What is the importance of social media?

Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in Social Media Marketing | Comments Off on What is the importance of social media?

Web 2.0, social networking, blogs, forums, wikis, videos, photo sharing or any other type of social media share common characteristics and elements. The Social Media Marketing (SMM) phenomena is quite different from traditional media marketing and website advertising. You can find millions of conversations happening every day through various social media channels. This is all done by a highly involved audience that engages and interacts around focused topics. Why Social Media is important Conversations Social Media is all about interactive conversations. Traditional media usually broadcasts a message to hear and not responded to. This has changed drastically from an advertising message to service and product discussions. Consumers today want to respond, discuss and give their own opinions and not just marketed to. Share information Social Media is a great way to share information, stories, opinions, videos and photos. This is the norm in Social Media and it should be done with openness. There is easy access to online content where password protected content is the norm. The interactive nature of social media encourages participation, feedback and publishing. It is active Social Media Marketing is active and you are no longer just a reader without the authority to participate in the discussion. When people ask for help, other will chime in. “I’m working on a project and I’m stuck at this point…” The separation between reader and writer is gone. Online communities Social communities can be found on all sorts of social media forms around common needs and interests. People participate and form these virtual online communities around occupational interests, hobbies, political beliefs or philosophies. Connections It is quite easy to build upon or recycle conversations and content. Always link to other websites, people and resources to make the access of information faster. Build trust People participate and interact because of the trust level that comes with social media. Open and honest communication is at the core of social media and with this comes trust and confidence in what is being said and broadcasted over the web. Creativity Content generated by other users makes it possible for the average person to join and participate. It is really easy to share, publish and create original content and videos. This is quite different from the days of traditional media and marketing where only a few provided what we read and watched. Social Media in all it’s forms is here to stay for a long time and it’s important that your business takes part in this phenomena. Don’t be left behind when your competitors are already using it to broadcast their message and increase their brand exposure with Social...

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Attention SME’s! Make Use of Social Media

Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in Social Media Marketing | Comments Off on Attention SME’s! Make Use of Social Media

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to escape the Social Media phenomenon. Whether you’re using it to keep in touch with friends and relatives, for search, to find out what your favourite celebrity has been up to or for business; Social Media has indeed taken the world by storm. If you’re not using it for business then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. And no, I’m not talking about big businesses. In any case the ‘Coke’s’, ‘McDonalds’ and ‘Ford’s’ are all over Social Media – and they’re using it well. In this post I am talking to SME’s and small businesses. When leveraged correctly, Social Media can be a valuable source for small businesses in terms of: Lead Generation Brand Awareness Online Reputation Management Customer Relations Customer Retention How your Small Business can start taking advantage of Social Media Ignoring what people are saying about your small business online can be fatal. Up until recently Hello Peter was the best online channel to report/praise service in South Africa. Now there’s a plethora of other online avenue’s consumers can pursue to voice their likes and dislikes – and all this information is publicly available so don’t let it become a missed opportunity. And even if they’re not talking about your business you should be staying abreast of what others in your industry are saying in Social Media. As a small business owner it has become your responsibility to use the nits of public information available to you so that you can: Build long-standing relationships with your customers Improve your service to them Enhance your products and services … Think about how easy market research has become for you because of Social Media. Keep your Social Media Activities Simple Finding the right way to execute your Social Media Strategy can be daunting especially with the big brands already pushing the limits of what’s possible. That said, many of the big companies that are actively engaged with Social Media Marketing often forget that it’s the simple gestures that work best. What are ‘Simple Social Media Gestures’ you ask? Start by acknowledging customers that mention you. For example, did someone tweet about their experience at your restaurant? Perhaps they shared a story about your small business on Facebook. These actions take place in the public domain and must be addressed as an opportunity to connect with an existing customer or a prospect. Make them feel special via Social Media platforms. It worked on me. A few months ago I booked a cheap flight from Johannesburg to Durban on Mango airlines. I mentioned the deal in a Tweet directed at Travelstart (a South African travel agency who are very active on Social Media). They responded saying “@russell_jarvis awesome stuff mate! Loving the mango and @Travelstart!” Needless to say I’ve used Travelstart the last 2 times I’ve flown. Check them out on Twitter – they’re a small business in South Africa doing some amazing things with Social Media. As a small business your size is actually a huge advantage when it comes to Social Media Marketing. Strive to respond to every person that mentions you on Social Media channels. This is something large company’s battle to...

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Use your blog for a press room

Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in Blogging | Comments Off on Use your blog for a press room

By adding a press room section to your website is a very important part of any PR campaign. This usually becomes a valuable resource centre for reporters and interested parties. Your online press room offers your users everything that they need to know about your company and business including executive biographies, background information and other contact information for the company PR contact. What platform? By using a blogging platform such as WordPress, you can create an online press room that is very easy to maintain and update. The RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed connected to your blog will broadcast your press releases to the web to make it possible so that it is seen by many people giving your PR campaign even more exposure. There’s a growing number of reporters, editors and journalists that are reading blogs on a daily basis. Link Magnet Your online press room will be a natural link magnet since many other blogs and other Web 2.0 channels will notice your stories and link back to them as a resource reference in their blog posts and articles. The key to making this work is to publish only stories that are truly newsworthy and insightful. You can submit your online press room (blog) articles on popular press release websites for more exposure. Online Press Room When you are setting up your WordPress blog to use for your online press room, the focus should always be in your news releases. These can consist of full blog entries. If you are going to publish many press releases, customize your WordPress blog template to only list the date and title of each release. You can setup categories such as company news, industry news, new products, services, etc and file releases by category. In addition to the full blog entries, create pages that are full of resources for reporters and journalists to gain as much background information about your company and business. These pages will make it easier for the media to create stories about your business. Areas that you can include on these pages: FAQ section File photos to download Biographies of key company officers A list of recent news stories Fact sheets about your services and products Resources for industry information Contact information for the PR...

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Best Internet Marketing Companies in Toronto

Posted by on Jun 12, 2010 in Business Opportunity | Comments Off on Best Internet Marketing Companies in Toronto

I just enjoy working for the best Internet Marketing company in the World. Here I am with some great friends that I have met playing golf on a day when South Africa is playing in the opening Soccer World Cup match against Mexico. For those of you who know Doug Schust, he arranged the golf day for the local Toronto Internet Consultants. So while I was looking around the table I realized the depth of experience that we have collectively as a group of WSI Franchisees. When we pull together we can take on large projects with confidence and through the use of our exclusive Solution Centers we are kept up to date with the latest in Internet Marketing technologies. Once again this blog post is in preparation for my Digital Marketing Training and one of the exercises is using Social media optimization to supplement your search engine results. I will post this blog during our social media session and see how quick Google indexes this post on the best Internet Marketing company in Toronto, or should I say the world. Regards...

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Use Social Media to get targeted traffic

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in Social Media Marketing | Comments Off on Use Social Media to get targeted traffic

Yesterday we did a blog post – Use Social Media and Internet Marketing for traffic. This post is a follow-up and focusses only on how to get traffic with Social Media. By increasing targeted traffic to your website or blog can mean more business leads and more sales. More visitors to your website means that there are more people to look and learn about the products and services that you offer. Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a great way to get more targeted visitors to your online profile. How do you use Social Media effectively to make it work for you? In order to get the best results with Social Media you need to build trust by offering value and interacting with people. This doesn’t mean that you should just focus on one way conversations but rather discussions. It’s all about building relationships. How to get involved with social media Targeting: Blogs, Social networks and forums are generally specific to a particular subject. Research which ones you will use. Participate and be active on sites related to your market and niche. These sites will be the places where you can find targeted customers. Participate: Always be an active participant and part of the online community. You can interact and become known to others. Be involved and post regularly. If you don’t have the time to commit to this, find someone else in your organization that will take this on. To be successful with social media takes time and dedication but the time spent on this can often out weigh the costs (time) involved. Blogging: I believe a blog is an essential part for any Social Media Marketing campaign. Write about topics that will interest your ideal customer and what they will find informative. If what you write on your blog is fresh, important and original, you will attract both the attention from links and other bloggers. Building links: Links from blogs and other Social Media (Web 2.0) sites are very valuable in building your search engine rankings. Original and informative posts will serve as linkbait which can drive your search engine rankings higher. Build authority: By interacting and participating on social networks and forums, you will build a reputation as an expert in your field. People always prefer and like to do business with people that they know and respect. To be honest, there’s really not a single golden rule to make use of Social Media. The key to be successful with Social Media is to get involved and to network with other people. This can pay your business with increased prospects, customers and...

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The Google Caffeine update is live at last!

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in Google | Comments Off on The Google Caffeine update is live at last!

After months of testing small bits of this massive update to the Google search engine algorithm, the Google Caffeine update is officially live. On 8 June 2010, Google announced this on their official blog – Our new search index: Caffeine The first time I heard of this big update was back in 2009 when they announced that they are planning this major update to their search engine  – Help test some next-generation infrastructure Google is steering towards more social media involvement (Google Buzz, Google Wave, etc) and you might have noticed a couple of beta tests taking place over the last couple of months when doing searches on this popular search engine. So what is this Google Caffeine update? With Caffeine, we analyse the web in small portions and update our search index on a continuous basis, globally. As we find new pages, or new information on existing pages, we can add these straight to the index. That means you can find fresher information than ever before—no matter when or where it was published. Caffeine lets us index web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. Caffeine takes up nearly 100 million gigabytes of storage in one database and adds new information at a rate of hundreds of thousands of gigabytes per day. You would need 625,000 of the largest iPods to store that much information; if these were stacked end-to-end they would go for more than 40 miles – Our new search index: Caffeine Video from Matt Cutts explaining this...

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Use Social Media and Internet Marketing for traffic

Posted by on Jun 10, 2010 in Social Media Marketing | Comments Off on Use Social Media and Internet Marketing for traffic

The online world has changed our methods of doing things in the last couple of years. What most likely took a phone call a few years ago, can now be done on the web instantly as a wealth of information is available to everyone at any time. The internet is the greatest and biggest marketplace in the world. Businesses starting out as well as large global businesses needs to have a presence on the web. Internet Marketing Internet marketing is much more effective cost wise than traditional marketing. Don’t get me wrong, traditional marketing is still a great way for brand publishing. Internet marketing can provide so much more than just letting people know about your business. With Internet marketing you can get instant targeted visitors, sales leads, business leads etc. The power of internet marketing is that you can track every penny that you spend on it directly. Many businesses have reduced their marketing budgets and used the remaining money to invest into new websites, ppc (pay per click), blogging and social media marketing. They do this so that they can track their money spent into sales money. Internet marketing is expected to grow by 21% annually through to 2012. Compare this to traditional marketing where advertising revenues are expected to decrease by 1.4% annually over the same period. This indicates that more and more businesses are realising the potential of internet marketing. The internet is all about information. A successful website gives the visitor exactly what they are looking for. It answers their questions right away and gives them a means to take action. Website as a business tool A website is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to present your message to targeted customers. Your customers will judge your company on the strength of your message and the uniqueness of your content. It should build credibility and trust to encourage action. Social Media Marketing Businesses have been using social media primarily as a general communications tool mostly for public relations and marketing. That’s about to change as businesses discover its value as an essential tool for customer engagement and providing lead generation, immediate customer contact, and customer interaction. Find below a couple of benefits of Social Media Marketing: It is natural: You can get natural links without any discernible pattern. Exposing Your Website: Your website can be exposed to large groups of people Social Communities: Social communities can be a great source of website traffic additional to what you are receiving from the Search Engines. Social media traffic can be very easily controlled through strategic marketing. High Return Rate: If done by yourself, costs are limited to only time and the benefits will often exceed the cost. It would take you thousands of dollars to buy many links; social media has the ability to give you that for free. Internet marketing together with Social Media Marketing is where a business is putting their focus for the future. The internet is ever evolving so it is a right choice staying ahead of the competition. We are in a digital age transitioning from traditional...

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Digital Media Training for WSI in Toronto

Posted by on Jun 9, 2010 in Business Opportunity | 1 comment

This week I will be presenting a number of Digital Media Training sessions with other trainers at WSI’s headquarters in Toronto. It is going to be an action packed week for the new intake of WSI Franchisees  from all over the world and I look forward to meeting them. I remember quite clearly when I did my initial training in November 2003. I was excited about starting my new venture as I had just come out of the corporate world in South Africa. It has been hard work till now but it has all paid off. My business is doing well and we are fortunate enough to be in an industry that is changing and growing rapidly. I really enjoy the continuous learning that this business offers as it keeps my job interesting and by being part of the WSI network I get the opportunity to meet other successful Internet Consultants and attend training sessions by them. That is the real value of investing into this WSI franchise. This week the Digital Marketing training sessions will cover solutions that WSI Internet Consultants can offer their clients and they are categorized in 3 parts: Lead Generation Online Credibility Client/Prospect Communication These are the 3 things that every business needs and especially so if their competitors are online. In Lead Generation we cover: Paid search marketing Organic Search, known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Social Media marketing Content marketing In Online Credibility we cover: A professional “About Us” page Social media profiles every business should engage in Blogging to demonstrate “thought leadership” and develop credibility Preparing your Google “CV” Content Marketing that creates an asset out of your website In Client/Prospect Communication we cover: Email marketing so that you can stay in “touch” and “Top of Mind” Blogging as an alternative to distributing news Building your database list using whitepaper marketing This is what we will cover in the first 5 days, so if you are a new WSI Franchisee you are in for a good learning session this week. Then on the weekend the Internet Consultants will attend a two day sales training workshop from Marvin Himel. Marvin has been instrumental in developing the sales process for all new WSI Franchisees. At the moment I am in transit in Frankfurt Airport after a 10 hour flight so what better way to pass the time than by writing this blog post. The objective of this blog post is to demonstrate how quickly one can get indexed in Google for specific and relevant keywords. In this post we are targeting “Digital Marketing training in Toronto” as the “Long Tail” phrase. Our blog posts normally rank very well and quite quickly and although I am writing this using Windows Live Writer (offline) I will only post 1 hour before we do the blogging session. I hope that this blog post will be picked up by Google and indexed and presented on the 1st page to prove the power of blogging. Well that’s it for this digital media training in Toronto blog post and we hope to get a page one ranking within an hour of posting. Kind regards...

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The online shift towards social media

Posted by on Jun 9, 2010 in Social Media Marketing | Comments Off on The online shift towards social media

The online viewing public has moved towards social media and trust based social networks. Business marketing is following this trend as millions of conversations are happening online everyday. This creates a highly involved public that interacts and engages around focused topics. Businesses that takes advantages of this shift into social media has the ability to connect with targeted audiences and reap the benefits of increased business leads, sales and brand awareness. Businesses ignoring this shift needs to re-visit their marketing assumptions to take advantage of this online evolution towards social media marketing (SMM) and Web 2.0 Social Media Marketing is different than traditional marketing methods Businesses needs to clearly understand that Social Media Marketing (SMM) is quite different to traditional old school marketing. SMM is about sharing and publishing valuable content, building trust and relationships. It’s never about selling directly. SMM allows you to build and promote your presence on social media channels and through these channels and tools you can promote your brand. These social media tools includes blogs, micro blogs, Wikis, social networks, social bookmarking sites, discussion forums and more. Each of these tools has their own strategies and rules of engagement that needs to be developed for your social media marketing strategy and campaign. By using these social media tools to promote your presence, you can have access to audiences with shared viewpoints and interests. The popular social media channels includes Twitter, MediaPress, StumbleUpon, Digg, LinkedIn and YouTube with new ones springing up everyday. What you can expect from doing SMM? Targeted visitor traffic to your blog and website. Brand recognition. Backlinks that can help you with your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. Increased business leads and sales. The ability to interact and engage with future...

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Make a website work effectively for you by understanding how it works!

Posted by on Jun 8, 2010 in Business Opportunity | Comments Off on Make a website work effectively for you by understanding how it works!

Let people and’ Search Engines’, know that your business exists and what it does. Have keywords on your site that people will use firstly to find you, then you need to create a resource site with pertinent information that will keep them coming back to your website says Jamie MacLeod, WSI Internet Marketing Consultant. Here are a few tried and tested tips that will work for your business: Provide lots of valuable information on your website. Customers need to have a reason to come to you. “If they believe that you are a knowledgeable source of information, they will come. Provide enough information Establish yourself as knowledgeable about your product or service.” Include both articles and blogs as this keeps you fresh and topical. “You can comment about things on a timely basis and establish yourself as an expert in the field.” Enable customer input. Let users have their say. Don’t dominate the conversation, Allow comments on blog entries. Establish a bulletin board so they can communicate with one another. Fill orders on a timely basis. Assure that ordering is fast, easy and available. At 2 a.m., on weekends, holidays or while out of town, a customer should be able to come to your store and do business. Online stores enjoy a huge advantage, they can offer a lot more items, and a wider assortment, without having to lease retail or warehouse space, or clutter up the basement of a home. Use “drop shipping” to fulfill orders. Instead of carrying inventory, simply forward the customers’ order to the manufacturer or wholesaler, which then ships directly to the customer. Your profit is the difference between wholesale and retail pricing. Marketing your website won’t be easy. “If you think you have trouble getting people to know about your bricks-and-mortar store, wait till you get online”. The challenge is to distinguish your website from all of the others and convince them to use YOUR SERVICES. Lay down a footprint. Your target market should run across a reference to your website in as many channels as possible — the community, professional organizations, other websites, the media, social networking sites and on search engines. Practice ‘search-engine’ optimization. ” The idea is to get your website to appear on the first  search engine’s results pages so people will see it, and more importantly click through to your site. Most people aren’t in the habit of clicking past the first few search-results. “If you are not on the first couple of pages, you are just not there.” The key to search-engine optimization is in using effective tags, or terms, to describe your business or product, he said. “The big thing is to know what customers call your product, not necessarily what you call it. If you use that precise term, you are much more likely to pop up in a search. Ask for a content management system so that you have control of the content, and you can update it regularly. You can move things around, add things, get rid of old information.” It’s not complicated software and most people can learn it easily nowadays as it has become much more user friendly Keep your site fresh. Constantly updating it. “If the content doesn’t change, there’s no reason for people to come back. There’s nothing new.”...

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