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6 Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small BusinessesPlanning and executing effective marketing strategies tends to be a challenge for most small businesses. However, one approach that offers an amazing ROI for small business marketing is social media.

Whether you would like to employ simple strategies or would rather make use of advanced strategies, there are numerous market efforts you could pursue by leveraging social media. This includes choosing the right social media marketing platforms, as well as the how you use each of them. 

Below we offer six social media marketing strategies for small businesses.

1. Facebook

The greatest advantage of Facebook is that it offers cheap marketing opportunities for smaller sized businesses. Currently, there over 300 million users on this social networking platform. Although you will not be targeting all these users, Facebook still offers quite a powerful platform for one to build their company’s online presence.

So, what is the basic strategy? You should start off by signing up and securing a username for your company. Keep in mind that if you are using your company name for a personal account; you will not be able to use it as a business fan page as fan pages tend to have a different set of rules when it comes to usernames. The next thing that you should do is research on your competitors. Evaluate the type of presence they have on Facebook, the pages that they have built, and also the number of fans that they have. Take a look at the posts they put up as well as media such as photos and video.

There is also the advanced strategy that you could pursue with Facebook. If you already have a personal account, contemplate how you can extend it to increase your business’ presence as well. There are a number of options when it comes to doing this. The first would be to create a business account but keep in mind that these accounts come with limitations. The business fan page allows customers to register as fans of your page and this expands your online presence. You could also consider running some hyper-local ads on this social networking platform.

2. Twitter

In the last year, this social networking platform has grown in leaps and bounds. It is highly effective for small businesses as it offers you numerous ways of leveraging your company. For the basic strategy, you should start off by opening an account with your business’ name. Although you can tweet about your company from your own personal account, you should let your business have its own online identity. In addition to this, you would rather avoid having your business name taken up by another user.

The next step would be to find out what your competition is on Twitter, conduct some basic searches with keywords related to your business so as to find out what is on offer. You could also search for your competitors to find out if they have Twitter accounts and how they are making use of their accounts. Once you have become familiar with this, you can then start planning on how to use Twitter to your business’ advantage. To make the most of Twitter for your business, you should learn some advanced strategies.

The best place to start would be to familiarize yourself with desktop as well as mobile clients such as Seesmic, Tweetdeck and the likes. These Twitter clients enable you to be more flexible with your tweeting habits thus giving you more control over your Twitter strategy. One of the ways of doing this is through pre-defined searches, which allow you to keep track of specific keywords as well as the people that you follow. In addition to this you could make use of Twitterfall, which enables you to define as well as color-code the different searches that you would be interested in.

3. Company Blog

Although there has been an increased interest in social networks for companies and their social media marketing strategies, blogs are still quite beneficial to small businesses. When it comes to the basic strategy, you could start off by reserving a domain name for your blog in the event that you do not already own a customized business domain name. On the other hand, you could start a WordPress.com blog, which tends to be the easiest option but you will not have full control over the things that you would want to have on the website. Another alternative would be starting a strategy for external business blogging at Posterous. This is a platform that allows people to post stories and various media such as photos, videos, and even MP3 files.

For the advanced marketing strategy, you should start considering building an audience for your blog. The most vital elements of an effective blog is having superior content and a very focused niche. For instance, if you sell marble cleaning products, you may want to focus you blog specifically on tips and solutions on how to clean marble.

In short, You should establish what the focus of your blog will be then create content that is fresh and relevant and that people will want to read. Establish what your expertise is as well as what you would be interested in writing about. Lastly, you should consider ways in which it will be easy for your readers to share your content. Plug-ins such as TweetMeme tend to be a good way of doing this as your readers can easily retweet your posts.

4. LinkedIn

This is a social network platform designed for professionals as it is business oriented. The first step of using this site is by reserving an account in your business’ name so nobody else can use it then you can explore it just as you would Facebook and Twitter. When it comes to the advanced strategies, there are a number of features most people do not use. One of these is the “recommendations” option, which allows your customers, vendors, and so on to recommend your business on their profile. Another advanced strategy would be taking part in subject matter groups. Engaging other members in conversation by answering questions in your niche will increase your presence.

5. Multimedia

This is the use of photos, video as well as audio. The most basic way of doing this would be through YouTube. By uploading videos related to your business on YouTube, you increase the number of people who get to see them. Another option would be using Flickr to share photos.

6. Combine Social Media Tools

With the different social networking platforms, you can now cross–market your business. The ways of doing this include connecting your Twitter account to your Facebook account so that you can post simultaneously on both platforms. You could also connect your LinkedIn account to your blog so that your blog posts appear on your LinkedIn profile.

We hope these six social media marketing strategies will help empower your business for many years to come.

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3 Essentials to Optimize Your Blog Posts

Most great blog posts rank naturally, purely because they provide exceptional content. However there's a few ways in which you can better optimize your blog posts for great search engine visibility and click-through rates.

You'll first want to pinpoint the keyword target that best portrays your blog post and the type of traffic you'd like to gain from the search engines. After you done a little research on the ideal keyword target, then you can begin tailoring and optimizing your blog post accordingly. Below are three essentials techniques to optimize blog posts for better rankings.

1. Optimize Your Blog Post's Page Title & Meta Description

The page title is a critical content element that holds significant weight in establishing keyword relevancy for a webpage. The page title is what shows-up as the main link for each listing in the organic search results. Because of this, it's important to include your keyword target in the page title.

Content Optimization

Although there's a lot of debate over whether the Meta description actually offers keyword value for optimization, the words that a person uses in their search phrase will appear in bold in the Meta Description. So regardless of keyword value, it's still advantageous to use our keyword targets in some manner in the Meta description.

Google and most other major search engines only display about 160 characters of the Meta description. So in addition to keeping it concise, strive to convey value and uniqueness in what your blog post is about. When search engine users read a compelling Meta description, they are far more apt to click into your post (boosting your click-through rate.)

2. Optimize Your Blog Post's Images and Videos

Whether you're using a video or an image, rich media of the like can be optimized to establish greater keyword relevancy on the blog post. The trick is to perform this optimization prior to uploading the media to either your blog post or video host, such as YouTube.

Before uploading the media, right click the file and select "properties" near the bottom. In addition to the file's title, you can open the details tab and keyword optimize the file's subject, tags, and comments. This will help you optimize your blog posts for better rankings in Google search, as well as your media for Google Images.

3. Optimize Your Blog Post with Authorship

If you are still not on Google+ yet, then I suggest you create an account as soon as possible. In essence, Google+ can have direct impact your blog posts' keyword rankings and search engine exposure. This is becoming especially important with respect to Author Rank.

In addition to helping you share your content, optimizing your web presence on Google+ can help you establish authorship in your blog posts and other content that you produce.

Observe the image below. Although the blog post ranking in the #3 spot is not on top of the rankings, the fact that it's showing the authorship rich snippet makes it far more obvious to the eye.

Google Plus

In order to generate this powerful rich snippet, include a link to your Google+ profile page toward the end of the blog post (typically in the author byline.) What's critical is that you include ?rel=author at the end of the URL. This tells Google that you are the author of this blog post, and will generate the image rich snippet as a result.

These are just a few ways you can gain some momentum with your blogging and content marketing. By optimizing your blog posts using these simple practices, you can better your chances of seeing your content in the search results. The true driver, however, is creating amazing content that naturally gets shared and linked to be your audience.

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Key Elements of SEO-Friendly Web Design

SEO-friendly web designThere are a number of attributes that should be kept top of mind to ensure a website's design is SEO-friendly web design.

In this article, we will share with you seven elements that shape SEO-friendly web design.

Calls-to-Action ("CTA") or Points of Contact

It is recommended that you have a call to action on most of the pages on the site as they help to create a feeling that shows it is strong and conversion focused. Most experts who come up with web designs know the importance of CRO (conversion rate optimization) one of the reasons why they are integrated on the websites that they work on.

Verify Google Ownership

It is important to run a Google+ page especially in this SEO era. While setting-up a Google+ page for the brand, you should also think about creating one for the SEO-friendly web design. Be sure to verify the page and link the site properly in a bid to establish Google publication and Authorship.

Optimized HTML Coding Structure

It is important to design a website that loads fast enough which is vital for both SEO as well as usability. The person who is responsible for developing the site should address the back end in such a way that it is well optimized for fast load speed and rendering. Website optimization also helps to drive more traffic to site as people will not waste time on a site that does not load fast enough.

Optimize Robust Media Files

There are a couple of media files that can be quite robust which ends up slowing down the site. You can optimize this while creating the SEO-friendly web design to reduce their size in regards to indexing and rendering. Images as well as other media can be keyword optimized so that they attain better SEO value.

Build Quality Links

Building top notch links can help enhance SEO value as well as expand citations. This is especially beneficial for the sites that have been listed on a number of listing websites as well as directories. The links can be used by Google to determine the legitimacy of the company and it also acts a ranking factor for the local search engines. There are some links that will also link back to your site which is a huge plus towards your SEO efforts for the SEO-friendly web design.

Create a Thorough & Complete HTML Sitemap

Most SEO's consider the HTML sitemap a very important page on the website. Most people don't think that it is a really important page thus most of the time it is overlooked. This acts like the roadmap to the site as it directs the search engine spiders to spot the rich goodness that is found on the site.

Use Keywords in the Right Manner

Keywords should be included in the proper places as you lay out the SEO-friendly web design. Most people fail to do this one of the reasons why their efforts do not pan out the way they would want them to. The most important places include page title, URL, Meta description and respectfully on the page copy.

To learn more about SEO-friendly web design, visit this SEO-friendly blog that offers tips and insights all about search engine optimization and website design.

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Google Tests Twitter Content in Search Results

Twitter LogoSince Google has risen to the top of the rankings in terms of most frequently used search engines, a lot has changed. Google is constantly making adjustments on both the front end and the back end. But lately, the biggest changes with Google surround social integration - namely, with Twitter.

Earlier this year in February, Google reached an agreement with the social media powerhouse of Twitter. The deal is centered on making Twitter posts, which are mini-posts and updates comprised of up to 140 characters called tweets, more accessible via Google searches. The deal would also afford Google increased access to Twitter’s database, allowing for tweets to be featured as results when certain topics are searched.

Initially, tweets will be included more frequently in the list of results that are provided regarding highly trending topics. For example, the likelihood of tweets popping up in the results for the search of "civil unrest in Baltimore" is much higher than the likelihood of tweets coming about in the results for the search of "best ballpoint pens."

Executives at Twitter claimed that the Twitter-Google fusion initiative would be rolled out in May and they kept their word. Some developers claim that it is only on a test basis, but we are now seeing more and more Twitter information coming up alongside the other information that Google provides in its search results. Both companies have been relatively tight-lipped about the process and we can only wait and see what happens.

This deal speaks volumes regarding the integration of social media and socially influenced knowledge translation into the online information environment. It shows us that there is an increasing value being placed on trends in news information, media information, and so much more that individuals are seeking via Google.

In the business sector, so many companies are looking to social media as components of market research and they are able to gain significant insight into the general thought patterns and ideals of the population. Social media also provides information regarding general attitudes and perceptions in a variety of different markets and by having one of the largest social media networks woven into the framework of Google’s widespread influence, the opportunities presented to businesses engaged in search marketing are endless.

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