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5 Tips to Make Twitter More Effective for Your Business

Posted by on Friday, June 28, 2013

Twitter is one of the largest social media networks today, and it’s quite possible that many of the people you know at least have an account on Twitter. If you’re like most small businesses, then you might have an account just for your business. Maybe you even post a few times per month.

However, simply having an account isn’t enough to build your business, there are a few things you’ll need to do in order to get the most out of your effort, and make Twitter start working for you, and build your business’s brand:

Make your Twitter name easy to say and remember.

This matters. When you’re talking with someone, make sure your Twitter Handle (your account’s name) is easy to say and understand, as well as remember. SuperCompanyDesign is much easier than SuprDesgnCompanyLLC1. Avoid numbers, abbreviations, or other excessive variations (EX: 5Up3RD351GN instead of SUPERDESIGN) unless they’re an integral part of your business name.

If your company’s name isn’t available, get in touch with the account holder and see if they’re interested in selling the name. (NOTE: this is technically against Twitter’s Terms of Service, so it should used as a last resort. Your mileage may vary!)

If your name isn’t available, try variations. For example, SuperDesign probably isn’t available, but perhaps SuperCompanyDesign is. ExtremeSports isn’t available, but maybe ExtremeAlabama, or ExtremeSportsAlabama is.

Be sure to keep it as short as possible. You want your handle to be short enough to tell someone as they’re hanging up the phone, or as they’re walking away, and still be understood.

Like this:

...Okay, we’ll confirm that meeting tomorrow, but If you need to speak to us quickly, just send us a Tweet at SuperDesign. Have a nice day!

instead of:

... Okay, we’ll continue talking about it tomorrow, but if you need to talk with someone again before then, just send us a tweet at ‘S’ 1 (the number 1), ‘U’, ‘P’, 3 (the number 3),...

It flows much easier in conversation—which is a good thing!

Tweet Often, and Consistently.

If you’re not willing to tweet at least once per week, then it’s not worth the effort to create an account. People generally aren’t willing to follow an account that only posts a few times per month, unless you have some really engaging content. You better be giving away stuff like it’s 1999.

You should at least be posting once per week, but once or twice a day is average, and usually returns good results. The best time to post your best tweets (giveaways, sales, or other things that you think will generate mentions) is usually around 1:00 - 3:00 PM for your target audience. If you’re looking to gain followers that work in the Night guard industry, you might consider varying your post times. Otherwise, it’s best to stick to sometime in the early afternoon.

Talk about Relevant and Interesting Content in Your Industry.

Don’t talk about your cat unless you’re in the pet business. Don’t talk about your car unless that’s relevant to your business. (You’re a mechanic, car salesman, or the like.) This keeps your tweets targeted to a specific audience, and your account will be more likely to gain followers faster. Nobody wants to follow a business account that just talks about personal stuff. Generally, there’s no value there, it’s simply polluting their feed.

However, that isn’t to say that people don’t like any sort of interaction in the human form at all. People tend to favor accounts that have a human quality to them, so occasionally commenting on relevant events in your areas is acceptable and encouraged!

Interaction on Twitter is the Key to Success.

While simply consistently tweeting is a great start to building your brand, It’s when you start interacting with other people that it really becomes a valuable way to spend your time. When someone mentions your brand, make sure you respond to answer their question(s) if they have any, or add something to the conversation they’re having with someone else. The more you talk with others, the more your followers will be engaged with your brand.

Be careful about Who you Allow to Tweet for Your Business.

There are numerous articles written about the disasters that have befallen businesses that don’t follow this suggestion. All it takes is for one person managing your Twitter feed, and suddenly everyone knows about the inner workings of the business, and what’s happening internally. Make sure to place someone responsible and qualified in charge of Social Media, or it could mean disaster later on!

If you’ll follow these few tips on making Twitter more effective for your business, you’re much more likely to see results quicker than simply having an account. Just be consistent, and make sure to respond to people that ask you questions, and you’ll have a fantastic experience!


How to Use Google Analytics

Posted by on Friday, June 14, 2013

Google Analytics is without a doubt one of the most useful tools available to any business. It allows an at-a-glance view of every one of your customers: What pages they’re viewing, how long they’re staying on your site, and even whether they’ve purchased an item. These statistics can be extremely useful for making your site as effective as possible, but if you don't know how to use Google Analytics, then all this information can't help you. So, today we’ll cover a few ways you can use this information to make your website more effective.

When you're using Google Analytics, there are three places you’ll want to check daily, weekly, or (at the very least) monthly: Your Dashboard, Traffic Sources, and Content. We’ll cover an introduction of each of these.

First, let’s take a look at the dashboard.

The Dashboard is the first place you’ll see when you enter Analytics. This is where you’ll find the basic information about your site: How many visitors you’ve had, where those visitors are from, and what Browser they’re using. This is a simplified version of your data; this is all broken down specifically at other locations in Google Analytics.

Unique Visitors are the actual number of people that have visited your website. It’s important to know that the number of visits you have may be much more than the actual number of people viewing your site, because Analytics counts visits separate from Unique Visitors.

If you look at your sidebar, you’ll see an item called ‘Traffic Sources’. Click it, and it’ll open a dropdown menu below. Click Overview.

Traffic Sources is where you’ll find information about where your visitors are coming from. There’s a big graph at the top, which is showing how many people have visited your site.

Below that, there’s a pie graph, along with some other information below it. This data is all about how your visitors came to your site, whether that’s through Google (shown under Search Traffic), another website (shown under Referral Traffic), or directly to your site (shown under Direct Traffic).

Search traffic shows what people are entering into Google to find your website. To the right of Search Traffic, you’ll find a list of keywords, which are the exact terms they typed into Google.

This is useful, because you can actually see what people are thinking when they’re trying to find your business.

As an example, one of our clients, Andella Home, sells a variety of Furniture products. Their product line is diverse, covering a range of products that includes furniture, lighting, rugs, and other accessories for the home (they’re quite nice; you can see some of their products here.)

Since their products vary so much, they can look at their Search Traffic and see what people are actually looking for when they find Andella Home.

They check it, and see that people have searched 58 times for “Andella Home chairs”, 29 times for “Andella Home sofas”, and 64 times for “Andella Home armchairs”. Since they’re getting so much traffic that’s interested in chairs, they should consider offering more chairs.

This can be repeated weekly or monthly to optimize your site for as many sales as possible.

Next, we’ll take a look at the ‘Content’ area. You can find it in your sidebar right under ‘Traffic Sources’. Make sure to click ‘Overview’.

This is where you’ll find a list of the most active pages on your site. If you put a link to one of your pages on Facebook, you can come here and find out how many people are actually viewing your page.

There are four sections : ‘Site Content’, ‘Site Search’, ‘Events’, and ‘Page’. You’ll only need to know about Site Content.

Site Content This gives you two choices: Page or Page Title. Page will show you a list of links to the most visited pages on your site. Page Title will show a list of the Titles of those pages. You can find which pages your visitors like the most by looking at the top few pages on the list. The higher up on the list, the more people have seen the page.

To continue using our Andella Home example, they could also see that their most visited page is a list of chairs, and a few product pages about chairs. They could see which products are most popular, and which ones can be discontinued. This allows them to efficiently determine what they need to sell, and what they should discontinue.

Google Analytics can be a business owner’s best friend. It allows so much useful data to work with that it can seem confusing at first! However, if you simply stick with it, and figure out how to use Google Analytics, it can provide a great return on your investment.

If you’re not sure about Analytics, or how to set it up, we can help! Call us to set up a meeting where we can show you how to get started making Google Analytics work for your business!


Google Gets Fresh, Changes Search Algorithm

Posted by Production Productive IT on Monday, November 07, 2011

Google Algorithm

Keeping your website updated with “fresh” new content just got a whole lot more important now that Google has implemented their “Freshness” update. The change, which Google claims will affect 35% of Web searches, took place last week and marks a doubled effort on the search giant’s part to provide users with more relevant, up-to-date results. This means that sites with more recently updated content will be ranked higher than those sites that rarely do anything.

While this mainly affects websites that are tailored to frequent updates – like news sites or blogs – it can also have repercussions on your site’s ranking as indicated by Searchmetrics weekend analysis of the Web’s more popular online destinations. The point being that if you aren’t already using your website to create new content on a weekly – preferably daily basis – you’ve got some work to do!

What are content freshness factors?

While Google hasn’t come forward to specifically identify what defines “freshness” - though they have left a few clues - it’s not hard to pinpoint a few basic credentials that can help you reevaluate your content strategy from here on out.

  • Content is fresh depending on its inception date*
  • Content is fresh if it is time-sensitive (news, press releases, product reviews)
  • Content is fresh if it is unique to a particular site
  • Content is fresh if it is actively shared across multiple social networks
  • Content is fresh if it is relevant to a specific niche
  • Content is fresh if it utilizes keywords appropriately

*This could vary depending on the actual date the content was published or the date it first appeared in search results.


Shaking Up the Social Landscape: Facebook's New Timeline

Posted by Production Productive IT on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook Timeline

Although social sharing platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare have gradually continued to evolve over the past year or so, it wasn’t until a few months ago that two of the biggest competitors (Google+ and Facebook) began creating some pretty gnarly waves in the social atmosphere.

Naturally, Google’s announcement that it would be re-entering the arena after several failed attempts (Buzz and Wave) was not very surprising, there’s little Google isn’t experimenting with at the moment and using Google+ as a springboard towards social search is a no-brainer for the company. What is surprising, however, are the changes coming from Facebook in the past few months. Either in response to Google’s looming presence or something that was pre-destined (perhaps both), Facebook has made its own wave of minor changes (Smart Lists, Subscribe button, Ticker Feed) with something pretty massive on the horizon.

That “something” is called Timeline and it is Facebook’s upcoming makeover (inspired by infographic guru Nicholas Felton) which has become quite the buzz-worthy topic of conversation among industry blogs and left many split in their opinion of it. On the positive side people are calling it “a richer, more immersive social experience than ever,” while others fear that the “massive makeover might just be a bit too much.” After experiencing Timeline firsthand I have to admit that it takes more than a little adjustment to get used to the dual column layout.

Beyond the aesthetics of the new look, Timeline puts a greater focus on user’s personal history (with an emphasis on the story part). Instead of just being able to “Like” things, Timeline will use third party apps such as Spotify, Netflix and others to track your taste in movies, music and perhaps even gaming habits. News Feeds, which are currently at the core of Facebook, will be transitioned over to the Twitter-esque Ticker feed located on the right sidebar where the Chat feature resides.

Timeline Stories


How Google+ Plans to Change the Game

Posted by on Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Google Plus
Image sourced from GeekWord

Google+ has (ironically) become a buzz word as of late, it's certainly captured my attention, with critics and advocates alike letting their voices be heard. Some, like Roger McNamee believe that social itself is reaching its plateau while others like LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner feel that there's simply no more room for another social network. Despite this, many people are still excited at what Google is doing with their Google+ platform and are eager to take full advantage of its features.

In particular, many business having been sitting idly by for a chance to be among the first to try out these features (currently only personal accounts are permitted). However, businesses may not need to wait much longer, as a Google spokesperson announced that there are plans for business profiles which will

"...see a level of analytics and measurement that you’d typically find in Google products as well as a nuanced approach to how things are shared."

What makes Google+ different from other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and (to a degree) LinkedIn is that virtually 100% of how content is shared is dependent on the individual user. “I could go post stuff about Google all the time, but that won’t necessarily appeal to the Circles I’m sharing them with,” said the spokesperson. “It’s up to individuals to decide what they share, and it’s up to users to decide whether they want those people in their Circles.”

This new dynamic between advertiser and consumer ultimately means that businesses will need to be more careful in identifying what drives their customers to use social networking tools and how they will become a part of a very real conversation. One of the best points made in Google Product Manger Paul Adams' pitch for Google+ is that until this point most companies have been driven primarily by how many followers (or friends) they have. However... what good is 170,000 "friends" to your brand if none of them are actively sharing conversations about you?



Is Facebook Falling Behind?

Posted by Production Productive IT on Monday, July 18, 2011

Facebook and Google

That's the first question that came to mind shortly after my Beta test of Google's new Google+ (Google Plus) social network. Of course, Facebook still reigns as king of the hill when it comes to membership — it currently boasts over 750 million "active users" — but that may not be the case much longer if the social giant falls behind in adapting new technologies.

Case in point, Mark Zuckerberg's announcement earlier this month of Facebook's new video chat feature in partnership with Skype. This new feature - which also marks a redesigned chat interface and group chats - comes in the shadow of Google +'s Hangout feature. 

While both features offer video chat, what's interesting is that only Hangout seems to allow its members to have a group video chat (10 people at a time) whereas Facebook is limited to one-on-one conversations. Facebook's "video calling" is also not currently available to the general public while Hangouts is available to everyone (who hasn't become a member... except maybe William Shatner?)

This is not to say that Facebook is dead, far from it, but it does mark a warning sign that could very well put Google+ in the lead going forward should it prove to be a popular enough in the social networking stratosphere. According to Ancestry.com founder Paul Allen, approximately 10 million users had already signed up for Google+ this time last week.

What do you think? Is this the beginning of the end for Facebook or is Google+ just another "wave' in the search engine giant's quest for social order?


Social Search: A Sign of Things to Come

Posted by on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A relatively new term, social search is being touted by some as the next evolution of regular search engines. The biggest difference between Regular Search and Social Search is that normal search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) rank websites based on keywords, page descriptions, and page titles. Social Search, on other hand, rank results based on the relevancy of content to your social connections such as those found on Blogger, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and more.

As the forerunner of search engines, Google is already leading the pack with it's Google +1 Button, which we discussed previously, in addition to using it's own profile network to return social search results (as explained in the video above). In fact, it was reported that Google recently changed its algorithm to make social content even more relevant in search results.

Why does it matter?

Google's recent announcement is only a small step for the company and one that should be seen as a sign of things to come. Essentially, what this means for businesses is that they'll need to start becoming more active in sharing social content in order to achieve better SEO (search engine optimization).

While the factors mentioned (keywords, descriptions, titles) above will still make a difference, original social content will soon become key to competing with other business on the internet-- all of whom are campaigning for attention.

How you can get started

I recently read a great article by author Jeff Korhan on the Social Media Examiner that gave some great advice on being proactive about social search. Some of the basics included:

  • Claiming your business on Google and Facebook Places
  • Creating a Twitter/Facebook account and enabling Location feature
  • Using social check-in applications such as Foursquare to engage with customers
  • Monitoring your brand in real-time using SocialMention or a similar platform

Most important to remember, however, is that social content is about sharing (both information and entertainment). The better you are able to communicate with prospects and customers, the more likely your chances of getting shared (and seen) are.


Looking Ahead: Google Gets Social

Posted by Hanan Wilson on Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Google Gets Social

With Facebook and Twitter dominating the social marketplace it seems that Google is now preparing to make their second step (the first being Google Buzz) with the Google +1 Button as the video below shows. Although it’s technically still an experiment by Google Labs, the Google +1 Button could cause some pretty serious waves should it catch on.

Essentially, the +1 Button works just like Facebook’s Like button in that it allows those connected to you to view sites that you’ve given your approval to. Google can then take these results and, once signed in to your Google account, display them when you do a search. Google has also hinted about carrying the concept over to ads, articles, and even websites—completely changing the way we look at search engine optimization (SEO).

Aden Hepburn, over at DigitalBuzzBlog, brought up a few good points about the potential for the same “click fraud” that initially plagued early banner ads, in addition to the possibilities of mining this new data for recommendation engines. Of course this also benefits Google’s own social profiles which are (naturally) required for the full experience to be effective. Should be an interesting year for SEO.

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