Today’s Bookmark comes from Modny73 and it’s essentially a list of links to multiple free social icon sets. These icons can be used on your website to link to your social accounts. This free social media icon set has a great mix of creative icons and simple minimalistic icons.
Last week we began our discussion on the importance of how you use social media in your business and your web development and web design efforts and examined the first two of the four most important social media dynamics. Now we will examine the other two…
Be willing to give truly useful information through your site. It’s why people will come back. This is probably the biggest roadblock for most businesses. The idea of GIVING away information. As a business, you can either accept it or fight it. If you fight it, you’re fighting a losing battle as it’s too easy to click away from your site and find your competitor online.
If you’re a real estate professional, have a mortgage calculator that people can use on your website. Have free information buyers and sellers can use on preparing for the transaction, getting the house sell-ready, etc. It will save you time in the process and establish you as a reliable source of good information.
Same if you’re an accountant, a financial advisor, architect, mechanic or whatever. Heck, we’re a web development and web design company and we’re giving away a lot of free advice on our site.
Simple. It’s the right thing to do, and from a business sense we’re getting on the radar of potential future clients. They may not need us now, but if they take our advice, use it on their current website and are happy with the results, we’ll be on their radar should a need arise in the future.
Post consistently on your website…at least once a week. Once a business has decided to put real focus on their website and sharing information, all too often the business starts off a little TOO gung-ho with a lot of posts in the first couple of weeks and then the process tapers off and is forgotten.
Once you make the commitment to sharing good, truly useful information through your website, commit to a reasonable schedule that you can keep up. It’s better to have one good, useful post per week on your site and be consistent than to start off with guns-a-blazin’ and then disappear. Then you wind up looking like you REALLY don’t care. By all means, the more the merrier, but consistency is the most important thing.
There is a pervasive mentality among some business owners and CEO’s that amounts to a short attention span. The mentality where that person will try something briefly and if he/she doesn’t see results fast they move on to something else. This mentality and the negative connotations that go with it are magnified in the communication arena of social media and Internet marketing.
Competition has never been greater with the Internet turning the world into a market for most businesses. Even if you’re a more localized business, you still are in competition with these more global entities when it comes to being found online and establishing ROI with your website.
Patience is a virtue now more than ever, and you must treat your online business presence with the knowledge and understanding that what’s important today is the Internet has made it possible for people to get to know you and your business on their own time…with you nowhere around.
Good business has always been about relationship building. Through the decades, this has evolved from the simple handshake to wider reaching methods including direct mail, telemarketing, email and now social media and your website.
It’s important in your web development and web design work to understand the dynamics of social media and Internet marketing. Social media is an arena that is becoming more and more a part of your actual website through things like Google’s “+1” button and Facebook’s “Like” button as well as social bookmarking like StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and others.
What has happened over these past decades is a widening of the gap between consumer and salesperson/business. That gap has been caused by pollution of all the aforementioned communication methods to the point where consumers are saying “Enough already! Leave me alone and let me make my decision in peace. I get it…you’re ALL the best.”
This is what social media is all about and why every “consumer’s” social media account is a safe haven for them. You’re a “friend” or “connection” in that person’s social media world only because they’ve allowed you in. Most businesses that have trouble with social media have trouble because once they’re accepted in a person’s social media circle of friends, they resort to the same ol’ blind “junk mail” or “spam” tactics.
There is no quicker way to get blacklisted in social media circles than to abuse the privilege of being in those circles through spam and consistently “salesy” posts. Anyone who views you as “spammy” or simply want to tune you out can easily do it with the click of a button. This really renders the more “type A” aggressive approaches to communication powerless.
So what are the important dynamics of social media and Internet marketing with regard to your business? Here are the four most important ones:
- Care first and people will care more about you.
- Recognize social media as top of mind awareness and stop being “salesy” in your posts and messages.
- Be willing to give truly useful information through your site. It’s why people will come back.
- Post consistently on your website…at least once a week.
Care first and people will care more about you. Perhaps the most simple aspect of the whole social media process is the one businesses ignore most. Care first and be responsive to your social media connections. Yeah, yeah, yeah…we hear it all the time. “I don’t care about what so-and-so had for breakfast.” “I don’t care what so-and-so is doing tonight.” Okay, fair enough. Keep in mind, though, that “so-and-so” is a potential customer/client and they don’t necessarily care about YOUR business, either.
So now what?
It’s important to remember that when you’re dealing with an easy-to-use open forum like social media, you will be connected with all types of people. This holds true for your website, too, as social media bookmarking and sharing buttons like the Facebook “like” and Google’s “+1” are morphing websites into the new wave of social media. You may see Tweets and Facebook posts from some connections that leave you rolling your eyes or shaking your head. Just ignore them, because tomorrow they may post something about their daughter/son’s upcoming graduation or a birthday, etc. and it’s important to respond to these whenever you can because it let’s people know that you care about more than just selling them something.
Care first and people will then care about you. Take that first step. It’s the most positive top-of-mind-awareness there is.
Recognize social media as top of mind awareness and stop being “salesy” in your posts and messages. The Internet is a forum where you can put your business in front of millions upon millions of potential visitors and customers or clients. Why, then, do so many businesses forget about people in this forum and focus on “ME ME ME”?
There is virtually no spin or sales pitch you can throw out there that people haven’t heard before. In fact, many potential customers know the pitches by heart either because they’ve heard them before or they’ve been through the same sales training as you. Sales has by far the highest turnover rate of ANY mode of employment, which means there’s a good chance that many of your prospects are or have been in sales themselves.
Simply put, today’s consumer really HAS heard it all before.
When you go to make a new post on your social media account or website, think of your audience as collectively thinking “Blah, blah, blah…yeah, I know you’re the best. How can you help ME?”
Transparent, consumer-focused marketing has never been more important than it is on the Internet, because as soon as someone gets a bad feeling about you and/or your business they can click away from your site in a millisecond. Eliminate sales pitches from your social media and website communication and focus on giving information…and perhaps a little entertainment when warranted.
Next week, we will examine in detail the third and fourth most important social media dynamics.
Facebook, Bing, Google, Google Plus, potayto, potahto…
It’s really amazing when you watch the intense strategic competition between the search engines online. What do Bing and Google both have in common (besides both being search engines, smartypants)?
Are you taking social media into account in your web development and web design efforts for your business?
You should…because social media is becoming more and more powerful and personalized searches are becoming the norm.
Think about it…Bing teamed up with Facebook to integrate the “like” button, etc. into their algorithm to provide personalized searches back in late 2010 (read about it here). Shortly after, Google tried to partner with Facebook in similar fashion and were allegedly rejected.
So it was just a few months later that Google unveiled Google Plus and began incorporating the “+1″ button into its searches to make them more personalized. In January of this year, Google’s integration of search results with its Google Plus social media platform set off quite an uproar. It was basically their answer to what Bing was doing with their Facebook partnership.
See the correlation?
All that said, what this means to you in your business is that if you don’t have those “like” and “+1″ buttons readily visible on your website, you need to get them on there ASAP. Social bookmarks, too. These are the easiest ways for visitors to share your site with others. And with the advent of personalized searches, those “likes” and “+1′s” mean that you will be showing up in the search results of the friends of those visitors to your site.
Make sure your web development and web design team have your site current with these features. It’s all about sharing and it’s important that your website is as easy to share as possible:)
In case you haven’t heard, Google has recently launched Google+, their social networking site that is trying to succeed where previous efforts have failed.
You remember…Google Buzz and Google Wave?
Yyyyyeah, they didn’t work out so well for Google. Truth is, Facebook has really become to social networks what Google is to search engines, which is a hard thing for even Google to compete with. To you and most business people trying to make the best use of their web development and web design efforts, the main question is what features does Google+ have that Facebook doesn’t?
More importantly, do those features really matter to you and your business enough for you to add yet another social media forum to your network?
Here are some of the new features that are getting some buzz:
Hangouts: Probably the biggest element Google+ has that Facebook doesn’t is a feature called “Hangouts” that gives users a way to join group video chats. It’s basically a chat room with video. Any user can create a Hangout and others can then join. As well as video chatting, users can also watch YouTube videos as a group.
Sparks: Sparks is the Google+ newsfeed, and it’s different from the Facebook news feed in that it’s focused on specific topics and on news: you won’t find information on where your friend was today or what they had for dinner, but you will find highlights from blogs, newspapers, and other media outlets sorted by topic.
What Strangers Are Saying: Whereas on Facebook the only posts and status updates that appear in your news feed come from people you’re friends with, Google+ lets you see posts and updates from people you aren’t yet following, but who are following you. You can follow them if you choose by putting them into one of your “circles”.
Chat with Strangers: Facebook Chat requires you to be friends with someone before you can chat with them. Google Hangouts, for better or for worse, are much more open: up to ten people can join a Hangout video chat, and they need not be in each others’ Circles to do so. Maybe nothing negative will come of this, but you’ve got to admit Google is taking a risk with a really loaded Pandora’s Box here.
So what’s the bottom line?
Bottom line is that yes…there is another social media forum to be considered for your Internet marketing and web development/web design efforts. Is it absolutely necessary? Functionally speaking, probably not, but the initial word is that you will do well to have a presence on Google Plus and the Google+ box (the equivalent of the Facebook “like” box) on your website will help you greatly in the search engines.