Innersync Studio Blog

Social media offers value for organizations

July 27, 2009

Okay, every internet pundit and his brother are reminding us daily how Twitter and Facebook can be good for business. But just how? The tweets that seem to get the most attention are the ones getting pro athletes in trouble with their teams or leagues, or regurgitating celebrities' breakfast menus for their followings of fans. But less obvious, and quite effective in helping you register info and news designed to build and strengthen networks and relationships, are postings that you and others in your organization can begin using.

We've laid out our spin on it in the following tips: hard and fast reasons to begin incorporating these – and other – online social networks into your organization's m.o. When incorporated into your total online strategy, social media optimization presents undeniable opportunities and value for any organization.

1. It's the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to get the word out there about yourself and your business. Facebook and Twitter help you get found by people looking for you and those individuals in companies in related fields. For promoting events, your company blog, news, social media can be a natural extension of your marketing communications efforts. When using social media, try to couch your information in terms of newsworthiness rather than an advertisement. Share and educate, versus sell.

2. Ask any great sales and marketing professional, and he or she will tell you success is achieved by building relationships. Social media is all about that.  You can begin the proverbial 'conversation' with prospects and influencers through the interactive simplicity and immediacy afforded by Facebook, Twitter and other networks. You may spawn your own networks, that, with utilization of Web 2.0 technology and an up-to-date content management system, are getting increasingly simple to start and maintain.

3. Social media is a great way to test ideas and get feedback on a variety of topics. Ask for opinions, survey groups, get a discussion thread going, ask and answer questions: all helpful ways to begin a dialog with customers, prospects, employees and associates. You may not be an expert on a topic, but if you can answer someone's question or point them to a solution, you are positioning yourself nicely as an authority. And don't be afraid to ask for help.  Some great synergy can be spawned when people can help out each other.

4. Don't forget the social graces of online social networking. With the shorthand, abbreviated, 140-character pace at which online communications moves, it's wise not to lose track of plain ol' common sense and business etiquette. Yes, the line separating our personal and business lives is getting blurrier by the moment, but don't get sloppy and forget to follow up or extend courtesies where and when they need to – which is more often than not.

5. Last tip: Keep it up. Like any content on the web, if it's not fresh and consistent, it's likely not going to be helpful or held in high regard.

Factor these fundamentals into your online marketing efforts, and you'll start creating greater value with a 'social media optimized' web strategy.

 

Tags: Facebook , online social network , social media optimization , social networking , Twitter , web 2.0 , web content management

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COMMENTS

Nice post.I agree it really helps me.Thanks for the creator of this social media.Awesome guys! Britney
abbotsford real estate 6:15AM 11/16/10

Search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that work PART 1

April 21, 2009

If you are not taking advantage of some SEO basics to make the most of your web site, you are not alone. Some organizations are too wrapped up with the bells and whistles of their sites, and not concerned enough about the content foundation upon which their sites are built. We have learned that your site is only worth as much as the connections it makes, which is why we take SEO very seriously. Building a web site optimized for search engine friendliness and usefulness is not as complicated as you might think. 

Pay to play

One way to employ SEO is through sponsored words, in which you pay the going rate for the keywords that support your marketing goals. The other is through pages that are "organically" found through search results: pages that are populated with just the right words, phrases and links that feed the world's most powerful search engines. Both strategies – whether paying for sponsorship or paying someone to create and maintain your SEO – require a financial commitment, but we've found the organic route to be an increasingly 'budget-friendly' alternative to Pay Per Click (PPC). You may be dealing with a site that is hard to work with for "organic SEO" and revert to the easy way by using Adwords which is the PPC internet advertising model. This $11 billion industry allows you to get results fast, but it can get to be quite expensive outbidding your competition for keywords.

Go organic and get your marketing budget healthy

We like to focus on organic rankings because they provide more of a long-term strategy, and you are not on the hook to be in an auction for keywords. In addition to having better quality visits – that is, users who stay on the site longer and get the information they need – organic rankings are perceived as a more legitimate sources as web surfers get more savvy and specific with their searches. Some people, frankly, put less faith in sponsored listings than compared to organic search results.

Fighting to get to the top in the organic search maze requires a lot of factors, but the most important is to have content that is focused on your keyword phrases. For example, Google loves sites that are updated frequently, and it gives you points for new content. By adding a news release, blog or some other fresh content once a month can help move you up in the ranking. 

SEO TIPS

Rules of thumb for making sure you are making the most of your site content:

Use good page titles, headings and file names

Think of your content being in a hierarchy that starts from the page title (shows up in the browser bar) all the way to the bottom of the page. Keep your focus on the content from the top down, incorporating keyword phrases in the page title, heading (H1) in the copy that follows. If you have your key phrases in the page title and heading, you have the most important things where they belong. Always keep in mind, this needs to be readable, and making compelling copy with the keyword phrases sometimes requires compromise between creativity and searchability.  Seek content specialists who can weave these functions artfully.

Example of a page optimized for "Fishing Worms"

Page Title: Fishing worms from Bobby's Bait & Tackle Shop

Heading: Fishing worms and other bait that help you catch the big one

Page name: Fishing-worms.html

First paragraph: Bobby has been delivering the best fishing worms this side of the Ohio RIver....

Meta-data

Meta-data: the red-headed stepchild of web development that does not get any attention until someone brings it up. We like to focus on "Description" and "Keywords" and try our best to make them unique and readable. Some say search engines do not pay attention to the them but there are two things keep in mind. First, when you look at the Google results page, the "Page Title" and "Meta-Description" are visible, so if you want someone to click your link, it is wise to write something interesting or inviting. Second, Google Webmaster Tools bark at you if you do not have good meta-data. So add good meta-data, and keep in mind, the "Description" copy is what shows up below the title, so make sure it complements the page title without repeating it.

Anchor Links

This one is pretty simple and straightforward. As you look at the content on your site, use the keyword phrases as links. For example, instead of using the term "learn more" for a link, try using keywords like "learn more about fishing worms." If you can get anchor links on the home page, that adds even more points. Try to fit anchor links into the first or second paragraph of a new release or blog. That way, if the content is aggregated to other sites, you will gain points for an anchor back-link to your site.

Inbound links (aka backlinks)

Our SEO specialist friends at Purple Trout tell us how important it is to have links to your site to improve SEO rankings. When Google – the godfather of knowledge bases – recognizes when a legitimate site has a link to your site, it rewards you with better status. The more backlinks from outside sites, the better it is for your site indexing.

For starters, submit your site to DMOZ open directory project, ZoomInfo business directory and Yahoo! Directory Listings. Yahoo! is $300 annually but it is worth the money for the back-linking. If it is local business, make sure it gets back-linked on local chamber of commerce sites and other local directories. Next, see if there are any directories that show up on the keyword phrases you are focusing on, you may find some that are easy and free to submit your site.

Look at social networks as increasingly important places into which you can pump your links. The more networks you can share your site links to, the better. We focus on the popular ones: Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn. If you really want to centralize your social networking, add all your sites through Ping.fm, which allows you to post information through one account.

Tags: Marketing , search engine optimization , seo , web 2.0 , web content management

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COMMENTS

Those are some great solid tips for the many seo rookies out there.
BaySeo 3:44PM 05/16/09

Is this the year for Software as a Service?

February 16, 2009

Cloud computingLets face it, a bad economy is all about moving forward and spending less. In a good economy, the conditions are much more forgiving when you are gambling your investments. So where does cloud computing come in? It is the answer to many organizations trying to keep up with latest technology and not have a big up-front investment. The beauty of cloud computing is not just the savings but how fast the technology advances. Take a look at Facebook, it rocks, even the most unpopular dude in you high school class has 100 friends. Cloud computing is finding its way into organizations because it is cheap in comparison to installed software solutions and it evolves much faster. According to CNN.com "4 tech predictions for 2009," one of the four predictions is the advancement of cloud computing.

Organizations are now recognizing that the price of buying and maintaining software/hardware is just not cost-effective if there is a good alternative. The web is moving rapidly and our culture is changing. I just heard the slang term, "computer potato" and before long it will probably beat out couch potato in usage. Employees are now living their personal lives through social "freemiums" and organizations are looking for ways to tap into Web 2.0 technology to leverage that power.

Cloud computing represents an estimated $36 billion in the business market and 13% of global sales, and it is moving up, not down. This shift in thinking is a really big deal. We are facing extraordinary times and we may require a culture change on how we do business. Here at Innersync, we have been running a cloud for about 1 1/2 years and it is paying off. Our goal is to provide powerful, positive experiences to our customers, so we need to evolve our technology as easy and as quickly as possible. The cloud concept is the way we achieve this. One update, many users, one time.

As an example of this trend, recently San Francisco-based Genentech Inc. embraced Google Apps and is spending an estimated $800,000 annually (based on $50 per user) with Google compared to $70 million for a data center. And that did not include the rent-a-cops to watch the green protesters or the people to manage it. What does this mean? Technology is coming of age and people are weighing the options. I would think this is great concept even if I didn't make a living with this stuff. I am simple, give me a choice of affordable, evolving technology or a costly software/hardware implementation and I am going to base my decision on the end result with the best value.

Web 2.0 has taken on such a life of its own and it is so amazing how it has brought people together. When I think of the evolution of web technology, it is not the Microsoft model of installing software updates on a million computers. It is concepts like Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the others goodies we all love to use. I was talking to our friend Brock Brown who manages several technology companies, and he said "I do all my work in the cloud, so I can get by with less expensive software and hardware options. This cost savings is then passed on to my client base." So why would you think of any other way for your organization? When we think of schools that are struggling with budget cuts, we think they have cloud computing written all over them. Put a $200 laptop in every kids' hand and set them up with collaborative web publishing. Call your work done.

The moral of the story is that if you like great technology that brings people together, keeps CPU's running cool and lets you focus on the results vs. your investment, then maybe cloud computing is the answer for you.

Tags: cloud computing , Social media , web content management

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COMMENTS

Accepting the cloud is definitely a step in the right direction. Although the cloud is not the best fit for every scenario, its important to recognize this as a viable option in the right situations. In addition to the overall cost savings, there may also be specific cost reductions with regards to supporting an application that is hosted.
Bill Palmer 1:47PM 03/05/09
Good point, Gavin. I'm glad you voiced it because, maybe it's not safe to assume anymore that people will adopt and implement technology "responsibly" for lack of a better term. Of course, when it's used as needed, it can work well. But if others are jumping full-force on to the bandwagon just out of fear of falling behind, disaster can ensue.
allmorgan 1:34PM 02/17/09
I think if people phase the cloud in, rather than jump in feet first, and find where it fits and doesn’t, they will over time move more and more that direction.
Gavin Durman 8:36AM 02/17/09

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