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Social Media

How to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

By | Social Media | One Comment

We’ve seen it time and time again. You get a LinkedIn account just because you think you should have one. If you’re saying, “Yep, that’s me” (aloud or in your head or even in your secretest heart of hearts), then we wrote this just for you.

(If you didn’t say “Yep, that’s me” or some variant thereof, give yourself a pat on the back. Then read this anyway, ‘cuz you never know when you might learn something or find the opportunity to teach something).

For those of you are not making the most of your LinkedIn account, let’s just be clear: LinkedIn is a tremendously valuable professional network. That’s not in question.

The question is: Do you know how to use LinkedIn to its fullest potential?

Well, fortunately, it’s easy to do and it’s the same advice we give for every social network:

Be authentic, relevant and get engaged.

How to Optimize Your Profile

1. Complete Your Profile


First things first: make sure that your LinkedIn profile is one hundred percent complete. LinkedIn does a great job of tracking this and will let you know what is left to improve.

Take your time with this and do it right; share your work ethic, skills, education, and relevant job history. You can even sort the categories in your profile so that the ones that make you shine like a star are listed first (or at least above the fold).

2. Make Connections


Once your profile is 100% complete, search for people you already know professionally. Begin to make connections with the people in your industry, clients, potential business partners, industry leaders, etc. You can also connect with old professors, past employers, past co-workers, alumni, friends. (Although, remember that this a professional network so act accordingly with your friends; save the jokes, comics, sports talk, new Pinterest obsession for Facebook).

Once you’re in the habit, making connections on LinkedIn will be easy (and yes, even fun). Just like we’re always saying: it’s important to think of social media as face-to-face business development…online. Every time you meet someone in person (at a meeting, conference, speaking engagement, etc), look them up on LinkedIn. Get connected and follow them.

Also, we’re kind of picky about our connections and like to keep them relevant. In other words, if someone is looking to connect with you on LinkedIn (most likely just to increase their number of connections) and you don’t know them or aspire to, don’t friend them. No harm done.

3. Join Some Groups

When you’ve started to build up some connections, make a point of joining groups that look interesting or valuable. Many discussions occur on LinkedIn and being in a group is one of the best ways to build relationships. Some groups you’ll find worthwhile, others…not so much. You can always remove yourself from a group and explore another. If you feel like there’s a great gaping hole where a group should be…start it.

Keep in mind that self-promotion is the fastest way to becoming the loser of the group. You want to join the conversations within these groups when the opportunity presents itself (not just because you want to push your business card around). Using authenticity will help you to network with people beyond your local arena. You can gain a reputation as a thought leader in your industry via LinkedIn. LinkedIn recognizes those that contribute value to the discussion, whether you provoke a conversation or debate or answer a question. You could find yourself in the list of “ Top Influencers This Week”.

4. Get Some Recommendations

Another important, and quite possibly the most valuable aspect of LinkedIn is the recommendations people give one another. Don’t feel intimidated at the prospect. If you are good at what you do for a living, let others sing your praises. Make sure you also give recommendations only to those you truly vouch for.

Other Stuff LinkedIn is Good For

LinkedIn is a great networking tool, but it’s also enormously helpful when you are hiring or, contrariwise, when you are looking for a position. It’s good to point potential employers to your LinkedIn profile. People tend to treat all those lovely recommendations as references or referrals.

And Your Last Idea for Leveraging LinkedIn


Your LinkedIn information and reputation can be leveraged through other social networks or through your emails and email marketing. Place your LinkedIn profile on your email signature if you want people to know more about you professionally. Place your company’s LinkedIn profile in your email marketing if you want people to follow your company’s growth. Always think about how you can utilize and leverage through social tools.

And remember, 100% complete on your profile. That’s important.

S’why we said it twice.

Want to connect with us?

Mackenzie Fogelson, Owner: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mackenziefogelson
June Macon, Social Media Strategist: http://www.linkedin.com/in/junemacon
Natalie Touchberry, Design Ninja: http://www.linkedin.com/in/natalietouchberry
Courtney Brown, SEM Strategist: http://www.linkedin.com/in/cabrown4

Earning your Google Rankings: Not So Easy Anymore

By | Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

Back in the day (like, a whole year ago) it used to be that you could invest in some good SEO for your website and, with the right keywords, and a few links, you’d be attracting some pretty awesome targeted traffic. Thanks to Google (and we mean that in a good way), this is no longer accurate. Things have changed. A lot.

If you’re one of those people who want to know how to get your website on the first page of Google, you should read on…

Blame it all on a guy named Panda

In the early months of 2011, Google launched an algorithmic update that utterly and irrevocably altered the world of search. Even the practices that ethical search engine marketing companies (ahem. that’s us, by the way) were using were no longer enough.

In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

A engineer-type dude at Google named Navneet Panda engineered some updates to Google’s ranking algorithms. These changes drastically changed many of the rankings websites were accustomed to holding. For some this was very, very good. For many it was…not. The whole world proceeded to freak out. Mass panic in the streets, much headless-chicken behavior, etc.

The Panda update necessitated an evolution in the way we approach SEO and internet marketing. Here’s why:

Before the Panda update all you really needed for decent SEO was a fairly simple checklist:

  • build some good content
  • integrate some keywords that you researched
  • build some links to it
  • pat yourself on the back for a job well done

Problem was that a bunch of people, even big, otherwise reputable companies like JC Penney (where grandma buys her shoes! insert sob of betrayal, here), were trying to scam the system. People were generating a ton of mediocre content and farming for links to that content. And, however inadvertently, they were being rewarded in the engines for this shifty behavior with good rankings.

Google was on to them. Panda updates went live. Stuff happened.

It was the search equivalent of heavy artillery fire turned against hordes of rampaging scavengers. Carnage.

And now…

When the smoke cleared and the new world order was established, that checklist had gotten a lot less straightforward.

Suddenly Google (and where Google goes, the others soon follow) was a lot more sophisticated about how they parsed the content on your site. The ways they evaluated your trustworthiness and authority, your relevance and appeal had grown up and gained some discernment.

Their reasons were pretty clear: a search engine’s purpose in life is to provide searchers with the best online answers to the questions they ask.

When you ask a question to a human person, how do you evaluate the information you received? You look at the source: how likely are they to know the answer? Has anyone vouched for them? Do they strike you as knowledgeable and trustworthy? You also evaluate the answer: does it make sense? Is it articulate?

The Panda update was Google’s way of applying those very human and instinctual rules to its own search results.

Of course, because of the very nature of the internet as a ginormous computer program, they still had to find ways to do this electronically. And those clever enough and not overly burdened with scruples can always find ways around electronic measures meant to emulate human response.

But the simple (and fortunately moral) truth is…Google hires the very, very clever, too. And they’ve sent a very clear message: we are watching.

Creepy, I know.

But wait, there’s more…

The new reality of search

It’s fairly safe to assume that any further changes Google makes to its code will trend in the direction of ever more human ways of evaluating your information. What this means is that, in both the long- and short-term, the most sustainable way to conduct your SEO is to meet all the standards that actual people demand of those from whom they seek knowledge.

For example:

You’ve got to build a community around your brand. You’ve got to be a brand that people know, trust, and want to share.

Links still matter, but the quality of the links have become of even more important. You’ve got to be selective about who you are building relationships with (and stop thinking about it as building links).

Design & user experience, always a factor, is now a screaming necessity. User behavior is one of the ways Google is teaching its engines how to think like people. It is weighed and measured to determine if human people linger on your site or click away quickly. (Word to the wise…most people aren’t wild about a design cluttered with ads and this is one of the first things the humanized search engines seem to have learned).

Pages with low authority (no one links to them, poor content) can drag down the authority of your whole website. There’s no such thing as a throwaway page. Every page on your website needs to be valuable and worthy of being shared (or linked to) by others.

Content must be meaningful. Funny is good, but authentic and relevant are requisite. Be professional and engaging and put your personality into your content. Get the multimedia going: photos, maybe an info-graphic or two. Video if you can manage it. You want you site to have bits that people want to tweet, share, like.

And you really need to pay attention to your metrics. Not just how many unique visits you have on your site, but also: how long do they stay? how many pages do they view? do they share or like? are they talking about you out there in the wide world?

This is why you need web marketing

So, to recap, SEO now means more than just the keywords that you target on your website. You need to think about the bigger web marketing picture (which is brilliantly illustrated in this infographic if we do say so ourselves).

So what does this all mean to you?

What this comes down to is more time spent on generating valuable content and becoming the company you’ve always wanted to be…online. Because really what we’re saying is that if you do all of this and do it right (and Mack Web is behind you every step of the way), you will experience:

  • Higher domain authority (trust us, this is important)
  • Targeted traffic
  • Desired rankings
  • An amazing and supportive online community
  • More value in your company
  • More value for your customers
  • Better relationships with your customers
  • A clear-eyed view of your company identity and goals (this will change your company, believe us. we know)

If you want more information on how Mack Web Solutions can help your company succeed with web marketing, give us a shout. We’ve got some good stuff to show you.

 

 

Build Culture with Pinterest

By | Social Media | No Comments

First of all, if you haven’t heard of Pinterest…we’re really sorry. Seriously, you’re missing out. Pinterest is a virtual corkboard. You can show off cards, pictures, quotes, things you like. You can make them yourself, snag them off other websites, or recycle things other people have pinned.

It’s inspiring, it’s informative, it’s entirely visual, and, frequently, pretty dang funny.

You could say it’s addictive, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Pinning yourself, browsing other people’s pins…it’s a delightful way to see several hours disappear without your notice.

You could say it’s the online equivalent of hoarding, if you really wanted to.

What we at Mack Web Solutions say about Pinterest is that it’s the perfect way to share our personalities and a little bit of our culture.

How Mack Web Uses Pinterest

We’ve spent some time thinking about this and we’ve decided that one of the most important and fundamental principles of the way we do business is that we treat people like people. That means we treat our clients like human beings with lives and deadlines and frustrations and joys. And we treat each other like that, too.

To that end, building some kind of relationship with every client is vital to our sense of workplace satisfaction. Unfortunately, as a company in the web world, we have clients across the country. It’s difficult to develop rapport with them over the phone or email. We can do straight-up business that way, but there are a few things we want our clients to know about us that are best conveyed through some other medium.

Namely, that we know our stuff, that we work hard, that we have a passion for our work, and also that we’re people, too. We have names and faces and senses of humor…and we understand that you do too.

This is where Pinterest comes into play. Businesses are still sussing out how to use Pinterest for promotional purposes, but for us, it’s about sharing our culture with you.

All of our team members have personal boards on our Pinterest site where they can pin things that show their personality and interests. We’re all pretty different in the particulars, but a quick glance shows that we have the broad strokes in common: we’re creative and clever and we’ve clearly got a handle on this web/social media/being awesome thing.

We also have a company board to focus on our branding. The theme of the hour (and month and, y’know, decade) is growth, so we’ve got a board where we can pin things relating to that: ideas, images, inspirations…other things that start with the letter ‘i’.

And since we also a) offer a web design service and b) spend a lot of time online, we tend to focus on websites that we personally like. We’ve got a board for that too.

We fully anticipate that the list of boards will grow with new ideas and concepts.

A Shout out to Authenticity (not self-promotion)

So this is the balance we’ve found with Pinterest. We are Mackcentric with our Pinterest, but not in a way that is blatantly self-promotional and runs contrary to the heart of the Pinterest concept. We aren’t selling our souls…we’re sharing our souls.

Cheesy? Maybe. But no less true for all that.

Even though Pinterest has been around for a while, businesses are just getting started on this particular platform. If you’re thinking about using it, we recommend a few simple preliminary steps:

  1. Think about your purpose: why would you would create a board? what purpose will it serve?
  2. Think about what you will pin and share: what topics do you want to cover? what type of media (doesn’t have to be just images; can be video too)?
  3. Think about how you will contribute to the Pinterest community: what do you hope people will gain from seeing your board? how will they respond to what you’ve aggregated?

If you’ve taken all those things into consideration, well then…Pin on, MacDuff.

And hey, we’d love to see what you pin so make sure to let us know you’re on board (Hee hee. Bad puns RULE!).

Tick. Tock.

By | Social Media | No Comments

The countdown has begun.

For 800 million Facebook users, myself included, the end is near.

(Not to be confused with our other countdown…)

The Timeline Approacheth.

Whether this is the first time you’ve heard of it, whether you’ve already jumped in with both feet, or whether you’ve been putting it off with a sense of impending doom, change is a-comin’.

Prepare yourselves.

Fortunately, Facebook is giving you a chance to do just that. Once you decide to convert (or even if you don’t decide and let the mandatory switch roll over you as inevitably as the tide), you have 7 days to review your new Timeline before it goes live. This gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with your page before you have to fumble around in real time.

The Scoop:

So here’s a rundown on what’s changing (dun dun duuuun):

Your news feed (the first page you see when you sign in with the listing of everything your friends have been posting) is…hardly changing at all.

I know, right? Huge sigh of relief. It will have some additional functionality, but the interface is not going to be a wilderness of confusion.

No, no. We reserve that honor for….

Your Page!

Okay, when you first see it, I want you to take a deep breath in and then let it out. Repeat after me: It’s going to be okay.

Because, honestly, folks, it is going to be okay. With the exception of the Cover (discussed later…kinda), this is pretty much all the same information that has always been available. It just looks a little different now.

Apart from the layout shift, the biggest change is the way your information is organized. Now you can find all the info Facebook knows about you sequentially. It’s all arranged through the handy-dandy, easy to use…Timeline.

I know. So literal, Facebook.

The vertical timeline is surprisingly unobtrusive on your page. Just a vertical listing of dates going back to your birth off to the right on your page. Click on a year and it shows you the events, posts, pictures from that year.

Not so bad, eh?

There are, of course, more changes than this, but I’m going to let you explore those for yourself.

‘Cuz we best remember what we teach ourselves.

What does it all mean?

This doesn’t really change all that much in your world. Yeah, sure, it’s a little easier for people to find those embarrassing college photos… but it’s probably time to grow up. Facebook is maturing and so should we.

And, as always, you can remove anything you post from your Timeline or choose who can see it.

All of these changes are actually a good thing. Not just because stagnation is death (though it is, and I don’t want you to die), but because Facebook has added some pretty cool new features:
-Posts are easy to read
-The new layout is clean and interesting
-More opportunities to customize your information
-Your profile now actually is…a profile. Of YOU. It shows who you are, not just by who your friends are, but from your photos, posts, likes, and affiliations.

Facebook has also expanded its interactivity with the other things you like. If you’ve joined the Pinterest craze, for example, you can easily share what you’ve pinned through Facebook.

Now, keep in mind, all of these new application options also give you the capability to be approximately a million-and-three times more annoying. Because you now have even more sources to glut the monster that is your news feed.

Or, more to the point, your friends’ news feeds.

Keep that in mind as you allow third party applications to post on your Timeline. You don’t want to be that guy, do you?

Some closing thoughts…of the deep and insightful kind, naturally

Okay, quick note: Facebook Timeline is not currently available to your business pages. There is no word on when that’s coming. So if the Timeline becomes overwhelming, you can retreat to the familiarity of your favorite businesses.

May we suggest…Mack Web Solutions? (hint, hint. Really. You should like us. We’re just that cool).

Secondly, here’s a little list of things to be mindful of as you make the adjustment:

  1. Upload an awesome Cover. Your page now prominently features a large area in which you can upload a horizontal photo, image, quote…anything your heart and imagination can desire… so long as it fits the dimensions of course.
  2. It’s always best practice to use a photo of yourself as the profile picture. Otherwise, people might think you’re a creeper posing as you. That doesn’t sound like it leads to good things, now does it?
  3. Your ability to organize your photos is now unprecedentedly broad. Do it. Share ‘em. A picture is worth a thousand words and all that jazz.
  4. Resize posts that carry importance. There is a little star on each post that lets you enlarge it so the post stands out on the timeline. This can be a quote, photo, video, status, anything. Let people know what really matters to you. What’s Facebook for, if not that?
  5. Take advantage of Facebook Places. It’s pretty neat to look on the map and see all the places where you’ve spent time. (And no…Facebook is not just following you around with a map and a pencil. It’s based on your own shared information. They have not hired a flock of private eyes to skulk around in the bushes behind you, wearing trenchcoats and fedoras).
  6. Be aware of who/what you like. This is something everyone who views your Facebook Timeline can see easily. If you don’t want everyone to know that you secretly watch America’s Next Top Model and listen to The Spice Girls…don’t post that in your likes.
  7. Choose your friends wisely. Each month shows what new friends you have acquired in a pretty little box.

So…thus far, 242 people we know have signed up for the timeline. Who’s next?

And if you still have questions… check out this link to watch the awesome presentation Facebook made: https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline.

If you have questions after that…well, good luck.

Just kidding. Let us know. We can look into it and get back to you. Also, if there’s anything we’ve missed, let us know that, too.

 

Please join Mack Web in welcoming our new Social Media Strategist

By | Miscellany, Social Media | No Comments

All of us here at Mack Web Solutions would like to welcome our new Social Media Strategist into this world of search engine marketing and web design. June Macon is the newest edition to our roster of innovative employees.

Ms. Macon is experienced in public relations, marketing and social media and enhances the creativity, reliability and professionalism Mack Web Solutions currently provides for clients. Macon, with her expertise in social media and ability to identify the wants and needs of a company’s audience, will focus on social strategy and social engagement.

Prior to joining Mack Web Solutions, Macon held the position of Director of Public Relations, Professional Relationships and Events at a local company with a focus in education. She also consulted with companies in the education, health and real estate fields, providing web writing, social media management, social media strategies, social media campaigns and services in public relations. Macon holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.

“In today’s web-driven world, it is imperative for businesses to establish an online presence,” says owner Mackenzie Fogelson. “We’ve found an approach and process that really works, giving our clients the web exposure they want and need. Bringing June onto the team expands our expertise and opens new avenues to generating great results for our clients.”

If your company would like a free consultation to learn how Mack Web Solutions can improve your search engine marketing and increase engagement in your current social media efforts or you are interested in learning more about what Mack Web Solutions can do for your company, contact info@mackwebsolutions.com.

About Mack Web Solutions:

Mack Web Solutions specializes in custom website design and development, search engine marketing, email marketing, social media, public relations and navigation development. For more information or to look at Mack Web’s portfolio please visit www.mackwebsolutions.com.

Top Trends for Small and Medium Businesses Validated by Google

By | Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

In the world of search engine marketing (a.k.a SEO, search engine rankings, getting good rankings in Google) Matt Cutts is a household name. In case you don’t know Matt, he’s the current head of Google’s Webspam team. In the Mack Web household, when Matt talks, you listen.

Just recently Matt validated a few specific areas that he feels small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) should be spending their time on:

The Mobile Market

You’re probably aware that most people use their phone more than they use their desktops. Matt reminds us how important it is that your website is well designed, easy to navigate, and that it loads quickly on mobile devices. A majority of the time people are going to be searching for your company from their phone. Make sure they can get to what they need quickly and easily.

The Social Realm

Social media, social media, blah, blah, blah. People talk about social media so much that it is easy to tune it out and ignore its magnitude. Getting your business involved in social media is a smart move for any business, and especially for businesses who require foot traffic. Whether you like it or not, social media is the way most people prefer to communicate, share information, and build relationships. I sound like a broken record when I tell clients that Facebook and Twitter may not be a direct match for every business out there, but that doesn’t mean that you have to count out social media altogether. There are some easy ways to get involved with social media, and there are many social media tools that can be used to build your reputation and establish your authentic, quality online presence.

Matt is really excited about Google making the web a better place, and they are going to use social signals to do it. More and more we see indicators in our clients’ metrics that point to higher rankings based on social media involvement. If you haven’t already started, get your business in the social realm.

Get Your Local Search On

Matt wants small business owners to know that Google is stressing SMBs as an area of priority. Getting your local online presence established is very important. Make sure to focus your efforts on a local search campaign to make it easier for people to find your business online…especially if you require physical traffic.

All of these areas: mobile, social, and local, work together to assist your company in gaining more exposure and reach your targeted customers. In order to make Google your pal, your SEO, link building and social media strategies must work together to provide value to your customers and to the search engines.


5 Social Media Tips

By | Social Media | One Comment

Getting into the world of social media marketing can be somewhat panic-inducing. In a virtual environment like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and so many more, knowing how to best utilize the available tools is difficult to sort out.

Fortunately, once you adjust to the pace and culture of the social networking universe, doing business there falls pretty much along the same principles as doing business out here in the real world. It just takes some getting used to (and some consistent effort).

What we’ve compiled for you here are the five basic laws of marketing through social media. They should look pretty familiar: offer value, be a person among people, be both generous and reciprocal, make the most of what you have, and pay attention to what you’re doing, adapting where necessary. All we’ve done is provide ideas on the best ways of implementing these practices in the social media sphere.

Not so scary, huh?

  1. Put some thought into your content


    Even though social media appears to be posting spur of the moment thoughts and ideas, it’s still important to put some effort into your content. Your content has to be good enough for people to want to pass it along (“share” it on Facebook, “retweet” it on Twitter).

    Try different approaches to the delivery of your content. In addition to an article, post a video with a transcript of the dialogue in the video and then leverage that video on your website and on YouTube. When tweeting an article or blog post, try placing the link to your content in the middle of your post vs. at the end and see if that gets you more click throughs.

    Whatever you do, make your efforts consistent. Experiment with the frequency of your posts and determine what gives you the best results (time of day, day of week). At the end of the day, your success in social media all rests upon the value that you are providing in your content. If you continue to provide quality information and materials, people will come back and tell their friends to do the same.

  2. Cultivate relationships

    In order to make an impact and spread your reach through social media, you have to provide something of value and have some followers (your mom and sister don’t count). In order to develop a network of good followers, start following the people that you respect and aspire to be. Read their blogs, follow them on Twitter, read their updates on LinkedIn, pick up their habits and ideas. When you get comfortable, start getting involved in your online community by commenting on their blog posts and getting the conversation started.Then make sure you’re on top of your game so that when these people visit your website or blog, they will be impressed and want to follow you and learn more about what you do. Where possible, get some of your friends in higher places to give you a leg up with a mention, share, or re-tweet. This can help to spread your network a bit faster than entirely on your own.

    And, don’t forget that your social media profile is very important because it’s your one shot to let people know who you are and what you do. Don’t miss opportunities by leaving blank fields in your profile information (i.e. LinkedIn). Make sure your information is consistent across all of your accounts so that people feel comfortable with who they see (they start seeing the same photo, similar info about who you are, they are clear on what you do, etc).

  3. Spread some link juice

    In case you didn’t know, the reason why you want people to “share” and re-tweet” your posts is because acquiring inbound links from quality individuals and websites is one of the largest contributing factors to desired search engine rankings.So, work on being a reciprocator of link juice.

    When posting content on your website or blog, mention (link to) a useful article, video or person to follow. When someone does the same for you, thank them publicly through a comment on their blog post or wherever appropriate. This is just another beneficial way of getting involved in your online community and cultivating relationships.

  4. Leverage, leverage, leverage


    Although Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ are the big ones, there are several other social media websites that could be a great fit for your goals. Whichever sites you choose to use however, don’t forget to leverage (less effort, more exposure).

    Of course you can use tools that automate the posting of your content to Facebook and Twitter, but we like to be specific about our message and delivery when addressing our different social media audiences. 

Here’s an example of how we here at Mack Web Solutions leverage our content:

    1. Mack Web Blog

      After we finish writing an article, we first post it on our blog (and in the article we make sure that we are linking to other useful websites and articles where appropriate).

    2. LinkedIn

      We have a Linked In User Group (Search Engine Rankings | Mack Web Solutions), so we usually start there first. We like to think about who is in that audience and anything specific that we might want to post there. We post a teaser of the article and link directly to our blog.

    3. Facebook

      Facebook is an entirely different audience, so we re-purpose our message in our teaser before providing the link back to our blog. It’s ideal to mention one of your audience members directly or ask a question to spark a conversation.

    4. Twitter

      Twitter is next. Once we tweet the blog post (with a very SHORT teaser; many times just the subject line) we usually see on Google Alerts within a few hours that the engines have already crawled (we have experienced a longer delay when we do not tweet the article).

    5. eBlast

      Lastly, we use email marketing to connect with our existing client base. We send a teaser of the article along with some of the projects that we have been working on. Each eblast provides links to all of our previous posts. We usually get more click throughs on previous articles than we do on the feature article (which tells us that our content is still very valuable).

    6. Watch what you’re doing


      None of your efforts are worth anything if you can’t track them, measure them, and make some changes based on the information that you are receiving.

With Facebook’s new Insights feature, you can actually see what your efforts are doing (after installing some code on your website to track your business/group page).Similarly, there are other apps that can help to report on the social media efforts that you are making like Hootsuite. 

Ultimately, if you have the budget, work with a social media strategist like Mack Web Solutions so that you have someone looking at your campaign and providing expert knowledge based on a global perspective.

So, there you have it. The foundation for successful social media marketing. For more on this topic, you should really check out Jeff Bulla’s article. He’s got some great ideas and a more specific step-by-step guide for some of the social media platforms.

Copyblogger also does a great job and has an article worth the read on effective social media as well (plus their articles always make me laugh).

So now, you have no excuse. Get out there and give it a whirl and then let us know what questions you have. We’re happy to help.

Facebook upgrades business opportunities with “People Talking About This” feature

By | Social Media | No Comments

With the upcoming launch of the “People Talking About This” and related features,  Facebook is continuing to push past the purely social aspects to allow for more business use. Within the next month Facebook will roll out a number of features that will enhance branding opportunities, allow businesses to reach a larger base of potential clients, and to better track their ROI.

These new releases prove that “shares” trump “likes” and that if you’d like to reap the benefits of the full power of the social network, start encouraging your people to “share” your page (and do the same for others, of course).

Read more about these releases here: http://searchengineland.com/facebook-launches-people-talking-about-this-metric-premium-ad-unit-more-95342

It’s not about you: Social Media, Self-Promotion and your Rankings

By | Social Media, Web Marketing | One Comment

There is no denying that social media has become a major contributor in determining a website’s placement in organic search results. In the midst of the social media craze, however, there seem to be some misconceptions about the role that social media plays in organic rankings.

Setting the Record Straight

Getting ahead in search results using social media is not about self-promotion, it is about providing value.  Social media is a tool for connecting people, cultivating relationships and providing a platform for conversation and sharing of information.

Google’s investment in social media lies in the information that is being shared; relying on the conversation to determine which websites stand as quality, relevant results.

 It’s great to have a presence on both Facebook and Twitter, but it takes more than a Facebook and Twitter account to improve your website’s rankings. Hopefully these points will help to set the record straight about how social media can influence your rankings:

  1. Simply having a Facebook and Twitter account doesn’t improve your rankings
    If a Facebook and Twitter account is going to provide an opportunity for you to deliver value to your customers, then by all means, get one. In order to get the most benefit in your rankings however, you’ll need to invest some time providing valuable content and resources on a regular basis.  This encourages followers; people who value what you have to say and want to pass it on to their friends.
  2. Self-promotion vs. other websites promoting your website
    Talking about yourself doesn’t help your rankings. But, other people talking about your website does. Google doesn’t look for how many times you have Facebooked or Tweeted your company’s name, how many posts you have on your wall, or how many tweets you send each day. Instead, Google wants to know:>How many people have shared your website URL on Facebook
    >How many re-tweets your articles receive (because that is an indication of valuable content)Self-promotion doesn’t provide any value to your customers or to Google. Look for ways to provide value through quality content and your digital footprint will naturally spread. Yes, it is true that Facebook and Twitter (more emphasis on Facebook) can positively influence your website’s rankings in Google, but there is a big difference between self-promotion and authentic, relevant conversations from outside sources.
  3. Facebook Sharing & Liking
    You’ve seen this button before:
    Here’s the deal with sharing and liking:

    >Shares beat likes. When someone shares your URL (website address) on Facebook, that carries more weight than a “like.” >Ultimately, a share means that you are likely to earn inbound links which helps your rankings.
    >When used on your website (outside of Facebook), likes don’t need to be on every page of your website. Place these icons on pages that have the most valuable content (skip your CONTACT and ABOUT pages).

Where to Focus Your Efforts

  1. Content is still king
    Providing your customers with something of value (through content, images, video, resources, etc) is what encourages conversation about your website. Without this value, there is nothing for people to talk about on Facebook or Twitter. So, get working on some content and get it on your website or blog.
  2. Become a part of the conversation
    Get involved with your customers (existing and potential) online. Seek out the reputable blogs and forums in your industry. Look for places where potential customers may seek information or a review about your product or service. But again, don’t just self-promote. Introduce yourself into the community with the goal of providing value (credible information). If the opportunity presents itself, introduce your company slowly and only after you have established yourself as a credible source through your interactions and contributions to the community.
  3. Invest
    Looking to get the most out of your efforts online? Share your content. Invest your efforts into the following:>Content: articles, white papers, news, video, audio, info-graphics, etc.
    >SEO
    >Email Marketing
    >Blogs
    >Forums
    >Webinars

Think of how you can provide value and then leverage those efforts through every reputable avenue online. Your efforts will pay off. And remember, it’s not about you.

 

Links from Facebook and Twitter can help your Search Engine Rankings

By | Social Media, Web Marketing | No Comments

You’ve heard this one before:

Quality, relevant links that point to your website can help your search engine rankings.

This one’s new:

Links shared on Facebook and Twitter can help your search engine rankings.

So, in addition to cultivating quality, relevant inbound links you can now count on Facebook and Twitter to give your rankings a boost. How?

Take this example:

You go to Google.
You search for a Pizza Place.
Google wants to provide you with a list of results that include the very best Pizza Places available. But how does Google know what the best pizza place is?

Enter Facebook and Twitter.

In order to determine the Pizza Places that Google could return on that Pizza Places results list, Google takes into account:

  1. What Pizza Places have been mentioned (Google checks among many other factors, Facebook and Twitter)
  2. Who has talked about those Pizza Places? (see [1] Author Quality)
  3. How many different people have talked about those Pizza Places? (see [2] Diversity)
  4. How often have people talked about those Pizza Places? (see [3] Popularity)
  5. How long people have been talking about those Pizza Places (see [4] Age)

When returning results, Google takes into account links shared on Twitter and Facebook and considers:

[1] Author Quality
Quality vs. quantity applies here too. A link carries more weight depending on the credibility of the author of the Facebook post or tweet. The credibility of the author is based upon:

How many people the author follows
How many people follow the author

Certainly Google will be spending a lot of time sorting out the inauthentic accounts and detecting spam. Bottom line: if the people who follow you and who you follow are quality people, those links are likely to be valued higher.

In addition to credibility of the author, Google will most likely be taking engagement activity into account when evaluating the source of a link. In other words, if the person facebooking or tweeting has 100 friends or followers and they don’t engage with each other very often, that link won’t hold as much weight. If the person is engaging in activity with the majority of their followers on a regular basis, they will have more clout.

[2] Diversity
If 25 different people tweet about your company, this carries more weight than if 1 person tweets about your company 25 different times.

[3] Popularity
How many people “shared” or “liked” the website or content may affect how much value Google places on the link.

[4] Age
It’s possible that “older” websites or content that is “shared” or tweeted may hold more weight than newer content. The reason for this is that older content that is continually shared tells Google that it is still valuable which may trump newer, less seasoned content.

As always, think of your users first and the engines second. Participate in your online community by providing valuable content and resources and your rankings will benefit.