Archive for April, 2008

Social Networking & Social Media: What’s the Difference and Why Should You Care?

Friday, April 18th, 2008


I often see the terms “social networking” and “social media” used interchangeably when in fact they are two different concepts. Attracting clients via the internet is hard work that requires a tightly focused plan. If you’re going to do it effectively and efficiently, you have to know the difference between the two so you can target the right activities, have realistic goals and achieve them. So here’s the scoop.

Social Networking is very much like face to face networking. The primary goal is to connect with other people (old classmates, new friends, love interests, potential clients and sub-contractors) for similar purposes and start conversations that can lead to specific outcomes.

Social Media is about content: articles, news, videos, absurd stories, jokes. It’s about using the wisdom of crowds to find interesting stuff on the internet and bringing it to other people’s attention. Social media websites enable users to decide what’s important on the internet by voting on it, sharing it and commenting on it.

The reason why the two terms get used interchangeably is because social networking and social media are increasing found in the same places. (Biznik is an excellent example!)
- Things social networking and social media have in common:
- Designed to create a dialogue
- You need an online profile to participate
- There is an element of trust (which differentiates it from the general internet)
- Typically gather around a particular topic, area of interest or purpose

Why Do I Need to Care About the Difference?

If you want social networking or social media to work, you need to consider the purposes for each and how they fit into your overall eMarketing strategy.

Connecting vs. Sharing – Social networking is about meeting people while social media is about sharing what you know with the hope it will be helpful.

Proactive vs. Passive – While with social networking it’s generally okay to be proactive about seeking out introductions, it’s not okay to be proactive about seeking votes for your social media content. (Yeah. People do it but if you get caught, you will have to dig yourself out of a public relations nightmare.)

Meeting People vs. Getting Links – Social networking is about making human links while social media is about getting website links.

Hopefully, knowing the difference between social networking and social media will help you decide which combination of the two will work best for your business. Please! Let me know fi you have any questions!

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SEO Basics: Every Page Is Your Home Page

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Business owners tend to assume that when a potential client does a search on Google or Yahoo and clicks on their website, they wind up on the home page. Sorry. That’s rarely the case.

While your house might have one front door, each page of your website is a front door to your business. Why? The search engines don’t really care what page you want people to land on. What they care about is what page on your site is most pertinent to the searcher. NEWS FLASH! Many times the most pertinent search result page is not your home page.*

So if each page of your website is a front door, what information do they need to have?
• Each webpage needs to be able to get to the main areas of your site. Make sure you have basic navigation on each page.
• Each webpage needs to indicate to the visitor who you (and your company) are.• Each web page needs to make it easy for people to contact you.
• If your customers are local, you need to have your address on each page.

So how do you make each page your home page? Look at each page of your website individually and ask yourself “If a first time website visitor landed on this page, would they get the information they looking for?”

Looking at each page as if it were your home page will go a long way to making your website more user friendly, help your website rank better and will help make it easier for people to contact you.

* Not sure what your home page is, it’s the one you land on when you go to www.yourdomainname.com.

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oh great… The Spammers Found Twitter

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

I get a handful of people signing up to follow me on Twitter each week. It’s kind of flattering (Some one cares what I think!) but it also occurred to me that following people is a pretty good Guerilla marketing tactic. Why? Because when you sign up to follow someone, they get an email that you’re following them. If you’re using Twitter, you’re probably using social networking and are curious to about who’s paying attention to you so you’re going to click on the link to check them out. And bang! You just played right into the hands of a spammer.

For a brief moment I thought I’d discovered “Twitter Spam” so I decided to Google Twitter spam and realized someone (or many people) had already discovered it, named it and created a website around it. I’m not kidding. Check out www.TwitterSpam.com.

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Tips for Creating a Social Networking Profile

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Your social networking profile is important. People visiting your profile are making conclusions about you and your business from very little information. Small things, like your picture (also known as your Avatar) and your email address can say a lot about you. Your bio and your company description will say even more about you. Don’t just throw your social networking profile together. Put the time and effort into creating a profile that’s informative and compelling. Doing so will make a huge difference in how you are perceived by your social network.

Every directory and social networking site wants slightly different stuff so it’s hard to say “This is exactly what you need.” But if you have the basics, you can edit or add as needed. The following is a list of information you will most likely be asked to add to your profile (assuming your profile is mainly for business purposes).

Components of a Social Networking Profile:

  • Screen name – Base it on your name or business name. “Cutesy” screen names make you look unprofessional.
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Website URL
  • Blog URL
  • Tagline
  • Email address – Use a professional email address not your personal email address. If you have a website, have your webmaster set up an email addresses at your domain name. It looks a lot more professional than a Yahoo or Comcast email address.
  • Thumbnail picture (aka Avatar) – Get a good headshot! Don’t have your kid or spouse line you up against the wall and take a photo. It’s unprofessional and can be downright scary. You don’t have to spend a fortune on professional pictures. I recommend going to a high school portrait photographer and asking them for a CD of the pictures.
  • Summary or Bio of different lengths – It is crucial that your summary or bio be well written. Don’t just throw it together on the fly! Spend some time working on it or get help with it. Tailor it to the audience of the specific social networking site.
  • Key words and phrases that describe your products or services. These are words your target markets would use to find you so be careful about using industry specific jargon.

Information you might need or want to include:

  • Education and job history – If you’re in a field where these types of credentials are important and you don’t mind disclosing them, go ahead but be mindful of how much information you’re giving out.
  • Recommendations or Testimonials – You do have these, right? Well put them on your profile! Show people this isn’t your first day on the job.
  • Interests or Hobbies – Remember; people are looking for information about who you are. Adding pertinent interests and hobbies can make you memorable.
  • Groups and Associations – Listing these adds to your credibility. If you have access to the group or association logo, add it if possible.

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Writing Captivating Case Studies

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Case studies are one of the bet selling tools a service business can use on their webiste. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked or just plain boring. Even when they follow the problem/solution/result format, they wind up leaving reader thinking “So what?”

I recently cam across an article, “The Secret To Writing Persuasive Case Studies” by Mark Levy that does an excellent job describing how to make your case studies stand out. He makes the case that the missing element is the “insight.” Mark makes the case that “By highlighting an insight in a case study, you’re underscoring how you think, create, strategize, and fix problems.” which I think is an exxcellent point.

I strongly recommend readin this article and then reviewing your own case studies. Also, check out Mark’s article “Two Strategies to Help Increase Your Fees by Up to 2,000%

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