This is a guest post from Sandipan Mukherjee. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Social media has become a necessary part of any kind of online marketing efforts. While there are many success stories of people using social media for personal and business reasons, there are also plenty of people who may feel their efforts are not paying off.
So are you feeling the same? Have you taken the time to create great content, but feel like you’re not getting the recognition you deserve? Here are some of the most common mistakes you must avoid when targeting social media for your traffic.
NOT ENGAGING WITH FOLLOWERS
Do you have conversations with your followers? Do you reply when they comment on your Facebook page or @reply to you on Twitter? If you don’t, then you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to build goodwill. The best professional and corporate social media users engage with their followers. They answer questions from their followers. They ask questions to their fans. Yes, it takes more time to have a two-way exchange online, but it also creates much bigger rewards. Take the time to reply to your followers and let them know you’re listening.
USING SAME STRATEGY
Facebook is not MySpace. Twitter is not LinkedIn. And they’re all different from Google+. Every social networking site is different and you need to create a different strategy for each site you decide to engage in. Trying to run a one-size-fits-all approach will limit your ability to be successful anywhere.
HAVE NO SOCIAL MEDIA PLAN
Research and planning is just as important on Social Media websites as it is in any other form of marketing and advertising. Every community is different and won’t respond in the same manner. Every successful campaign needs to have a set of goals. You should always do some research if you need to achieve these goals. Ask yourself what do you want to achieve with your social media content? Are you able to identify what type of impact you want to have?
It is inevitable that you will get negative comments as well as positive ones. Do not make the mistake of ignoring or dismissing your visitor’s criticisms. Sure, sometimes it’s frustrating to read negative feedback about your site – but criticism can also be beneficial. Obviously, not all things can be changed, or need to be changed, but try to respond politely to any criticism. There is no way to please everyone, but be diplomatic. Nothing damages your brand and website more than ignoring criticism or fighting fire with fire.
MISLEADING IMAGES, HEADLINES AND TAGS
Coming up with a great headline and intro are important for written content, but make sure your headline isn’t misleading. If your headline has no relation to your content then your visitors won’t stick around for very long. Similarly, don’t use misleading tags or images. You might get some initial clicks, but most people won’t ever come back to your site if it appears that you deliberately tried to deceive them.
TARGET ONLY ONE SOCIAL NETWORK
With so many social networks covering almost every available niche, why are you just targeting one? Most successful websites that target social media traffic will use different social networks.
One of the worse things you can do is to send out your content to completely the wrong people. Most social networks allow you to have friends and thus you can share links with them. Use the search bar to find people who have an interest in your topic. Sending every piece of your content with everyone on your friends list is a definite way to have your content voted down in the short run, and in the longer term, you’ll be labelled as a spammer. What you should do is to get to know who you have added as friends and find out what they are interested in. This way, you will be able to share relevant links and you will increase the chances of others voting your story up.
Hope this post will help you avoid the major mistakes you can make when targeting social media for your traffic. Feel free to add comments if I missed out some points.
If you want to strengthen your personal or business brand’s visibility, then one of the top things you will want is to have strong social media profiles that rank in the top results for your name along with your website and blog. Having a strong online reputation that is comprised of nothing but content that highlights the best about your personal or business brand will allow you to keep undesirable results at bay, such as bad online reviews or mentions.
You’ve probably read lots of posts talking about how to properly optimize your social media profiles for search, and they’ve probably all sounded a little like this.
- Be active – Yes, this is true. Just like Google loves regularly updated blogs and websites, they equally love regularly updated social profiles.
- Optimize photo filenames – This only works on some networks, which I will mention below. It doesn’t hurt to upload photos with your name or keywords in the filename, but networks like Facebook rename the photo filenames anyway, so for some networks, it’s useless.
- Engage with your followers, fans, and connections – This is a good thing to do regardless of the SEO value of it. Engaging with others will keep your profile updated often, and being helpful will also lead to other’s recommending you to their audience. Search #FollowFriday to see what I mean.
- Vanity URL – From what I can tell, the URL does not count for anything but branding except on specific networks. For example, my Facebook fan page name is Kikolani, and the username for the URL is artofblogging. The fan page does not rank for art of blogging, but does rank for Kikolani. But again, it all depends on the network.
While these are great tips for your overall social media strategy, they are not the end all of SEO for your social network profiles. Certain networks use specific elements of information that you supply in your profile to optimize each profile on their network. The following will guide you to the right fields to optimize for the best possible search optimization of your social networks. The best part is that all customizations noted are using each site’s free accounts – no need to upgrade to Pro if all you’re looking for is optimization!
Quick and Dirty Onsite SEO 101
Before we get started, here are some key things to keep in mind about the following mentioned SEO elements of your social profiles. The order of importance is generally SEO Title, Meta Description, header tags (H1, H2, H3), image ALT tags, image filenames, and bolded text. Also, when it comes to search results, the typical result will look like this with the SEO Title as the linked information and the Meta Description as the details beneath it:
But what if you don’t care about the SEO?
That’s ok – this post still has some great information for you! Usually the parts of your profile that are used for search optimization are also used for the network’s own search results. So if you don’t want to think of it as SEO work, think of it as simply social optimization!
Let’s start with the hottest new social media network of them all – Google’s own Google+. Whenever you are filling out your Google+ profile, be sure to note the following areas of information that will enhance the search optimization of your presence on this network.
SEO Title: Your Name – Google+
Google+ is all about the personal branding, and they insist that you use your real name for your profile. So don’t try to stick keywords or business names in your profiles – not yet at least!
Meta Description: Your Name – Your Headline + Your Occupation
The Meta Description for your Google+ profile is a combination of different pieces of profile information, starting with your name followed by your headline (the line below your name), your occupation, your first employer listed, and then your introduction text. So make sure that the first 160 characters count by writing a great headline and occupation title. Also make sure those areas are set to be seen by anyone on the web.
Extra Search Tidbits: Your Links
From what I can tell, the links within the introduction content as well as the ones under other profiles, contributor to, and recommended links are all dofollow. So don’t shy away from anchor text as this is a prime Google property!
Assuming that not much changes when Facebook decides to revamp the fan pages as they have recently with the personal profiles, the following areas of information contribute to your fan page SEO.
SEO Title: Your Page Name | Facebook
If you didn’t consider keyword optimization when you created it, and you have less than 100 fans, you’re in luck. You can still change your page’s name. What you will want to keep in mind is that your branding may be more important than your keyword rankings, especially if you want people to be able to find you if they are searching your brand.
Meta Description: Your Page Name + Your About Description | Facebook
To edit your About information to make a great Meta Description, go to your page and Edit Page > Basic Information, and fill in the About field with a 140 character description like you would with any website Meta Description.
Extra Search Tidbits: Your Fan Page Updates Have SEO Value
Did you know that each of your status updates on your Facebook fan page have a page of their own (click the timestamp of one to see). If you’re posting a standard status update, the SEO Title for the individual page of your updates will be pulled from the first 18 characters (though sometimes it is a bit less). If you’re posting a link to your fan page wall, you’ll have an option to “Say something about this link…” – the first 18 characters of what you enter in this field are going to be the SEO Title of that status update.
If you’re concerned about optimizing your updates while considering them as individual pages under the umbrella of your fan page, then you might want to consider sticking some keywords right at the beginning of your comment. So if you’re posting an update about keyword research, just start the update with keyword research. It is a simple, effective way to keyword optimize each update.
Twitter doesn’t have much in the way of traditional SEO elements for your public profile, but it has a few important things to keep in mind.
SEO Title: Your Name (username) on Twitter
On Twitter, your name under the Profile Settings and your username are the title tags for your profile. So keywords in your username might just be worthwhile if they are still available.
Profile Image: Filename and Your Name as ALT Tag
When it comes to your profile image, be sure to optimize it by using your name as the filename. Twitter will automatically use your name under the Profile Settings as the ALT tag for your profile image as well.
Extra Search Tidbits: Keywords in Your Bio
While they may not come up in the standard SEO elements for your profile, your bio information is key. Services like Klout pull your Twitter bio information as your Klout profile description. FollowerWonk, Formulists, and other Twitter search engines use keywords in your bio in search results when people are looking for similar tweeps to follow. You can also include a link or another Twitter handle if applicable.
LinkedIn Professional Profiles
LinkedIn, the leading professional social network, has the most user-controlled SEO elements out of any other network I’ve checked out. Here are the areas you can customize!
SEO Title: Your Name| LinkedIn
While some people suggest adding keywords to your name field, the LinkedIn terms of service discourages this practice. Be confident that your personal branding is strong enough not to need the extra keyword stuffing that you can do later in your profile.
Profile Image: Filename and Your Name as ALT Tag
Just like Twitter, you should make sure you use your name as the filename for your profile image. LinkedIn will use your name as the ALT tag for your image as well.
H3 Tags: Your Job Titles
Are you ready to get some keywords into your profile? Make sure your job titles for current and previous positions include some great keywords and those keywords will be in your profile page’s H3 tags. Mine include freelance writer, blog marketing expert, photographer, and guest blogging contributor.
Extra Search Tidbit: LinkedIn Search Optimization
According to the LinkedInfluence program by Lewis Howes, if you want to rank well for keywords searched within LinkedIn’s people search, you will want to include your targeted keywords in the following:
- Your Professional Headline
I also think that belonging to some industry appropriate groups that are publicly listed on your profile can add to extra keyword usage on your profile. So choose your groups wisely!
YouTube offers a lot of great SEO options, from the channel to the videos. Here is what you’ll want to make sure you include in your profile.
SEO Title: Your Username’s Channel – YouTube
This is one of the cases where your username which doubles as part of your URL counts in terms of the search optimization, so make it count – just be sure you do so with your branding in mind more so than keywords. It will be a lot harder for people to find you if they search SEO company vs. Your Uniquely-Named SEO Company.
Meta Description: Your Channel Description
Whenever you are setting up your channel, pay extra attention to the Channel Description which is under the Profile > Edit settings. This will be your channel’s Meta Description!
Extra SEO Tidbits: Your Website & Your Videos
Ever wanted a backlink from a PR 9 domain? Then your search is over – whenever you create your YouTube channel, be sure to fill in your website link. Granted it has no anchor text, but it’s a dofollow link sitting on a strong Google property.
When it comes to videos, the reason they do so well in search is because the video title doubles as the SEO Title and the video description doubles as the Meta Description. And even though Google doesn’t supposedly care about Meta Keywords, they do use the video’s tags in that space – just group multiple keywords in quotations. My search story uses the tags “kristi hines” “freelance writer” “online marketing consultant” scottsdale arizona. Keep these fields in mind to rank well in both the YouTube and Google results.
Also, be sure to get your video-specific keyword ideas using YouTube’s own keyword tool. It looks at what is searched the most on YouTube itself.
Biznik Professional Profiles
Biznik, another popular professional social network, has some areas that you can customize to optimize your profile for SEO.
SEO Title: Your Job – Your Location – Your Name
The SEO Title for your Biznik profile combines three important parts of your profile – your current job title, your city and state, and your name. It’s perfect for keyword optimization, local search optimization, and personal branding!
Meta Description: Your Google Summary
Unlike most profiles where you have to condense your About Me information into 140 characters, Biznik allows you to have a What You Do description for visitors and a separate, optimized Google Summary for your Meta Description.
H1: Your Name + Your Job
In case the SEO Title and Meta Description are not enough, Biznik also uses your name and job title as your profile’s main H1 Tag. Nothing like a little extra optimization!
Profile Image: Filename and Your Name as ALT Tag
Just like Twitter and LinkedIn, you should make sure you use your name as the filename for your profile image. Biznik will use your name as the ALT tag for your image as well.
Extra SEO Tidbits: Your Website
Your Biznik profile allows you to add one website link with your preferred anchor text (you can have two if you go Pro for $10 / month) . It’s dofollow, so don’t miss out on adding it for visitors and for search engines!
Quora, one of the hottest question and answer networks, offers a little SEO optimization for users who join their community.
SEO Title: Your Name – Quora
As is the trend for most networks, Quora uses your name in your profile’s SEO title.
Meta Property: Your Long Bio
Quora is a bit unusual in the sense that they use the Facebook Developer’s Meta Property=”og:description” instead of the traditional Meta Description for search results. For this, they pull the information that you include in your Long Bio which should be one to two sentences long. If you search your profile in Google, however, you will see that it pulls your name, your Short Bio, and then your Long Bio as the actual Meta Description snippet.
H1 Tag: Your Name + Your Short Bio
The H1 Tag for your Quora profile will be your name plus your Short Bio. It unfortunately cuts off your tag at 50 characters, so be sure to get your main keyword into your short bio first.
Extra SEO Tidbits: Including Your Websites in the Long Bio
Although the links are nofollow (and mashed up into some crazy looking code), one thing I have noticed about Quora is that you can generate a lot of views and followers fast by answering questions. So SEO value or not, be sure to include your main website links in your Long Bio box. Just type out the URL – it will automatically hyperlink.
About.me is one of my favorite online business card sites. It allows you to compile your social profile links, blog, and a short description all on one page. The nice part is that it is a well-optimized page!
SEO Title: Your Name (Your Username) on about.me
About.me is another network where both your name and your username count heavily in the optimization of your profile.
Meta Description: Your Biography
Although you can write as long of a biography as you want on your profile, remember that the first 160 characters count for your Meta Description. This also means if you use a link in your biography, it will be counted as part of the Meta Description, so try to save the links until after the first 160.
Extra SEO Tidbits: Website Links
There are two ways to add website links to your About.me profile. One is through the biography mentioned earlier. The other is through the Services as Flat URL’s. I prefer adding them in the biography because not only are they dofollow, but the coding within the biography is cleaner than the coding used for the Flat URL’s. It may not make much of a difference, but since every bit of link juice helps, it doesn’t hurt to use the most cleanly coded HTML possible.
Bonus: How to Check Your Profile’s SEO
Curious about more networks than the ones listed? Check out your social profile’s SEO by doing the following in Google Chrome using the SEO Site Tools extension.
- Logout of the network. You want to see your profile like a search engine sees it with whatever information you have made public and accessible to anyone, not just those logged into the network.
- Click on the SEO Site Tools magnifying lens button and look under Page Elements. Here you will see your SEO Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords.
- Scroll down through the Page Elements for additional information such as Img Tags, H1 Tags, H2 Tags, H3 Tags, and H4 Tags.
Chances are you will see elements in your social profiles that you can control in those tags – be sure to optimize your profile accordingly from there!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Please be sure to share it with others so they can also reap the benefits of a SEO optimized social media profile for better personal and professional branding! If you’re curious about the SEO optimization elements of other social networks, feel free to ask in the comments and I will check them out for you! And let us know what profiles rank the best for your name or brand!
If you’ve ever used Facebook, Twitter or any other social media outlet a single day in your life and done so with any rate of success, you’ve probably already heard the whines of other users who are mystified at how you did it, or been accused of making up the term “social media specialist.” In fact, some of the stuff people like to say is starting to sound positively rote by now:
“Look at you, little Ms. Popular! How did you ever manage to get all those Twitter followers?”
“I tweet stuff all the time, but no one ever retweets me.”
“I only have 100 friends on Facebook. No one cares what I think.”
The last sentence there is the most deadly — making a broad decision that isn’t yours to make, and giving up before you’ve even started to try. But many people do that, and it can be your death sentence in a digital world where your output can make or break your public persona. So here’s a handy list about what you can do to improve your social media standing and maybe get a few more people to notice you. Also, if you could stop whining about how unpopular you are, that would be super.
1. Decide What You Need to Say
One of the greatest dangers of social media is that it allows us to report information to the world stream-of-consciousness style, especially with Twitter. This is the reason that the service is crammed with photosofpeople’sfood and complaints about their ailments, which frankly is stuff that should be saved for your dining partner or the person you live with. Yes, I know you are excited about your food, but realize that no one else really is OTHER than you (unless you just so happen to be a master chef-turned-blogger tweeting pics of your newest mouthwatering creation.) We’ll delve into this more later in step two, but let’s keep a one-track mind here.
So if you can’t tweet/FB/blog about whatever you damn well please, then what can you write about? Well, that’s the first key — before you start blathering all willy-nilly on a platform where everyone can hear you, make a decision about what it is you want to talk about. If you’re coming up blank there, consider what you LIKE to talk about. Are you crazy about squirrels? Passionate about vintage computer collecting? Nuts about repurposed home decor? Whatever your favorite topic is, that classic and cliched old rule writers have been following for years still applies: Write what you know. However, there’s a new addendum for the modern world: Write what you love. Enthusiasm is catching, and if you communicate it with honesty, people will come. Except when it’s a picture of your lunch. But that’s all about consideration for others, and as long as we’re on that, let’s hit up step two. Read more >>
This is a guest post from Doug Thomas. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Last week, Facebook rolled a significant update live, introducing an amalgamated News Feed and a new feature: the Ticker. Taking on the role of Recent News stream, the Ticker is where Edge Rank and Graph Rank, a similar concept introduced in the f8 keynote speech later in the week. Also introduced was the Timeline, the new way to view your profile. While Timeline seems to be a purely design-based change, it is clear that it has lasting effects on the future of Facebook Display Ads.
Note the differences between the new (left) and old (right) sidebars.
- Where will the “You and Your Friend” box go? This gives Page owners and app creators a one-stop area to give users social proof for their product. Without it, especially in a prominent position in the sidebar, connections may be initially thought of as diminished. However, it’s likely that this information will go somewhere else that can’t be shown in the demo Facebook provided.
- Even more social proof has been removed in the ads by not displaying Likes in ads. This will likely drive down clickthrough rate, removing the value of “Social Clicks” in the Facebook Ads interface.
- White space hasn’t been diminished, but width of the ad space has by about one half. This might decrease attention by making it one of the smallest elements on the page.
- Most obviously, the number of ads on the main profile page have been cut in half to 2, dropping to one as you scroll down and the sidebar navigation expands. On the Activity Log page, there are three. The ads are persistent, scrolling with the page, but are limited. The removal of these ads may mark a major change in how Facebook views advertisers.
Before the new layout was announced, All Facebook argued that Facebook isn’t seeking to help advertisers in its News Feed design or algorithm. However, the opposite may be true when it comes to the two overlooked aspects of the update and announced change: the real-time Ticker and the expansion of Open Graph. While the original Open Graph was seen as a cataloging system, letting anything on the internet be given a face on Facebook, the new expansion of verbs allows users to chronicle their interactions — a theme pulled from the Timeline.
A New Mindset
Marketers already knew Facebook ads were a bit of a crapshoot — a .05% CTR is abysmal, two orders of magnitude lower than the 2% reported for Google Ads. This small redesign may have serious effects, though, and advertisers might be blindsided. The lack of social proof hinders ad reach, but it seems Facebook wants to alleviate this by showing ads to the user for a longer time, especially “quality” first-position ones. as browsing of Timelines likely would be a pursuit that takes longer than the current profile. This, however, could backfire, as targeted ads based on the visible content being interacted with on the profile at that moment may drive more qualified traffic.
It seems, then, that marketers and business owners need to change their mindset about Facebook. No longer is it a just another display ad network, performing well only when the stars align and demography lines up with expectations. Instead, marketers need to embrace the Open Graph, which allows actions to show in the Ticker, to provide natural advertising via the social network — working with the medium instead of alongside or against it.
Optimizing Your Campaign for the New Facebook
With the new mindset for advertising on Facebook, campaign strategy has to change. No longer can an advertiser scrape by on the bare minimum, dropping a display ad to a bare Facebook Fan Page or off-site page with no Open Graph interactivity. The first step is to optimize your Facebook presence by doing all the things marketers used to, but more consistently:
- Fan gating to incentivize Likes, providing an incentive to grow your fanbase and populating your business name and Facebook page to the feed.
- Deeper consideration about Facebook Page SEO, given the high traffic from search engines.
- Linking your site and any Facebook tab interactivity to the Open Graph, through meta tags and apps
While the first two are relatively widespread, using Open Graph, especially on outside sites, is still somewhat underused. The meta tags, in a sense returning to SEO circa 1996, allow you to control what is pushed to the Ticker or News Feed. However, creating interactivity on a site beyond a simple Like Button is new.
The first step is to create multiple actions for each page, based on what the business offers on its site. For a music streaming site, “Like” is a fine verb, but what about “Listened to” or “Commented on?” For an e-commerce site, to “Like” a product isn’t as clear as “Bought,” “Wants,” or “Reviewed.” Each action on a site can turn your users’ regular interaction on the site into its own mini-ad with social proof for the viewer, coming down the Ticker whenever the users’ friends are online.
The next step is to provide something for your users when they connect to your page, giving the visitor an incentive to let you advertise via their Facebook profile. For a blog, one idea would be to tailor your homepage content based on users’ likes and interests, showing the category that interests them most. Important to keep in mind, however, is that Facebook reports a 3% drop in conversion for each permission you ask for; therefore explaining what you do with the data will keep the more private folks Connecting.
Are Display Ads Dead?
Of course, the worry for the internet marketer is that the entire game has changed — up is down, left is right, PPC display ads aren’t effective. This isn’t true, and likely won’t ever be so long as Facebook doesn’t eliminate ads completely. In the new mindset, ads are a Like generator — get the visitor to a targeted fan page with gating or an off-site landing page, get the Like and offer a little cake as thanks. They will be useful when a company doesn’t have high brand recognition and is hurting for people to be their “Ticker Ads.” Furthermore, targeting people who already Like your page for events, blog giveaways, and contests will likely remain a powerful campaign strategy for Facebook Display ads.
When it comes to the new mindset, the concepts behind campaign choices build without necessarily breaking down the old maxims. The new mindset provides reciprocal benefit to the social universe using Facebook, instead of trying to solely draw revenue from the social aspects. While this seems like “Field of Dreams” advice, it’s time to rethink the display ad and think about what really will drive traffic and eyes and dollars to your site.
This is a guest post from Lewis Austin. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
I don’t know about you, but I believe that all those one-time satisfied social networkers are FINALLY beginning to stem the hysteria that’s been surrounding the craze for a number of years now.
The original concept of social media is dropping dead, partly because more and more people are beginning to pick holes in its design and influence. Those who were quick to jump on the social bandwagon have found that the fast-growing phenomenon can only plod along for so long until it hits a big, brutal brick wall.
A lot of web users wouldn’t even have been interested in the launch of Google +, even though it is supposedly a revolutionary platform that will change the social media landscape irreversibly, because it’s automatically been compared to every other network of its kind (*coughFACEBOOKcough*). The reality of it all is that none of the features behind the best-loved social networks are new. Everything in the social media world has been done before and I’m clutching at straws trying to find anything that’s blown me away recently. If you look at the major networks and question what sets them apart from the rest, you really start to find more similarities than differences. And often the underlying reasons causing the introduction of each feature are much more flawed than you, being a fierce social networker, would care to admit.
The new features that have been released are simply expansions on what we already had. Take, for example, Facebook Places. Essentially, Facebook Places has just ripped off Foursquare and Gowalla. And for those who don’t know, Foursquare and Gowalla are location-based social networks that revolve around their ‘check-in’ feature. This means that if you’re meeting up with friends you can announce your new location to a select list of friends. Facebook decided to kill their app off, as they realised that only 6% of users had actually bothered trying it, so now the Places feature has been integrated into status updates. Which in itself is just irritating.
I’ve got a couple of burning problems with this system. Firstly, there is no need to dish out your latest physical location on a digital map for everyone to see. What purpose does it serve? Facebook makes all sorts of personal information available to others anyway, so essentially any nosy soul is set up to become your stalker; they can already look up your email address and phone number but now have the opportunity to track your current location too.
This feature is obviously raising concerns for safety of the younger generation of Facebook profilers. Despite the rules there are a lot of kids on Facebook who are clearly under 13 (a whole separate issue for a whole other blog!). Although some may argue that FB can’t be responsible for those who break FB law, these fledgling users have created a danger for themselves because their entire list of friends has full access to all of their information. It’s all too easy to imagine how less-than-scrupulous members of society would go about getting in touch with those who are slightly more impressionable.
You need to ask yourself if you want all of your Facebook friends to know exactly where you are 24/7. This isn’t a trust issue but more of a case of TMI. Quite frankly, being constantly bombarded with details about someone’s whereabouts is dull.
Anyway, the crux of the matter is, Facebook Places was not an original idea. Fact.
Now here’s one you may have spotted. Google Circles is just a developed version of Facebook’s Groups. This Google+ feature allows you to organise your contacts into particular groups, or Circles, and lets you choose how you share your data. Basically, this means you can separate dignified posts from slightly less savoury updates and distribute different types of information to different groups of people in your life. But, however well Circles took off initially, once I waited for all the Google+ hype to die down it became clearer to me that there was definitely a primitive version of Circles already available to app-starved socio-lites.
Facebook Groups were clearly the inspiration for the big G’s ‘pioneering’ feature. It must be said that Google has used this idea as a crucial building block for its platform and developed the initial idea significantly, which is highlighted in comparison to the lacklustre reception of Groups – in fact, it has to be said that many Facebook users did not really know about the feature and found no valid use for it. (…Myself included).
THE TWITTER-PATTER OF TIRED FEET
Twitter is the micro-blogging social network that has acquired 200 million users since its launch and it is safe to say that in terms of popularity, this site has literally exploded. The whole concept of Twitter is just a squished-down version of Facebook, taking all of the good qualities that Facebook offers to networkers, simplifying them and condensing them all together to create the hassle-free conversation platform that we all know and love. The process of befriending one of your peers consists of the click of a button and once you’re deemed a ‘follower’ you gain access to their status updates as and when they happen.
There is a bare minimum of information that is actually shared between users. All that’s required is a profile name, your general location and a paragraph about yourself. One of the most appealing things about Twitter is the simplicity of it all, I suppose. Updates are only 140 characters long, so all information that is shared is short and to the point (a concept that Facebook never really understood right from the beginning, with their fancy lists and whatnot). You don’t need to read through a novel of uninteresting information to find something useful. However, what is happening on Twitter is not new – the idea of ‘following’ others and checking out their updates is practically a simplified RSS Feed.
There is a mentioning feature which allows you to let someone know you are talking to/about them, but again this is a meeker version of the status tags on Facebook where you can tag someone in a post. The recent addition of the promoted Tweets feature leaves a lot to be desired, too. Allegedly set up to give businesses the opportunity to stick a short ad up alongside their relevant search terms, the idea is a spin-off of Facebook paid search advertising, which itself is an adaptation of Google’s highly successful Pay Per Click model. Despite its good intentions (for the profitability of businesses if nothing else), the feature seems to have slipped right under the radar and remained so unobtrusive to the point that many users have wondered whether its introduction was worthwhile.
THE MARRIAGE OF FACESPACE AND MYBOOK
Yet the classic case of feature-swapping is best explained by the rivalry between Myspace and Facebook. These networks were both possibly the biggest international social networks going at any time. I remember when Myspace was big. Myspace drew in the younger generation of networkers through its clear focus on custom pages and entertainment, but the novelty soon wore off as users began to migrate over to Facebook. I had a lot of fun on Myspace myself but when all of my friends began flocking to Facebook I had no choice but to join – after all, what is a social network without any friends? You’re just talking to yourself on a pretty little platform.
In an attempt to win back some users, Myspace introduced the same features that helped Facebook win users, such as photo tagging and of course the infamous like button.
We do need to remember, however, that this brutal method of prising users from the arms of the musclier, more exotic newcomer is not uncommon. Resorting to copycat tactics has always been a last ditch effort to win people back.
IT’S BUSINESS TIME
More and more businesses are flocking to social networks in the hope of building brand awareness and generating leads, but this trend isn’t a new one either. In the past, businesses simply had to go it alone. There was a distinct lack of professionalism and strategy behind social media management, with companies stabbing users in the dark with half-arsed promo campaigns, but now social media management has expanded into an actual occupation. Proof of this is that SEO companies and the like employ dedicated social media marketers (such as myself!) to manage the successful manipulation of platforms like Twitter and Facebook. We handle everything, from the basic layout to the select information we share with fans. Companies will invest in this service because, as long as their chosen social marketer knows their stuff, social networks are the equivalent to free advertising – it just takes some time to determine the methods that will work best. But despite starting every social campaign with the best intentions, we have to ask ourselves this simple question from time to time: have those very users we’re looking to influence cottoned on to our efforts? Are they so used to being ‘sold to’ that they simply shake off all our attempts to amaze them? Social networks weren’t set up to cater for big money-hungry brands.
LOCKING YOUR DOORS AND LEAVING NETWORKS THE KEY
Privacy is an issue that’s constantly niggling at the back of our minds. It’s simply human nature to want to keep our information safe and secure; hold our cards close to our chest. The on-going disputes about each user’s right to confidentiality are going to eventually determine the way in which we communicate. We need to understand that the net was made for sharing, yet still have some say in the way in which our personal information is used. Unfortunately, it’s a debate that’s not going to get resolved anytime soon, and here’s why.
Google caused uproar with its real names policy. Even though Plus was still in its beta stages, if Big G believed you were posing as someone else, you got promptly kicked off. Such was the case of Violet Blue, a renowned author and blogger who’s so highly regarded that she once appeared as a guest on Oprah. Violet was invited to the network by Big G itself, yet once the fake names policy was put in place, her account was suspended. Work that one out.
Teething problems, perhaps? I don’t think so. The Google+ team have stuck to their guns and are of the opinion that you need to pay for the privilege of joining their network by surrendering your identity. Using fake names makes it impossible for your closest friends to find you and therefore goes against the entire principle behind SOCIAL networking. But for many, the issue is this: if you’ve been using a make-believe persona throughout your entire cyber life, why should you need to disclose your true identity now? Many enjoy venting their frustrations or meeting other like-minded tech-heads completely anonymously. This ‘real name’ palaver caused problems for many and turned G+ from a convenient communications platform to a definite hassle within a matter of weeks. I reckon all the effort put into restricting usage should have been put into creating a safer, more secure environment for all networkers.
There are hugely popular conspiracy theories related to Facebook and its privacy policies. Many believe that the CIA use Facebook as a data mining system, which sees them flaunting the fact that many of us have become dependent on it and will happily choose convenience over security any day of the week.
The well-known ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous have warned that they’re planning to take down Facebook sometime around November 5th. This group of free radicals is being targeted by the FBI and have already infiltrated many government run websites that they consider against their cause. Better back up your favourite pics just in case then, hey. Targeting Zuckerberg’s crowned jewels is no coincidence, though; group leaders were furious after sussing out that Facebook will desperately hold on to your personal information, no matter what you do. If you decide to throw in the towel and delete your profile, FB will ‘hold on’ to your info, just in case you decide to return with your tail between your legs. They won’t just cling to your name and email address; they’ll make sure they store all of your activity history. If I’d have known this when I first set my profile up, I would have avoided joining completely!
Surely, the only move that will truly ‘revolutionise’ social networks would be giving users full control over their own privacy settings. Not just the ability to decide who’s allowed to tag you in their album or who’ll be able to track down your late-night video-sharing – proper, true control of your online footprint. Finding a way to make it harder for close friends and complete strangers can dig through a past that they weren’t involved in. My personal opinion is that having that information available is practically advertising it to be read, so I guess the best way to fight FB’s policy is to be extra careful about what you release.
PROFIT ABOVE PRIVACY
So, keen to overturn this dismal perception of network privacy, Google+ launched with the admirable intention of making sure everyone was upfront and honest about their identity and used their profile for the right reasons. What they fail to tell you is that, once you’ve set up a Gmail account, the bots crawling their servers can pick out keywords from your messages and use what they find for targeted advertising. They’ll pick out frequent topics from your conversations and send you useful (*cough*) ads and tailor-made discounts from relevant companies. Now, if we received our post already hacked to pieces by an over-eager mail man, we wouldn’t be best pleased, would we? So in terms of the way your account is manipulated, is this purely a case of ‘what I don’t know about can’t hurt me’? One step forward, twenty gigantic strides back, big G.
Microsoft actually took a stab at Google’s prying eye and created the GmailMan video to promote their new, slightly more ethical email service. It’s an exaggerated stab, granted, but the root of the problem is clearly raised.
REALITY AND WEB-ALITY
There used to be a clear line drawn between reality and web-ality. In real life you pop off down the pub for a pint and a catch-up; in web-ality you connect with those you never would have met were it not for the internet. Yet it seems that as time goes on the web still strives to become as realistic as possible. It’s important to remember that once you’ve ‘friended’ someone on the web, they’ve generally got unlimited access to your online movements. This isn’t like real life. In real life, if you meet a new friend, you don’t tell them everything about you. Some things they just won’t want to know.
With each ‘convenient’ update released, with each development launched, we’re told that we become closer to the ‘ultimate’ social networking experience. These platforms were set up to make it easier to connect with people, but what if we’re just victims of a communication overload?
This could be said of the latest changes that have been proposed for the Facebook layout (which, by the way, haven’t been received particularly well). The design updates, which were revealed by founder Zuckerberg at the annual F8 convention, include plans to encourage each user to share as much media as possible, allowing each of your friends to watch your online life almost in real-time. To replace traditional profile interfaces, Zuckerberg wants to roll out a vis-audio timeline of your activity, replacing streams with a mish-mash of videos, photos, audio and statuses. Facebook has received criticism from the masses – many have protested by describing the new look ‘too cluttered’ and ‘too complicated’ and are of the opinion that the site has become ‘too difficult to use and enjoy’. There’s too much going on, quite frankly, and users have been put off by the inability to easily shut off particular aspects of their life from certain friends.
The Likely Aftermath
Trying to tie together all these issues in what was supposed to be an upbeat article has been a mammoth task. But at the end of the day, I feel that many of us are still blinded by networking’s glory days and refuse to accept that the networks’ foundations are crumbling. Unless we can break down the barriers that stop social media REALLY progressing, we’ll simply keep getting fed the same ideas over and over until we fall off the wagon completely.
Listen and learn, social networks. Your users don’t want real life, they want freedom, optional anonymity and, above all, choice – three aspects of social media that are quickly slipping out of their reach. Major turn off; major brick wall.
But what do you think? Are you still enjoying social networking as much as ever, or do you feel the concept has been exhausted too?
This is a guest post from James Adams. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Facebook may be the perfect way to keep in touch with friends online, but it’s also an increasingly important venue for businesses to engage with customers. As the social network becomes ever more prevalent, the marketing sector of the site has exploded – although many businesses have been thrown aside during the boom.
Find out which businesses have a handle on Facebook marketing with our top 5 pack leaders.
You might say iTunes has got it easy, it a business with plenty of content to share and give away by its very nature, but where this Facebook page really shines is in its ‘Featured’ tab. There users find everything from free music podcasts and the option to share tunes with friends to exclusive offers, just the kind of things that tempt them to click like.
A brand well known for its quirky adverts, Redbull has managed to bring much of the same feeling of fun to its Facebook page. The killer move has to be the relationship the drinks company has built with athletes – and the way it allows sports fans to connect to their favourite stars. Exclusive content, Redbull TV and a range of its own games and apps, this is a page easy to lose hours to.
A flight comparisons site that certainly doesn’t have its head in the clouds, Skyscanner is leading the way when it comes to functional Facebook offerings. Users can post a flight request on Skyscanner’s Wall and receive a price quote and flight details back in seconds – all without having to leave the page or download an app. For example, if you were thinking of flying from London to New York in November, you would just type something like ‘London NY November’ and it would ping you back a best price and a link to the website to continue your booking. Other fun functions include a regular ‘where in the world’ where users are asked to place a holiday snap by country as well as thought provoking Q&A sessions and polls.
Film studio Pixar knows how to do something right, and the Facebook page for Toy Story is a perfect example of this. Not only is their page crammed with cute content, such as the excellent Toy creator’ app, it’s also nice and functional. When Toy Story 3 was released, fans could buy tickets without ever leaving their Facebook page and the same can now be done for DVDs.
Ben and Jerry’s
Already well loved for its inventive ice creams, this brand has brought the same innovative approach to its Facebook page – and with great success. With campaigns such as the app that let users turn their text upside down to celebrate ‘Flipped Out’ ice cream to apps offering free tubs, there’s something there for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Having a Facebook presence is about more than just having a Facebook page. It’s about engaging with people. It doesn’t take much work either. Could you host a monthly Q&A session? It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, where that’s marketing, construction, publishing – the important thing is to establish yourself as an expert and thought leader, or if you already have that status to use it to build a stronger social media presence.
How many website owners have said this to you?
“I don’t get it! I am writing killer content on my blog, but don’t understand why my site is not building traffic or authority within my niche! I am at a loss about what to do, can you help me?”
As a reader of this blog, I am sure you come across many individuals like this.
The Truth Will Set You Free
Here are the brutal facts that you must know, if you want to solve this problem for yourself and for others that you work with.
Brutal Fact #1: Creating high-value content for your website is only one integral part to creating a successful internet marketing and website traffic driving strategy.
If you believe that only writing content on your blog will effectively bring traffic and links, you are sadly mistaken.
Here is some advice…
Stop listening to those individuals spreading the adage “If you build it they will come” because it isn’t doing you any favors. Planning out your content, and hitting the publish button is only half the battle. (The other half is generating traffic and links.)
While there may be the one in a billion exceptions every now and then where published content magically becomes viral, the chances that this will happen to you are very unlikely.
Brutal Fact #2: You must know how to leverage the traffic that will be driven into your site or else driving traffic to your blog will be a waste of time.
Here’s the truth…
You can take the time to create an awesome blog post and drive a ton of traffic through it, but if the content within your site doesn’t generate leads, or close sales, you are wasting your time exerting the effort to create the content and drive traffic to it in the first place.
Understanding how you will fully leverage the content on your site, and how it will fit into the entire website strategy to reach your goals is important. If you don’t have a pre-defined path taking your visitor from your content to a sale or other call to action…stop everything you are doing right now and take the time to figure it out.
Think about the exact step-by-step process you want your visitor to take after reading your blog post.
Do you want them to sign up for an e-mail list, send them to the products page, watch a video, or have people re-share the post? Make sure you have this figured out before you start publishing and driving traffic! I see too many entrepreneurs screw this up and waste time!
Brutal Fact #3: For your site to start generating a substantial amount of traffic and backlinks quickly, you will have to create and leverage your trusted Internet and in-person relationships.
Why do you think individuals who help websites drive a massive amount of visitors through them are massively connected? Do you think that is by accident?
It obviously is no surprise to those who know this secret! Here is the thing…
Taking time amid your busy schedule to grow current relationships and create new ones with individuals in your niche, is one of the unspoken secrets of successful bloggers and website owners.
Here is a tip: Make sure that when reaching out to new contacts, your intention is to create a win/win situation between the both of you. Always focus on what you can do to help the other person out first, and then more often than not, they will want to help you as well.
Brutal Fact #4: Having an understanding of your market, and knowing how to effectively create content for that market is an essential skill.
(This also includes having the copywriting skills to format content effectively that will capture and hold a visitors attention and lead them to a precise call to action.)
If you don’t know how to write killer posts for your site that will resonate with your market, you will definitely experience challenges.
Even though you think you may be creating high quality content, step back for a minute and ask yourself, “Is this piece of content something my market wants, and is it formatted in a way that will hold their attention from beginning to end?”
If you can’t say yes to this question quickly, go back to the drawing board and find a way to fix it.
Brutal Fact #5: Understanding how SEO and social media work together is a must when it comes to building backlinks and driving massive amounts of traffic through content on your site.
When you understand the impact how social media affects SEO, you really have the keys to the kingdom.
Knowing how to leverage your current relationships to drive the traffic into your site and create the backlinks to content with the appropriate anchor text, results in ranking high in google. The high rankings cause more continual traffic that is generated into your site long term from the search engines for key search terms.
Mastering these two moving parts takes skill, but they wouldn’t be possible if you didn’t focus on always continually building win/win relationships with individuals in your niche.
You can’t just write great content or create a website and expect the mere act of creating content to get you what you want, without the knowledge of how social media works, and the necessary skill of building and growing relationships with individuals who will help you as you help them.
Make sure that you take the time to learn the necessary skills, and connect with those individuals who can help you. Continue to do this as you focus on creating the best content possible for your site. If you need help in this area, go to people who are doing it themselves and ask for their help, or buy their products that teach you how to do it.
This is a guest post from Sarah Nelson. It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
While many brands are taking advantage of Facebook pages for online marketing campaigns and customer service, many people question of how to create real engagement as well as what metrics to measure.
Each brand may have their own ideas about Facebook optimization (FBO) but here are three social metrics to help you plan your strategy.
1. Production Metrics
Tracking the number of posts and types of content you put on your page is critical because it allows you to see how often you should be posting and the types of content that resonates with your fans and prospects. For production metrics, I track the following each week:
- The number and types of photos that I upload
- The number and types of videos that I upload
- The number and types of status updates that I publish on the brand page
Keep your posts fresh. For example, you may write a status update about an upcoming event in the morning, and in the afternoon, you could post a picture or give a valued customer some special attention. I try to follow the 80/20 rule for creating Facebook content. 80% is value added content for the fans and 20% is promotional content for the brand. If you aren’t posting often, you are not building and nurturing relationships. I recommend creating a Facebook content calendar to help you plan some of your posts and events in advance.
2. Engagement Metrics
Measuring your engagement metrics will help you get to know your community and have a better understanding of how to attract more likeminded people to your page. I recommend testing dozens of variations of content to see what ranks the best. The engagement metrics I frequently track are:
- Comments made by fans
- How many people “Like” your posts
- The number of new Facebook Fans
- The number of weekly page visits
- The number of active users
The bottom line for FBO is whether you are fully engaged with your community. If your fans are writing updates on your page, write back to them to show you are listening. You should be able to analyze your engagement metrics and use this as a forecasting tool for creating more meaningful interactions.
3. Brand Building Metrics:
Using brand building metrics, you can understand how Facebook users feel about your brand and how to manage your brand presence in relation to your competition. I analyze how often people talk about the brand, what people are saying about the brand, as well as what is being said about other brands in the industry. The metrics I use are as follows:
- Brand Mentions
- Sentiment Analysis (track positive and negative)
- Share of Conversation (how many times does your brand name appear vs. your competition)
- Content reputation
You can see from the above lists that there are a variety of easy to track metrics that you’ll probably want to monitor and analyze, depending on your brand’s Facebook objectives.
Remember, monitoring data is only valuable if you track and analyze your metrics and apply what you learn toward improving your brand’s content, engagement, and overall Facebook strategy.
Have some favorite Facebook Optimization metrics of your own? Let me know in the comments.
This is a guest post from Melvin Dichoso . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Most people who have just got started in their online ventures usually focus too much on SEO. It’s no secret that its really one of the biggest misconceptions most beginners and even experienced guys run into as far as their online businesses are concern. Today in this blog post, I’m very much hoping I can address this by writing about SEO as well as its connection to SEM and Social Media.
First and foremost I’m not an SEO guru or whatsoever. Heck, my blog is even PR0 up to now, although I have managed to reap a lot as far as the blog’s traffic is concern. Just consider me as you’re typical online entrepreneur and blogger.
Setting up some Initial things
So what does these three things I mentioned above have something in connection? When building a website or any online-based project, you want to build SEO in it from the get-go. You want to optimize it for those key terms that you’re looking into from the start. I know you’re saying, “how can you do that, you don’t even have content yet?” Yes, you’re right but what I mean is that with every websites you can already set up things from the start that would give you a dramatic effect later on. Let me explain.
For example, if I’m building a site based on a WordPress platform, I can start fine-tuning the site’s search goals by doing the necessary things like adding an All in One SEO pack, canonicalizing the domain, setting up the meta descriptions properly and creating a robots.txt (and many more of course). You see, these are the things that you can already do from the start yet it doesn’t take that much to do those. On the flip side, it may not yield that much results for the first few months but its future benefits would be enormous for sure.
Search Engine Optimization isn’t a short-term goal in the first place right? Organic rankings is something that can be achieved over time and if you’re getting lots of traffic from search engines then you know what I’m talking about.
Before the SEO our site picks up
Now we all know that ranking in search engines does not happen overnight, but does that mean we’re going to wait that long before doing anything? No! That means we have to work on something that would alleviate the lack of traffic from our new site.
There are two things that you can do that would offset the need for SEO for short term. One is utilizing social media and the other one is via search engine marketing. Let’s tackle both of those things here.
Social Media is something that everyone these days wants to utilize but only few can do it well. With that my tip has always been to focus on one niche targeted network first and forget everybody else. If you’re into Stumbleupon then focus on it, work on it first.
The problem with people is that they try to get everything from each and every social media sites but the truth is its never gonna happen. These social sites have different audiences and you can only target the ones which is the most relevant to what your business is. Also social media has an effect to search rankings. Indirectly you can see that it can boosts links, search rankings and web traffic in particular.
Popular site Mashable has even written an article on how SEO and social media goes hand in hand together.
Unlike social media, search marketing does not have an effect with your search rankings. Instead this can be a quick way to boost your site’s traffic immediately from the start.
Let’s go back to our WordPress Site example. After we’re able to set up all the basic SEO-related stuff to our sites, we can immediately focus on running search campaigns for our sites via Pay Per Click. The way I do it is I focus on the top three networks, Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN Ad Center. These three have the biggest market share and there’s no reason to go to other 2% of small search engines that can give you almost no traffic.
Running pay per click campaigns can be really tricky and hard. You need to focus on a lot of things like Ad copy, keywords, targeting different demographics, quality scores and a whole lot more. I had learned all of this for quite some time and to be honest, I spent a lot of money testing things but I could say it’s all worth it.
I know not all of us can run PPC campaigns so there’s always an option of hiring a search marketing person or a team to run your campaign for you. This can be an investment on your part but the way these guys could do the job for you could later on offset the cost.
The logic behind running search campaigns is to immediately drive traffic to your site, find the top markets and top demographics for what you’re business is about and penetrating that market. We could also experiment on our campaigns and as a return this could only give us the whole pie of what we’re trying to achieve. We could forever do these campaigns until our search traffic starts picking up. In short, SEM is for short term and SEO is for long term.
Driving traffic to our website, more generally our business is an unending cycle. We as business owners continue to tweak and test things and try to find more sources that could give us the maximum return for what we spend.
These three components that I mentioned namely SEM, SEO and social media play a key role for that. They have their own ideal time to get implemented and it’s all about connecting them and making them work harmoniously.What do you think?
This is a guest post from Kaila Strong . It is part of The “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Of late, Facebook has made announcements to unveil changes to users profiles, business pages, and even Facebook’s version of a blog (the ‘notes’ section). It seems the social networking giant is constantly changing and evolving, giving us a change one spoonful at a time. I get it, that’s what has to happen to accommodate for growth, adjust functions for better usability, etc… But it got me thinking: How much time do I have invested into sites like these where- 1) I don’t have much say over the changes they make, 2) I don’t have true authority over my own content, and 3) someday, I might not have anything to show for my endless hours of activity, should something happen to the site.
Questioning how much time you have invested is not just a question for branded business profiles, it’s also an important question for the casual user looking to brand themselves, non-profit organizations, clubs, and groups too. If you are spending hours upon hours per week on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, niche sites, forums, review sites and commenting, it’s worth it to look at your other options. With so much time being spent on social networking sites, some brands may be missing out on other opportunities.
What opportunities are you missing out on?
Other Social Sites
In some cases, branded profiles aren’t successful on big sites like Facebook and Twitter. If engagement levels are unexpectedly low, growth is slow, metrics aren’t in an upward trend, it may be worth a look at your demographic profile. Who is your audience? Is your messaging targeted to this specific audience, or is lack of participation because of functionality onsite?
You might be standing in the way of your own success by limiting your interaction to the wrong sites. Check out other leading sites like LinkedIn, niche sites like iCareCafe (for Medical niche), forums like Wet Canvas (Art niche), review sites like Yelp, or commenting on some of the best blogs in your industry. I like to check out the prospective sites stats on Quantcast.com, and use the info to make decisions on which sites to focus on.
If you want to delve deeper into research start using a new site, and compare the functionality. In some instances, however, building your own social site on your website can solve your problems. Driving traffic from large sites to your own site can give you more control over your information, not to mention the potential for higher conversions since all activity is onsite. The investment may be large to build your own customized site, so weighing out your options will be very important.
Onsite Social Components
There are many onsite components you can customize, which will give your website visitors the ability to interact, and socialize. Adding a forum to your site if you are say, an eCommerce provider is a great way to give users an area to engage, ask questions, find answers, and review products. Optimizing your efforts can help your search engine rankings, in addition to better managing the time you invest into your social networking.
Even just adding a blog to your site can drive traffic onsite, and still allows for some user generated content: comments, and reviews. Don’t forget about plugins, proper monitoring, and cross promotion on all social platforms.
You can see examples of larger brands already integrating more than just the usual social components to their websites. Checked out Skittles lately? They’ve created a very interactive homepage, that changes regularly, and captures their audiences attention. Think about what you can do that will equally engage your public.
Ability to review or vote on products or services onsite: why add reviews? Increase sales and also for SEO. Not to mention the improvements to usability for your visitors. Make sure you monitor reviews, and respond appropriately.
Commenting enabled, and monitored as well. Take into consideration suggested pointers for monitoring comments, and interacting too.
Online forum to help users throughout the buying cycle. Write your own content to help answer most frequent questions, allow users to ask each other questions, and interact. Building a forum can be pretty time intensive, but think of the customization abilities.
Pulling in data from other social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. You can use a widget, you can use a badge, or a plugin; whichever way you do it, give your users a way to interact using their own favorite social site on your website. Allowing users to sign up for your online community using their preferred site is a good idea.
Games, graphics, and video onsite. Make sure you have the space available, and take into consideration the impact on users experience (slow browsing).
User profiles are where ideas can be shared. Let users build their own space, share their own thoughts, find friends, and upload other information.
Other Marketing Types
On rare occasions, social media just isn’t for your brand. You’ve ran the numbers, talked to the experts, and it’s just not the best return on investment. Determine what your best advertising assets are, and utilize them appropriately. Stop investing a lot of your time in an area of advertising that isn’t proving to be the best use of your time. Don’t just get rid of your profiles: limit the amount of time you spend, and evaluate the tools you are using to manage the profiles. At the very least, you are utilizing the SEO benefits of social profiles, and ability to help with your promotions.
Have you looked at integrating more social components onto your website?