND is now making enough money to cover its costs. These are stats that you can no longer choose to ignore. So what would I say to a company whose competitor is doing a lot of social media, but they see it as a waste of time as they are lucky enough in these times to have a huge budget for mainstream advertising?

I would say break away from the old-school advertising 'shout our message the loudest' model and do it. Consider that the average person is exposed to over 3000 advertising messages every day. 1. Consider that messaging and interaction is no longer one-way it is multi-directional amongst all stakeholders. So why invest all that surplus cash, when most people will ignore your message, your message will be too mainstream and you can reach a much more targeted audience DIRECTLY online through conversation at a much cheaper cost and at real-time? ROI is high with social media as the only cost is human capital.

Social Media has evolved marketing, with a new 'communications model'. Today customers want more; they don't just want an information feed, they want interaction and acknowledgement from brands. When they buy products they like to buy into the whole brand, this is particularly true amongst our future generations, the millennials, of which 96% have joined a social network.

2.Don't ditch traditional methods completely as Social media is a compliment not a replacement and compliment really is the operative word here. There's a need to use social media to support existing messaging not replace it completely.
Using it is about being clever. Once you join you have to realise that you are no longer in control - you have to relinquish control - now this is where people get scared, but it works. There tends to be a lot more respect for brands who are on social networks opposed to those who aren't.

But first you need to listen, only then should you participate and interact and then engage your customers. You can't just use social media to blast out your messages you have to talk to them about what they want to talk about and be honest. You can of course use social media to sway/influence conversation but you need to realize that honesty is the ONLY policy in social media and if you are too corporate or pushy you will put people off.
Some brands have official communities and accounts as this can be quite a good way to try and tie in all conversation, keeping it on track and preventing profanities.

"But how can it really benefit my business??" I hear you ask ....
• Facilitates conversations between all stakeholders - providing direct connections
• Targets those consumers who have moved away from traditional media
• Provides behavioural insight and innovation through connections
• Multiple profiles - leads to organic growth amongst search page rankings
• Increases brand profile / reach

How have we benefited from social media?

Social media has opened up many new opportunities for us that previously we wouldn't have thought possible. We have had interest from new markets and started dialogues with people who are potential partners. We established our own Twitter page around five months ago and were amazed at the amount of interaction almost straightaway. Today Twitter is one of our top referral sites, not only to our own website, but also for campaigns we have worked on. By maintaining interaction levels you constantly keep your customers/target audience engaged, bringing you ever closer to your customers first hand.

It is early days however, and at the moment we are looking into ways to try and quantify social media into real ROI for our corporate clients as we're constantly hearing 'conversation is great but where's the value?' - this is where as professional marketers we need to see and tangibly demonstrate the grey - it isn't just black and white anymore.
So ... it is here to stay, it's not a fad, it's a fundamental and undeniable shift in the way we communicate with current customers and potential customers, so don't get left behind! Even the Government are on Twitter and if Barack Obama used social media to get to the White House3, we can all use social media to reach out to customers.

1. Shenk, David. Data Smog - Surviving the Information Glut. HarperEdge, 1997.
2. The National School Boards Association.
3. Brooks, Rich. What Businesses Can Learn from Barack Obama's Social Media Strategy. Jan. 30th, 2009.

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Katie Colbourne advises clients on how to integrate complex social media reputation planning into their marketing strategy through the use of extensive background media research and knowledge of emerging media. Prior to this, Katie worked client-side for Toys R Us across their advertising and marketing departments, working on various targeted DM and PR campaigns, national press media planning and advertisements as well as the TV commercial core-brand messaging.

Article by: Katie Colbourne

Social Media Executive

Volume Group Ltd -

If you want any further information, or tips or advice, contact me using the any of the options below.

Twitter @VolumeGroup

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quality Content -- The Key To A Successful AdSense Site

Top-Quality Content -- The Key To A Successful AdSense Site
By Joel Comm

Google’s got a problem. We’ve all seen it. We’ve all had to deal with it. We’ve all been frustrated by it.

Enter a search term at Google and about a quarter to half of the results on the first page will be garbage. A couple of meaningless paragraphs and plenty of ad units and in-your-face banners.

The SEO is excellent. The content is terrible. And you can be sure the revenues are rock bottom too.

I’m not interested in building sites like that, and no one else should be either. They’re a waste of time for the publisher and they’re a waste of time for users too.

And they’re also completely unnecessary.

Creating top quality content -- the sort that builds loyal users and gets ad clicks -- is easy. You don’t have to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist to create good articles. And you don’t have to write like Hemingway to create Web pages that bring users back.

You just have to write the sort of content that people find interesting. That’s all there is to it.

The best judge of whether an article is interesting is you. If you find your content enjoyable to create, there’s a good chance that your users will find reading it appealing too.

One of the easiest ways to create interesting content is to write product reviews. Whatever you like to do in your spare time is going to have plenty of products. That’s true whether you’re playing golf, building home entertainment systems or doing home improvements.

You already know which of those products are the best and which are disappointing.

Write short reviews of the products you own -- or would like to own -- and you’ll provide valuable information for users.

And you’ll also bring up highly targeted ads.

When you’re looking to create a new site rather than pick topics that you know have high-paying ads, pick topics that have high interest for you. You’ll be able to create better content, and you’ll have more users who will return regularly and give your site a solid base.

Joel Comm is The Internet Revenue Expert. Online for over 20 years, Joel teaches people how to make money in the digital age. The recognized authority on Google AdSense, Joel teaches how to multiply your AdSense income at The AdSense Code. To ask Joel Comm a question about making money online, visit

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