Social Media – SMO

Optimizing your Author Profile in Google+ for better Google Results

Your Google Plus profile is used for much more that just the About page, it is also used by Google as your Author Profile.  This is how Google knows what and where your contribute in the form of blogs, tweets, and other social networks.  You can help Google get it right and find all of your content and correctly attribute to you by adding links and other details to your profile.    Google Plus Profile and Privacy Settings  You can see how your Google+ Profile would look in search results by visiting this link: https://www.google.com/settings/privacy Notice you have 3 links that show up underneath your name.  This is a great way to market yourself or any other links of interest related to you or your company.  However, which 3 links? How does Google choose? Well…it’s sort of cryptic… In Google+ there are 3 groups of links where you can add and edit in your profile: “Other profiles”, “Contributor to” and “Links”.  Google grabs the first 3 of one of these groups links to show up, exactly as formatted, under your Profile.  Mine is shown below: It’s easy to add and edit links to each group, click on the group you want to edit, then just click and move the ones you want visible to the top of the list…but which list? Well apparently Google uses the LAST edited list, besides the one you just saved. So if you move links around and change things in “Links”, it will use “Other profiles”. If you change “Other Profiles”, it will use “Links”. Strange, and I am not sure this is implemented as Google intended but it is a quick way to show relevant websites to your author profile.  To be safe I recommend having the first three links on all 3 of your lists important ones you would want to show up on your profile. Also, don’t forget to make those links public or they wont show up!

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Simple and Effective Social Media-Network Community Management for Small Businesses

One of the biggest challenges in implementing a social media campaign for small and mid size businesses is community management.  We constantly here “I don’t have time”, which is often true for small business owners, or “this is going to take too much time”.  This causes to many small business owners to give up on social media sometimes before they even start, or abandoning their social networks and letting it all sit unattended.  If you have not yet developed a social media strategy this should be step one.   Below we have outlined a simple plan for small business owners to manage their own social networks.  For many business owners there simply not enough time in the day to do it all or more than likely your time is spent better doing something else.  While this is true, social media is an important part of your digital marketing campaign and SEO program it still must get done.  For those that do not want to manage their own social media we have outlined how to hire a community manager or outsource it.   Managing Your Communities Social media is all about engagement and interaction and to be successful it is essential that you consistently interact with and contribute to the community.  One way posts and unattended social media accounts are not effective and in fact can even harm your brand.   Mega Brands have must constantly monitor their social networks because there is so much going on for a brand the size of Best Buy, ATT, or Comcast.  Small businesses don’t need to constantly their  networks, which can make their job easier.  For your small business social networks checking in a couple of times a day is adequate, and in fact if you do this you will be better than most, but it is vital that you do monitor your social networks and contribute.  Checking Posts and Responding: develop a daily routine Checking and responding to posts daily is an absolute must.  Once you get the hang of this it goes quickly and only takes a few minutes.  If it takes longer then you have a lot going on and that is great!   Facebook: check comments and respond if required at least daily, twice a day preferred.   Google Plus: check comments and respond if required at least daily, twice a day preferred. Twitter: check @messages (aka mentions) at least twice daily, checking # hashtags for your industry and responding or contributing is a great way to build followers and develop your brand.  Follow back new followers at your discretion.  Posting to Your Communities  Posting content and contributing is perhaps the most important part of community management.  Naturally you will post your own blogs as they are published and perhaps re-share some old ones, however a great social media campaign is not just all about you and your brand.  Curating great content from other sources in your industry delivers information and value to your users and makes your social networks much more interesting.  BUT make sure the content you share is news worthy and interesting, if you have nothing interesting to say then say nothing.   Facebook: 2 to 3 posts per week is great for most B2B and B2C small businesses and you do not want to post more than once a day.  If you are in entertainment this may be different depending on what is going on at the moment.   Google Plus: daily posts are great, you can post more often on Google Plus but we highly advise to only do so if it is interesting content.     Twitter: Twitter is real time so you can post here much more frequently.  Posting relevant industry news is great for Twitter and you can post this several times a day although this is not a must.  LinkedIn: while LinkedIn is still not as active as Facebook with regard to content and sharing, the new format has increased this activity and you definately want to post your content here as a minimum.  We also recommend posting high quality relevant articles on LinkedIn, but do so sparingly, no more that 2 to 3 times per week.   Hire a Community Manager or Firm Another option is to hire a community manager, either a firm or individual, to handle your social media for you.  Social Media has become so integral with our SEO strategy that we now include Community Management with some of our SEO programs.  Below are some suggestions of what to look for in a community manager.   What to look for in a Community Manager or firm Experience: managing Facebook and Google Plus pages.  This is a must, there is a huge difference between chatting with friends on your personal Facebook or Google Plus profile and managing a company’s page from both a technical standpoint and interaction standpoint.  Make sure they have done this before, they know it and they are good at it. Writing Style-Ability: When they post content it will be as your brand so make sure they have good writing skills and a style that is appropriate for your brand. Common Sense: this firm or person will be managing your social network brand identity on your behalf and it is essential that they have good judgement and common sense if something happens.  Communication: it is important to have good communication between you and your community manager.  You need to be able to rely on them  to keep you informed.  Likewise you must keep them informed about what is going on in your business, new and interesting developments, and what you want.  Keep them informed!  Consistency: you must be able to rely on your community manager to consistently check posts, respond and contribute posts on your agreed schedule.  

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Developing an Effective Social Media Campaign for Small-Mid Size Businesses

It is pretty much an accepted fact that every business must have some kind of social media presence.  While all agree that small and mid size businesses (SMBs) should have a social media campaign there is little guidance on exactly what that entails and what it should be. Social media networks are in what is referred to as “the cloud” today which really means that they reside on servers on the internet and are accessible pretty much anywhere there is an internet connection.  Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus are daily destinations for most users and in addition to the personal chatter many use these networks for sharing news, discussions, as well as getting information on brands and products.  Cloud SeedingSM; Planting Your Content in the Right Places Cloud Seedingsm is our SEO and SMO strategy that pushes content into the Cloud and onto social networks.  The idea behind this is to have quality content about your product or service posted on a variety of social networks.  There are two reasons we advocate what we call Cloud Seeding, first and foremost is to reach customers and prospective clients with engaging and useful content and to develop your brand.  Secondly, there is a definite SEO benefit from having quality content in a variety of places. The SEO value of this content varies widely for each network.  For example, Pinterest is hugely popular right now and can drive traffic, BUT Pinterest posts have zero SEO value as all of the links are “No Follow” links which means that Google and Bing spiders will not index these links.  From an SEO standpoint Pinterest links are effectively invisible.  Google Plus remains a fraction of the size of Facebook, but Plus 1’s, shares, and posts on Google Plus are a definite SEO boost.  While Facebook links do not count for link building, most agree that Likes help and have an SEO boost.  So while the direct value of social links may be lower than other links (for now), there is an indirect SEO benefit and a definite traffic and brand building benefit to a social media campaign with rich content. Get your Social Media and Cloud Seeding Campaign rolling! What Content Goes Where Website: content specifically about your products and services. Blog Posts: Your blog is a great place to talk about “how to” use your products, share customer success stories (as long as they deliver value to the reader), and provide insightful content relevant to your industry and area of expertise.  It is vital that your blog provide useful and interesting information and is not a sales pitch. Facebook & Google Plus: Your blog posts should be shared here and in addition share relevant posts from other sources such as news media, industry publications etc. Many users will see your Facebook and G+ posts in their stream so it is important to make your posts interesting, useful, fun, and most of all ZERO spam.  For B2B and most B2C brands we recommend posting no more than once a day, for many posting 2 to 3 times per week is adequate.  Brands in the entertainment sector can post more frequently. Twitter: the stream on Twitter is like a live news feed and the rules are very different here.  Treat Twitter like a real time discussion.  Posting your blogs here is a great idea and in fact you should repost them at different times as those on Twitter at 6PM did not likely see the link to your latest blog you posted at 9:15 AM this morning – but don’t go crazy and spam it.  It’s also great to share information relevant to your industry from a range of other sources.  Don’t assume that your Twitter followers saw today’s post on your Facebook page, they are often different users or may not have seen it. Pinterest: although Pinterest has zero SEO value it drives traffic.  Pinterest is not content driven, it is image driven.  It is basically a digital scrapbook you can share.  If you are going to participate in Pinterest it is vital that you post about several topics and not just about your stuff.  If you have great pictures to share AND you are interested in sharing other pictures then Pitnerest is for you.  You can set up different Boards (categories) that interest you.  Be creative, diverse, and have fun with it. Social Bookmarking, Tumblr, Digg, etc: these social networks are much smaller, but the user bases are very active and share a more than most users.  This is a tougher group to engage. They are very savvy and mediocre content will be outed quickly and spammy content can result in outright rude remarks.  Make sure your content and posts here are very high quality and provide useful information.  How Social Networks Connect-Interact with Your Website Your website is the hub of your Digital Marketing content and your blog (part of your website) is a vital part of that hub.  The first step is to have a website  and blog rich with quality content that is useful and informative. Pay particular attention to the useful and informative part.  No one wants yet another sales pitch or a page of content droning on and on about how you are the leading widget manufacturer or your widgets are the best or the cheapest, save that dribble for TV or radio ads if you still run them. Website Content: this is your repository for product/service information. Make sure you have an Information Architecture that flow well and is easy to navigate. You should have individual pages for each major product or service. Blog: this is where you add detail, updates, and provide editorial insight into you products, organization and industry. Your blog content is pushed out to Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter, as well as your website. Facebook and Google Plus: blog content will get pushed out to Facebook and Google Plus, and posts may link or relate to specific products,events or past blogs. Youtube: if you have video then by all means share it on Youtube and then post it on Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter and even your blog if it is relevant.  In choosing videos to share make sure that they deliver value to the users and provide either useful information or they are entertaining.  If you have “how to” videos your customers will appreciate these, just make sure you share and post them in the right place and appropriately. Articles and Press Releases: articles are sometimes written for third party sites or blogs and this can be good for SEO if done right. It is vital that the content be unique – it absolutely cannot be duplicate or copied content, and it must be good quality content. These article sites or blogs will link back to your website or blog and in some cases social networks may link to these articles which help with the authority ranking of the articles.

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Your Password is Hack-able, How to Pick a Secure Password

John1984, cathy87, J4cksABc – are these the of passwords you find yourself using? If so you are definately hack-able, in fact your logins can be hacked fast! Despite what you may think, all three of those passwords are distinct, but very easy for a machine to guess. When creating an online profile, website, E-mail address or any other social media username and password, it is crucial that you pay attention to your password strength. Do you own a pizza business that is well known for providing the most delicious pepperoni? Having a password such as D3l1c10us would not be the best choice in mind. While to you it may seem rather clever and unique to the mind’s eye, it is easy for computers to guess.   Importance of safe passwords Besides the obvious reasons of why you would want a secure password, there are other reasons people are not aware of. Say you own a business application and were hacked – that hacker now has full control of your database and can now send all of your clients or employers information that can ruin your reputation. If they were to break into your website, they could temporarily or permanently shut the site down, leaving you scrambling for backups, if you have any. Sometimes hackers use your website to redirect the people to inappropriate or illegal pages which then leaves the original business owner with a headache, and feat of having to explain to his clients what has happened in hope his clients do not leave his business. Nowadays reputation is everything no matter who you are.   Knowing your password strength Your password strength provides you with a measure of effectiveness. What I mean by this, is it allows you to know how easy it would be a for a hacker to guess your password. Most websites, when creating your password, will provide you with a pictured image to show you the strength of your password to ensure that you create one that reaches a “Great” limit rather than “Poor.” Your aim is for a green sign, thumbs up, “good,” anything that makes you feel accomplished by creating the best password on the streets! The more characters, the better.   Understanding your password Now of course we all know that in the early times of internet, ones mind had the ability to replace letters with numbers such as E with a 3. Usernames and passwords were then known as being “clever” or shall I say c13v3r. Recent studies has shown that those passwords are no longer clever or effective. The diagram below shows the new knowledge of password strength. From: http://xkcd.com/936/ – Licensed via Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. Entropy, in this diagram is roughly saying that more characters increase password guessing time exponentially. What this diagram is showing you is that although you address yourself as being “master password maker” by creating passwords that involve a mixture of letters and numbers that even you yourself have difficulty remembering, it is not the best procedure. This is because you are generally going to create a short password so you can still remember all the funky letter to number combinations. You are actually making it easier for the hackers to access your account. Hackers realize that normally people will use a single word that is distinct to them, but they will change the letters into numbers or even turn the word into slang. For example they may change the word “girl” into “gurl.” Programs that use brute force attempts at guessing passwords have algorithms that guess common word and number combinations, as well as letter to number replacements. They do this by data mining your social media accounts and any other materials they can find about you on the web and other sources.   Tips for creating the best password To better ensure you create the safest password be sure to:  Be random! – Now of course you do not have to make it correcthorsebatterystaple like shown above but it does make it harder for the hacker to guess. They would never assume to put those four words together or even in that order. Those words may not even pertain to you, but that is just another reason for it to be the safest password. Make it long – The longer your password, the longer it takes to guess. Now this does not mean make it ABC1234578910. There is nothing random about that. You’d be surprised how many people have that as their actual password. Hackers will attempt most common passwords first. Make it silly, and irrelevant – Now I know you may be completely in love with your pet hamster named Roofus, but you may not want to include him in your password. Hackers that are interested in breaking into your account may know who you are and are fully aware that you are crazy about Roofus. They will try all the letters and numbers involved with the simple name. If you must use Roofus, do something creative and mix in multiple words such as roofusvisacoffeecontroller. Use 3 words or more words – By doing this you are making your password longer, easier for yourself to remember and causing a brute force attempt to require 3 or more times the dictionary words to guess. It omits having to remember whether or not you used a “3” or an “e” due to you being able to use proper grammar. Hackers don’t know if you used numbers, special characters or capital letters, they still have to go through all those options. You may decide to still use the numbers instead of letters, but keep in mind, to hackers, it makes no difference since most password systems now allow for all characters.   Avoid E-mail Spammers Now let’s say the hacker has either successfully hacked into your account, or by some other means is sending emails that we like to categorize as “Spam” from your domain.  As a business owner, this is one of the worst things that can happen to you. You, as the trusted business owner, are now sending e-mails with links to inappropriate websites that the hacker prefers leaving your clients confused, annoyed and frustrated. Here at Esotech we know the nightmare. We have seen it happen to clients. In response, we offer a package that causes emails sent by the attacker to be immediately flagged as spam, while leaving your legitimate emails unflagged. For more information on how we can help you avoid that nightmare from happening to you – contact us. Do not assume you are not important enough to hack. There are thousands of robots and hackers on the World Wide Web today and you could be the next victim if you do not ensure safety within your account. Allow this to make you rethink whether or not you want your password to be D3l1c10s or unicornsdancegrasspop.

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Plan Your Rebranding to Avoid De-Branding

Without careful planning and implementation your rebranding campaign can devolve into a de-branding campaign, diminishing your presence on the internet and social media, creating confusion with your customers.   After years of developing a brand sometimes a strategic decision is made to change the brand or create new brand and start a re-branding campaign.  Whatever the reasons for changing the brand, before you choose your new identity and launch your rebranding campaign there are several things to consider.   Before there were websites, domain names, and social networks rolling out a new brand was a bit more straightforward.  You picked a new name, made sure there were no copyright issues or companies using a similar name, set the creative team in motion to create new logos, letterhead, print materials and other media materials, and then rolled out your new brand through traditional media.  Rebranding required good  planning and execution, but it was much less complicated than today.  Let’s take a look at a brand launch gone bad and then how to do it right.   Netflix Qwikster – example of branding faux paux  A great recent example of a rebranding faux paux is Netflix roll out of Qwikster in 2011 and immediate retreat and euthanasia of the new brand.  It was bad enough that the new brand represented a thinly veiled price increase of 25% or more to users, but to make matters worse, or from the public’s perspective ironically funny, there was already a @qwikster Twitter account in use and the avatar was a pot smoking, obviously high, Elmo.  Needless to  say this was a short lived brand and very embarrassing epic fail for Netflix.    Netflix clearly demonstrated the need to do your homework and research before choosing a new brand name and launching it, lets take a look at some basic steps to avoid a Netflix brand fail Redux.   10 Steps to Prepare for Rebranding  Before you embark on a rebranding campaign to roll out your exciting new brand here are some steps to take to ensure your campaign is successful:  Google and Bing searches:  Some would think that the obvious first step is #2 below, obtain the domain name, but before you do that it is smart to see what turns up for your prospective name in Google and Bing searches.  We suggest you to both Google and Bing as they do turn up different results and we also recommend you go back several pages and do some variations on the search as well.   Domain Name (url) availability: Prior to choosing your new brand name, the most important step to take is to confirm and then purchase the domain name for your new brand.  In addition to purchasing the domain name you intend to use, make sure you check for obvious conflicts with similar domain names.   Facebook Page availability:  One you have your domain name purchased and it is under your control the next thing to check is availability of a Facebook Page with your new brand name.  Facebook Pages have a title and can have a custom url such as Facebook.com/newbrandname  There can be multiple Facebook Pages with the same title, but once the url is taken it is permanent and unavailable.  If the url for your new brand is available that’s great news, but you will not be able to obtain it until you create a new Page and have a minimum of 25 Likes.  If it is available you may want to create that new page, build it to 25 Likes and then lock down that url as soon as possible. Your current Facebook Page: If you have a current Facebook Page with a custom url you cannot change the url.  Once a custom url is set on Facebook it is permanent.  You also cannot “migrate” your Fans or Likes to a new Page.  The only way to get your existing Fans to the new Page is to place frequent posts about the new Page notifying them of the new page with a link.   Twitter handle (account name) availability:  As you saw in the Netflix example above, make sure the Twitter handles you want for your brand are available and if so set up accounts immediately to lock these down.     Pinterest:  Pinterest is still an emerging social network platform, but it is presently the fastest growing, and even if you don’t have a presence on Pinterest today, you should plan for one in the future and obtain your brand name there with a page. Blogs: While you can’t necessarily lock down a blog name other than via a url (domain name), it is good to check for blogs with similar names and see if there are any potential conflicts.  Obvious conflicts would likely have shown up in the Google and Bing searches, this is just an extra measure of precaution.   Rolling out a new website: once all of the above is done and you are confident you have the right name chosen you can start the design of the new website.  When you are ready to launch the new website it is imperative that 301 Redirects are set up from the old website and all of the old pages to the new website and equivalent replacement pages.  Done correctly, 301 Redirects will preserve your search rankings and pass on the rankings to the new site.  While there may be a small drop in your search rankings, it should be temporary.  Announcing the new site:  Now that you have a new brand and new website it’s time to let the world know.  Use your social networks such as Facebook, Google +, Twitter and your blog to let everyone know. You can also use Facebook ads to build your new Facebook Page and do posts on the old Page to inform existing Fans of the new website and new Page.  Email newsletters are also effective for reaching out to your customer base to let them know about the branding change. Consistency:  With your new brand launched it is vital to be consistent with the new look, style, and tone and stay on message for the new brand. Commingling the brands will cause confusion, there is now only the new brand and you must stick with it. 

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Apps to Make Pinterest and Pinning Easier and More Fun

Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing social networks largely because of the unique experience it offers for sharing pictures and images of the things that interest you.  Pinning is easy with just a click of the Pin It button, but some websites and blogs aren’t Pinterest friendly because they either don’t have images or the images don’t convey the thought well for Pinning.  While Pinterest offers zero SEO value, because all of the links are no-follow links offering no benefits for search rankings, it does drive traffic to your website and develop brand awareness. We believe Pinterest should be part of most SMO Strategies.  We found a few websites and apps that make Pinning easy and more fun by giving you the ability to pin a screenshot of the website or make a text quote into a Pinable image.   4 Websites and Apps that Make Pinterest and Pinning Easier and More Fun 1. Pinterest Goodies Official Pinterest page for apps and tools.  The Pinterest goodies page has handy apps and the HTML code to install a Pin It button on your Chrome bar, iPhone app (see below), Pinterest Follow button for websites (cut and paste the HTML code), and our favorite and perhaps the most important a Pin this button for your blogs and website.   2. Pinstamatic Easy way to Pin sticky notes, calendar dates, Twitter profiles and screenshots of websites.    3. url2pin.it Want to pin a screen shot of a website or maybe a different image that what Pinterest grabs, use this handy website to do it.   4. PinaQuote Found a cool quote and want to pin it, but wait, there’s no image or the images doesn’t make sense?  Use PinaQuote to Pin quotes to Pinterest.   Mobile Apps for Pinterest iPhone app for Pinterest Reviews complain about it freezing up.  Android App we only found one Pinterest app for Droids and the reviews and other blogs complained about spam and had concerns about security.  So for now, sorry fellow Droid fans, no good app for our phones.  Pinterest said they are working on it, but that was in Sept 2011.  We recommend waiting for the official Pinterest app to come out.  

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Defending Your Reputation and Copyright on the Internet

Your brand image is predominantly defined by what is shown on the first page of Google, Bing and Yahoo search results. Under normal circumstances one would expect the first page of search results to be your webpage, blogs, webpages and of course your competitors. What happens if an angry customer or client decides to start posting negative comments about your company or you or worse creates a website dedicated to harming your reputation like www.your-company-name-here-sucks.com and this content creeps onto page one? Google and Bing’s algorithms are very blog-centric due to their unique content and keywords. Thus, if you have a dissatisfied client and they blog negatively about you and your company, there is a strong possibility that it will show up on search results next to the company’s site and for related keywords. Our previous blog discussed how to repair a reputation damaged by negative content, in this blog we discuss what action you can take if your online assailant crosses the line.  Copyright and Brand Protection One way you can ensure your name is protected is to diligently enforce your copyright on your content. Your site content is the key to revenue for your company. The more unique the content you post the better ranking you will receive. If others are using your content, your search rankings may be affected and their content may rank nearby yours. Such duplicate content, if not properly attributed to your company, is a violation of copyright. To be clear, you do not need a registration to hold a copyright on your content. As soon as your work is made public, you own the rights to that work- the registration however, affords you stronger protections and higher damages if you register the your work before the infringement occurs. The first step to discovery Copyright infringement of your web content is to use a site such as http://www.copyscape.com/. This site scans the web for plagiarized content and gives you a list of all sites which might have stolen your content. If the goal is to preserve costs, you should first attempt to contact the site owners yourself and notify them of the content you believe they have stolen. If this proves to be unsuccessful you should contact an attorney and ask them to give you a cost benefit analysis of enlisting their services to achieve removal of the content.  Defamation Protection Courts are beginning to recognize rampant defamation on the internet as a serious problem. If a blogger or reviewer goes outside of pure opinion or fact to slam your brand then they are well on their way into defamation territory. For example, stating “The mechanic is a jerk” is likely safe on the opinion side; however, stating “The mechanic is a thief” sways dangerously close to defamation. By monitoring reviews and content on the Internet for negative postings you can keep your brand name clean. While one review may not do much damage, if you begin to notice a smear campaign against you by an angry customer you may want to consider contacting an attorney to weigh your options for putting an end to these damaging statements. The above is a simplified summary of complex topics of law. A quick and reasonably priced Cease and Desist Letter can solve these problems a majority of the time. If you suspect infringement, defamation you should seek professional legal advice regarding your options. About the Author: Brittany Grunau is an attorney licensed to practice law in California. Brittany can be reached by e-mail at brittany@brittanygrunauesq.com. The above is not to be construed as legal advice. Communication with Brittany Grunau by e-mail or telephone does not cause you to become a client of Brittany Grunau or afford you to the protections of confidentiality or attorney-client privileges.

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Social Media Tips: 5 Steps for Creating Great Social Media Optimization Content

There have been lots of blogs and discussions about developing website content for SEO, but what about creating content for social media optimization? Just like website content can be optimized as part of an SEO program, so can social media content. This is often referred to as SMO, social media optimization, and while SMO is strictly about social media it is also an important part of a comprehensive SEO program today. Done right social media content can help your search rankings, drive traffic to your website, and more importantly engage and develop a loyal audience for your brand. Done wrong your tweets, blog posts, and Facebook page will be ignored or worse viewed as Spam in which case your social media campaign could actually hurt your brand. Below are some Social Media tips for creating great content. Before you start develop a Social Media Strategy: There is nothing worse than starting a social media campaign without a strategy. Because the tone of social media is casual many take a casual approach to it and do not take their social media campaign seriously initially. Take the time up front to understand what your audience wants, their style and most importantly how their interests in your brand. Identify your Personality, Tone, and Style: This is a vital part of social media that many overlook. What is your social media persona? Yes, your brand has a personality in social media. Consider for example the Redbull Facebook page and Twitter vs Coke. Both are beverages and the similarity ends there. Their social media personas are completely different. It is important for you to define how your brand will interact and behave with your audience. For now I will leave it at that as this can be an entire blog on its own! Quality Content: This phrase gets used a lot often with no explanation of exactly what “quality” means. Your blog posts, tweets, and Facebook posts should offer your audience something interesting and useful. Note that this is different for each platform. On Twitter it might be as simple as a discussion between tweeps. On Facebook it could be responding to a question or post, or posting a link to an informative blog or article (not necessarily your own). And your blogs in particular should offer great content and be informative. Keep your content spam free: Again this relates to quality content and again it merits a separate mention. If your content is an overt or obvious advertorial or stuffed with keywords over and over no one will finish reading it, they will never come back, and they will never recommend it or share it. So much for the social part of your content! In addition if the content is overtly stuffed with keywords the Google algorithm will likely detect this and penalize you for it in the case of a blog or webpage and in the case of other content it will just be deemed Spam. Use long-tail keywords: Simply put Long tail keywords are a specific phrase. While long-tail keywords have lower search volume, the searches are more specific and thus more relevant than broad generic keyword searches.  So in creating your content be specific and focus on one topic for each blog post or Facebook post. When you tweet about the blog post again be specific about what the blog is about and consider using a relevant #hashtag. Cast your social media net wide: Social media is lumped into one singular topic, however, each social network is very different.  For example some users may follow you on Twitter, but not your Facebook page even though they are also on Facebook. It is important to participate at a minimum on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus; and in some cases LinkedIn as well. Get Hooked Up!  Connect your social media and networks to your website and blog.  Connect your social networks to your website so you can immediately publish new blog posts. Also make sure you set up Open Graph Share-Like icons, RSS, Twitter tweet icon, etc. so visitors can share your content with their friends.

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Social Media Tips: Who Owns a Twitter Account-Name

Who owns a Twitter name-account? When an employee is tweeting for a company, and compensated for doing this a part of their “job”, who owns the account when the employee eventually leaves? A lawsuit between a blogger and former employer over Twitter account ownership may lay some ground work to finally answer this question. Unfortunately this is not a great test case since the employment circumstances are a bit murky as wells as the promises made over compensation. The real problem here is that the account ownership was not clearly established from the beginning and there was no transition plan established for when the employee eventually left the company. This is the big lesson to be learned from this case.  Below I have outlined 5 Steps to Protect Ownership of Your Company Twitter Brand Your Twitter Account: For company twitter accounts-names make sure your brand name is in it. For example, Comcast, Best Buy and ATT uses Twitter names such @comcastcares, @comcastvoices, ATTTeamTatiana, @ATTcustomercare, @coral_BestBuy @Gina_BestBuy. Note that Best Buy incorporated the individual’s name in the Twitter name along with their brand name. This personalizes the account and is a good idea as long as you clearly establish up front the Twitter account is owned by the company. Company email address: On Twitter the email address assigned to the account pretty much determines who has the ultimate control of the account. If the account is assigned to a company controlled email account you   have control over the email address and should the employee leave you will be able to reset the Twitter password and retain control of the account, and even rename the account if you want to. So make sure all company related Twitter accounts are set up with company email addresses and not personal email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail. Written Agreement: Set up a written agreement clearly stating that the employees social media activities on behalf of the company are to be conducted on company owned accounts and must follow company social media policies.  See my previous blogs on 10 Practical Steps to Develop a Social Media Policy and Social Media Policy Examples and Best Practices. Separate Personal and Business Social Media: Make sure your employees use your company social media accounts for business and only for business and use their personal accounts for all personal matters.  While their personal accounts are private, make sure your social media policy prohibits use of company trademarks and discussion of company business on personal accounts. Termination: Upon termination or an assignment change of an employee using a company social media make sure you do a debriefing and transfer usernames, passwords, and all other relevant information to the person that will be assuming the role moving forward. You want to make sure this is a seamless transitions without any wrinkles or missteps along the way or afterward.

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How to Connect Website Badge / Link to Google+ Business Page

For those of you who skipped configuring your badge for Google+ Pages and can’t find the option anymore, use the following link: https://developers.google.com/+/plugins/badge/config Type in your page’s ID and you will be able to create it again.  You can see it live here at esotech.org at the footer and also the breadcrumb on inner pages. You will have to add a bit of code to your header, and then use the link wherever you like. The link seems highly customizable if you know what you are doing. For example, setting height and width of the icon shouldn’t be a problem. Here is a code snippet example for Esotech’s Page. <!– Place this tag in the <head> of your document–> <link href=”https://plus.google.com/103467698593383507666/” rel=”publisher” /> <!– Place this tag where you want the badge to render–> <a href=”https://plus.google.com/103467698593383507666/?prsrc=3″ style=”text-decoration: none;”> <img src=”https://ssl.gstatic.com/images/icons/gplus-64.png” width=”64″ height=”64″ style=”border: 0;”> </img> </a>

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