Many businesses are excited to share ideas and start conversations on social media—and they should be. It isn’t always easy to get people to really connect with your accounts and participate in your discussions, so you want to do what you can to be impressive and earn some engagement. Unfortunately, sometimes sharing all of your ideas on social networks can backfire, and most small businesses aren’t prepared.
Getting your readers interested in an idea or a great contest is never a bad thing, but you want to take precautions to make sure that someone out there isn’t stealing your idea. Most businesses have heard of “intellectual property,” but now the term is being brought into the social media world.
What is Intellectual Property and How Does It Work With Social Media?
For those who are unfamiliar, intellectual property is and idea that you own when it is published or printed (so on social media). Even though you may not have a patent or official documentation, it is your intellectual property. When things go wrong, someone steals you’re idea, he/she gets the credit, and you get to watch someone else get rich. Someone stealing a company’s intellectual property can usually just go right over to a Facebook page or LinkedIn account, check it out as if he/she was just a normal reader, steal a few ideas, and leave. It’s as simple as that.
Fortunately, there are measures that small businesses can take to protect what is said on their social accounts. A few of these precautions include:
- Google Alerts: Set up Google Alerts to track certain key terms or your company name. This will help you see when these things pop up online.
- Trademark: Before you set up your social media accounts, make sure that your company has a trademark to help protect the name. If you have any strong ideas that you want patented, do this before posting on social accounts.
- Scheduling Tools: Consider using social scheduling tools (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, etc.) to track your company name and keywords. This focuses on social media as opposed to the web like Google Alerts.
It is also worth mentioning that it isn’t always a good idea to take action when it comes to intellectual property. If you think someone has stolen an idea, talk with that person to determine if it was unintentional. In most cases, the person will remove whatever is bothering you. It’s also not a good idea to take action if you’re benefitting from someone trying to use your company name—it’s only when your business is in jeopardy that you should take the next step.
What to Do When You Want to Take Action about an Intellectual Property Issue
Taking action involves some research. First, you will want to read up on the “terms of service” of the social network account where you think the intellectual property issue occurred. These pages usually help you see what steps you can take. Next, file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to hopefully block the website that has stolen your idea from Google. Lastly, you’ll want to talk with a legal professional to determine the final process.
While it may seem easy, this is a new issue. Many small businesses simply don’t even realize this is a problem until it’s too late. People have been dealing with intellectual property issues for many years, but the issue with regards to social media is new. The sooner your company gets prepared, the better.
Has your company ever been a victim in a similar situation? Is this something that concerns you when you think about your business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: michiganbusinesslawcenter.com
When something goes wrong in a business, there is expected panic. You know that you have a lot of work ahead of you to fix the problem and you know that some aspects of your business might suffer. However, not many businesses have to worry about their entire business just disappearing with no solution in sight. Unfortunately, many blogs and other websites operate entirely online. The website is the business, and if the website is down the entire business is down for a certain period of time. In many cases, working with an IT team can solve the problem, but when your hosting service is out of commission you are on their good graces.
Although this may not be a common problem, it can happen, and it did. Just a few days ago one of the largest web hosting companies and the largest domain registrar GoDaddy went down. This left many asking the panic-stricken question: What do I do now?
How The GoDaddy Mishap Affected Customers
For those of you who didn’t hear, GoDaddy had a company outage that left millions of sites in the dark on Monday, September 10. The problem occurred for not only those who have their sites hosted by GoDaddy, but also the sites that have their domain registered by GoDaddy (even if they are hosted by another party). The GoDaddy phone service was also down, and it seemed Twitter was the easiest way for people to communicate about this issue.
The real excitement, however, seemed to lie in the story of why GoDaddy went dark in the first place. The company not only had to deal with angry customers and Twitter groups sprouting up complaining about the outage, but they had to deal with a little bit of controversy as to how such an outage could occur.
The Story: Why GoDaddy Went Dark
According to several sources, someone by the name of Anonymous Own3r actually admitted to attacking the company and causing all of this uproar. It was not a collective attack, but rather an individual who claimed in a tweet that he or she is taking GoDaddy down because:
Now that the company is back up and running, they claim that the problem was not the result of an attack. According to TechCrunch, GoDaddy claimed that the problem was “a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.” Interim CEO Scott Wagner explained that no customer data was harmed and there is now a system in place to make sure this never happens again.
The Future of GoDaddy: Are Webmasters Forgiving?
In the end, whether there was an internal issue or someone really did attack the company does not really matter. What matters is the fact that many websites were left in the dark and there was nothing that webmasters could do about it. It’s important to trust your hosting company for this exact reasons, so will this affect GoDaddy?
In my opinion, yes it absolutely will. Should companies be transferring away from GoDaddy? Although the problem likely won’t happen again, transferring over and registering your domain name somewhere else might not be a bad idea. Believe it or not, it’s not even all that difficult to do! Below are some of the steps to make it happen:
- Go to “domain management” and login to your account.
- Find the lock icon and click; then unlock the domain.
- Just simply uncheck the box next to “lock domains” and hit enter.
- Click on the domain name you want to move and click on “domain details.”
- Find the “authorization code: send by email” button and click. Check your email for an authorization code and give it to your new registrar.
If you are concerned about your web host, there are a variety of different options for you. You can visit Mashable to check out five great alternatives.
Is the GoDaddy drama going to steer you away from the company? What did you find to be the biggest problem? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Photo Credit: twitter.com
It is no surprise that Infographics are quickly becoming one of the most popular ways for a website to display information. It can sometimes be tough to find readers patient enough to understand a very confusing topic, and it can be even more difficult to capture a reader’s attention—especially when the subject matter is dry or boring. This is where infographics come perfectly into play. According to researchers, about 87% of people who saw an infographic read the accompanying text while only 41% read the text of a traditional page of content.
In terms of SEO, infographic links have always been given the same weight as links found in an article. And why shouldn’t they be? After all, infographics also use information that needs to be cited, and they serve a very similar purpose as traditional articles. So what’s the problem with these links in relation to SEO? The problem is that Google isn’t sure if holding these links to the same standard as other backlinks is the best idea.
What Cutts Is Saying about Infographic Links
In an interview with Eric Enge and SMX Advanced, Cutts explained that Google is thinking about discounting links that come from infographics. This threw everyone for a loop because many companies are just now beginning to ramp up their infographic tactics. Cutts didn’t say that Google is doing this now, but he had a few reasons that suggest it’s something Google will likely consider for the future:
- Fact checking is often poor when it comes to infographics.
- People don’t always know what they are linking to when they republish an infographic. They might not mean to endorse that link; they might just like the way the infographic looks.
- Links are often embedded into infographics in a way that people don’t even notice. In other words, even if someone were to look at the links before republishing, they might miss it completely.
Once the facts are laid out, many experts agree that it was only a matter of time before something like this was coming. People have slowing been beginning to create spammy infographics and distributing them all across the web. Something has to be done in relation to SEO.
Are Infographics Still Worth Your Time?
Now for the real question: Are infographics still worth it for webmasters? Most industry leaders agree that infographics are still worthwhile; however it’s probably not best to put your entire SEO strategy on infographics alone. Try to use a variety of SEO tactics and be careful about the links you use in your infographics.
Infographics are still eye catching and can still express information clearly, just make sure that your information is correct. You can learn more about how to create a successful infographic here as well as some of the elements that go into a successful infographic.
Do you think Matt Cutts and Google are on the right track as they consider discounting infographic links? Will this deter you from producing infographics? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Photo Credit: psfk.com
Facebook truly seems to be the network that likes to compete. First the takeover of MySpace, then the Twitter-like change to the homepage, then the purchase of Instagram to compete with Pinterest, and now BranchOut—LinkedIn’s new nemesis. This professional networking platform was actually launched in July, 2010 and has quietly been gaining speed ever since. Today, BranchOut has 25 million users with a rate of 3 new users per second. Although this number sounds great, I could help but think to myself: But LinkedIn still has 131,200,000 users, so what’s all the buzz about?
As it turns out, the answer is quite clear: It took LinkedIn 65 months to reach the level that BranchOut has now achieved in a mere 16 months.
How BranchOut Works and How to Get Started
Although people were reluctant to connect professional matters with the very personal matters of Facebook, BranchOut only shows education and work history. You can also connect with someone on BranchOut without becoming Facebook friends, which adds an extra level of privacy for the skeptic. You can get started with BranchOut by either accepting an invitation from another BranchOut user, or typing BranchOut.com into the Facebook search box. Once the app is installed, it will prompt you to grow your BranchOut network. Below is an example of when I was asked to include my friends in my new BranchOut network:
Once you click “include them,” your friends will get a request asking if they would like to join your community. Getting started is as easy as that. You are then brought to your profile page where you can import a resume, look through all of your connections and search for new connections, and check out your endorsements. Below is a screenshot of my profile page:
My profile is fairly empty right now, but the idea is there. You can see that I still need to improve my resume and flesh out my work history. However, Facebook took my work history information from my profile and went ahead and added it to my BranchOut profile. This makes creating a profile very easy and quick for those who have a fairly detailed Facebook account.
You will also notice that there is a tab at the top of the screen titled “jobs.” This is where I can go and type in a job that I’m looking to find. Below is an example of a search I did for the job “social media manager” that turned up three results:
If you were to continue scrolling down the page, you would see that you could filter results based on your experience, a specific industry, and whether or not you’re looking for full time, part, time, internship, etc. Although I am a new user, I can already tell that this application is intuitive and easy to use (which is something I can’t say about all the features of Facebook).
The Benefits for BranchOut vs. LinkedIn
Having a presence on both social networks will help you expand our circles to the fullest. Certain employers may use one over the other, so a candidate will want to be prepared on both platforms in order to find the maximum number of relevant job listings. As long as you can stay active and can maintain both profiles, employers will be happy to see that you are social media fluent.
Saying that BranchOut is better than LinkedIn would be incorrect, but there are a few things that make BranchOut different and a few extra benefits that the application can offer:
- Facebook is larger. Most people sign up for a LinkedIn account and have to try and sync it up with an email address to find connections. With Facebook, you can find a huge pool of connections with the click of one button.
- The connections are broader. The connections you will make on BranchOut are much broader than those you would make on LinkedIn. Many of your friends may not be on LinkedIn, but chances are they are on Facebook. This helps make your connections more personal.
- It’s easy to get started for those intimidated by LinkedIn. Young graduates are more likely to get started with BranchOut over LinkedIn because they already have a Facebook account. For this reason, there is a good chance BranchOut will be the next big thing.
In terms of features, both sites are very similar—search functionality for jobs, filters, finding connections, promoting content, etc.—so I believe it is really a matter of preference. If you have a large following on Facebook, BranchOut is worth setting up. If Facebook was never really your network of choice, sticking with LinkedIn only is still a great way to grow your personal brand. As long as you can make at least one work, you’ll be in a good position when it comes time to find a job.
Are you active on BranchOut? What have been your experiences? Let us know in the comments!
Photo Credit: recruiter.com
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to employment background checks. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including recruitment to small businesses and entrepreneurs for a lead generation website, Resource Nation.
The SEO world is always Google this and Google that, but many websites find that focusing on different search engines is actually more worthwhile. Although Google is quite obviously the most popular search engine and YouTube comes in second, the third place holder, Bing, is not to be ignored. With the recent privacy changes Google made, more and more people are beginning to make the switch. There are varying numbers available and traffic to a website completely depends on the website, but Mashable reported in 2011 that Microsoft’s Bing controls 30% of the U.S. search market. Bing is less competitive, so for some small businesses this search engine is just enough.
If learning more about Bing keyword research is something you’ve been considering, now is the perfect time to dive into the deep end. Bing recently announced that their Webmaster Tools is launching an organic research tool that can offer up to six months of historical data. All the data that will be gathered from this keyword research tool will be focused on SEO, not PPC, and there is no rounding or averaging when it comes to results.
How the Bing Keyword Research Tool Works
If you are familiar with the Google’s keyword research tool, you will find that Bing has many similarities. Below is a step by step guide to help you get started:
Step #1: Sign up for a Windows Live ID
The first thing you need to do is sign up for a Windows Live ID. If you have strictly been using Google for all things SEO, you likely do not have an ID for Bing. Fortuantely, signing up is very easy. Visit the sign up page and then you’re ready to get started. It will then ask you if you have an email address, in which case you just type in whatever address you want to use for your Windows Live ID account. You will then be prompted to fill in information including a password and a security question.
You will then have to verify your email address, and then you will have the option of reading the terms and agreements. If you accept, you simply type out your email address and hit accept. Signing up is as easy as that!
Step #2: Type in your keyword and select the country and/or language you want to be part of your results.
You will have the option to choose the country and the language that you want to be included in your results. You then type in the keyword and will get information that looks like this:
As you can see the interface is clear and quite similar to Google. Many businesses find that the option to choose the country and the language helps provide more meaningful results, and clicking the “history” button will show someone the last 25 search queries performed and give the option of generating them once again.
Step #3: Consider using the “Strict” button for filtered results.
Bing gives you the option of filtering results that are specific to that exact phrase. If this is something you’re interested in, you must click the “strict” button shown above. For example, if I searched for credit card processing without checking the strict button (like I did above), then I am going to get the total query volume number that includes all of the phrases containing the words credit card processing.
Step #4: Hover over the results to see what your average bid and resulting CEPC would have to be if you were going to advertise.
On the left hand side of the screen, Bing provides users with a little box on the left hand side of the screen that changes as you hover over each keyword result. This will tell you how much you would need to bid and what your CPC would have to be if you wanted to advertise for that keyword. Below is a screenshot of this little box when my cursor is hovering over square credit card processing:
This tool uses the terms MainLine to discuss the ads that appear above the organic results and SideBar to talk about an ad that appears on the right side of the results.
The biggest problem with Bing’s keyword research tool is the idea that you can only search one phrase at a time. This isn’t a huge problem for very small companies, but this has many larger corporations frustrated. However, finding a way to make this tool work and help your content rank well on Bing could potentially become important in the near future.
Photo Credit: thelinkbuildingnews.com