Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Facebook Takes on Google with Graph Search

Introducing Graph SearchEver since I started using Facebook, I’ve never found their search function very useful.  Results were never exactly what I was looking for, and my attempts at locating useful information left me empty-handed.  I always looked to Google to find exactly what I was looking for.  Despite the recent article outlining a great Facebook search “trick” earlier this week (see Facebook Introduces ‘Graph Search’, but this Search Secret Already Helps Marketers), Facebook really had no handle on search.

Now, that all changes.

What is Graph Search?

Graph Search allows users to search for anything connected with them through their “social graph”.  This new search tool basically searches through everything you have ever done on Facebook, and everything your friends have done and shared publicly, and answers your search requests with that information.  Facebook is going to give you the exact information that it thinks you want, based upon your connections within the site.

For example, if you search Google for restaurants, you will get many pages of restaurants that may or may not fit what you are looking for.  Search Facebook for “restaurants my friends like” and you will get very specific results, based upon your friends “likes” and comments.  Based upon the theory that we “trust” our friends on Facebook, these results will more likely result in a purchase, or a visit.

This is great for business.

If you are a small business with an optimized Facebook page, and lots of connections, Graph Search will customize results to the individuals that are searching based upon their connections, and not any SEO tricks and not based upon the popularity of your site.

More importantly, as research has shown, consumers are 71% more likely to choose a product or service when a friend recommends it to them within social media (see Consumers 71 percent more likely to buy based on social media referrals).  Word of mouth marketing is alive and well!  Remember, people do business with people that they know, like, and trust.  And, if a Facebook friend has used, recommended, or “liked” a business, there is an inherent level of trust in that recommendation.  And, that is the information that will be served through Graph Search.

In addition, businesses with a physical location may benefit most from Graph Search.  Especially if they encourage people to “check in” to the location.  This will provide Facebook more information to provide your friends searching for similar businesses.

In order for graph search to meet its full potential Facebook business page users will need to make sure that their information is complete, including the address, and make sure that the category your page is in is the correct one for your business.  You don’t want your jewelry company being listed as a non-profit, now do you?  The more information you provide on your business page, the more accurate the search results will be.  In addition, the more people that check-in or “like” your page, the more likely it will show up when searched for.

How do I get Graph Search?

Right now, it is only in beta, but you can apply for Graph Search by signing up for an invite.  I signed up two days ago, and received my Graph Search today!

So, are you impressed?  Does this fill a need you had?  Will you use it?  Let’s discuss it in the comments!

 

Resources:

Introducting Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search: The Experts Speak

Is This The Facebook Search We’ve Been Waiting For?

Facebook Graph Search: 10 Things You Need To Know About The Social Network’s Big Announcement

How Graph Search can help users see the world through different lenses

How Facebook’s Graph Search Impacts Small Businesses

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

2013 and Beyond – Where is Social Media going?

The FutureHappy New Year!

We’re 5 days into the new year, and so far, so good.  But, what is to become of the rest of 2013?  To answer that, I thought I would offer 5 social media predictions for the coming year.

So, what will 2013 bring to the world of social media?

1.  More businesses will move towards social media, and will begin to take it as a serious part of all aspects of their companies, and not just as a marketing tool.

In order for businesses to really succeed today, they need to incorporate “being social” throughout the entire organizations.  From customer service to accounting, everyone should have a hand in the social strategy.

2.  Businesses will begin to implement strategies for their social behaviors – they won’t just “do social”.

In order to be successful within social media, you need to know where you are going.  You wouldn’t set out on a trip to a new city without some planning and a roadmap.  Your social strategy is your roadmap.  It is going to show you where you are going, why you want to be there, and most importantly, how you are going to get there.  Gone are the days of putting up a Facebook page and calling it good enough.

3.  GooglePlus will begin to transform into a “go-to” social network and will begin offering advertising within GooglePlus.

As of now, there are over 500 million Google accounts, and there are 253 million actively using this social network.  This year, GooglePlus will grow to over 500 million active accounts, and the network will become a great source of information and offers as Google brings Plus into their advertising network.

 4.  Visual content will become even more important.

Right now, Facebook ranks videos and photos above regular status updates and links (as part of the EdgeRank algorithm), and as the year progresses, the use of photos and video will become even more important to gain access to users newsfeeds.  In addition, a recent study from Mashable showed that videos are shared 12x more than link and text posts and that photos are “liked” 2x more than text updates.

5.  LinkedIn will begin to fade.

Although this seems very specific, Facebook has begun to roll out a job finder function, and should that grow and be accepted by the over 1 billion Facebook users, I believe LinkedIn will begin to fade.  People rely on their community to help them make decisions, from where to stay to what products to buy.  They will also begin to look to Facebook for job referrals and endorsements, and Facebook Groups tend to be more active and more conversational than LinkedIn, which may spell the end to LinkedIn.

 So, there you have it.  5 predictions for 2013.  Do you have any predictions of your own?  What do you think of these?  Feel free to discuss below.

 

Resources

2013 Social Media Predictions for Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more

5 Social Media Predictions for 2013

6 PR and social media predictions for 2013

Web and Social Media Predictions for 2013

Google announces stats for its Plus social network

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Top 10 Stories on Digital Ethos for 2012

Top 10 ListThis is it.  The last Saturday of 2012.  I’m not really sure where the year has gone, and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  As I sit here and reflect on the year gone by, I realize there have been some great moments, as well as some real major disasters within the social media world.  And, there are plenty of lists categorizing these throughout the “interwebs”.  For those interested, I’ve included links to those lists in the resources, below.

But what about this site?  With a large day-to-day increase in visitors and subscribers to Digital Ethos, there may be things that have appeared throughout the year that you have missed, so I thought we would be remiss in not offering you a list of our top stories from the previous year.  So, without further ado, here are our top 10:

1.  Nine Steps to Becoming a Twitter Chat Pro – Have you heard of twitter chats?  Have you been “bitten” by them?  Then check out these 9 steps to becoming a pro.

2.  Beneficial Twitter Strategies — There are actually a few different strategies that seem to be working for businesses using Twitter as a marketing tool. A perfect running strategy can also be custom tailored to your own small business needs by combining a bit of knowledge on social media engagement with a handy tool or two.

3.  A Day at Google New York & Seth Godin – This is a great recap of a day spent at Google through their Google Engage for Agencies program, and a great opportunity to learn from Seth Godin.

4.  Social Media and Hurricane Sandy —  Everyone on the east coast will remember Hurricane Sandy, and the way it changed many of our lives.  Here is a great article on how social media played a part.

5.  More on Logo Design & Branding – This comment to blog post regarding company logos is a great history and discussion on logos and branding.

6.  Consistency is Key in Your Integrated Marketing Strategy —  So, you are “on” social media, but now what?  How do you succeed?  Consistency is the key.

7.  What Digital & Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Business Consultants —  Before even engaging in marketing and social media, you need to know your goals, and you need to find a consultant who believes your goals are important.

8.  Why You Should Be Using Twitter and 7 Random Benefits —  Twitter seems to be a hot topic this year, and this article is no different.  Why should you be on Twitter and what benefits will it bring?

9.  How Important is Response Time to Your Customers on Twitter and Facebook? – Businesses that claim to be active on social media also need to be responsive to posts by clients and potential clients.  But how important is that, and how quickly must you respond?

10.  Top 10 On-Line Social Media Resources (plus one more) – What list is complete without another top 10 list.  Check out these other great resources for social medial know-how.  You won’t be sorry!

So, there you have it.  The top 10 articles that have appeared on Digital Ethos throughout 2012.  Did you have a favorite that isn’t on the list?  Was there one article that really changed your thinking, tactics or plan?  Make sure to let us know!

And my wish for all of you, in 2013, is health, happiness, prosperity, and a very social new year!

Thank you for visiting in 2012!

 

Resources:

Top 10 Media Stories of 2012

Top 12 Social Media Stories of 2012

Top 12 Social Media Stories of 2012 – CIO

The Top 10 Social Media Stories that Shaped 2012

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

You’ve Got Comments. Now What?

Blog CommentsA client of mine asked a question the other day that got me thinking – “What should I do with all the comments on my blog and Facebook page?”  It was a question that required deeper understanding of their meaning, and when I inquired, she told me quite clearly, “We get so many comments that we don’t reply to them all.”

WOW.  That is a very important statement.  You have so many comments that you just don’t reply to them all???  After you give a presentation, do you answer questions?  If someone calls, do you not answer?

Most people are blogging to encourage participation.  I know this particular client certainly is.  She wants to be seen as an expert within her field, and often ends blog posts with questions encouraging responses.

So why, then, wouldn’t they answer each comment?  The easy answer is that they should, and for three main reasons:  comments build community, comments shows that you appreciate the readers time and effort in responding, and they encourage discussion among your readers.

But, there are more subtle ways that comments and your replies will help your blog.  Your answers may encourage more people to comment and weigh in on the discussion.  After all, people aren’t commenting just to hear themselves type.   Comments will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) since it is likely that comments will be re-iterating keywords used within your blog post making you more likely to rank for those keywords.  In addition, comments may use additional keywords that you hadn’t used, thereby helping you rank for those, as well.

In addition, your responses to blog comments help you build credibility and authority, which is most likely one of the reasons that you are blogging in the first place.  By responding to comments, you will be seen as the go-to expert in your specific topic.  It also shows a willingness to debate and learn from your readers.

There are some reasons why replying to all comments is not feasible or necessary, however.  There are some comments that just don’t require a response.  They are those comments like, “I agree!”, “Thanks.”, “Great Job!”  However, I believe any other comments, including ones that are discussing the merits of the blogs, should be addressed.  If you’ve asked for a response, don’t ignore them.

What do you think?  Should all comments be addressed?  What do you do with your own blogs?  How do you handle comments?  Let’s discuss it in the comments, and I’ll make sure to answer!

 

Resources:

To Reply or Not to Reply to Blog Comments – That is the Question

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

Should I reply to every blog comment?

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Facebook Changes Privacy – For the Better?

Facebook Banner PrivacyThis past Wednesday, Facebook unveiled changes to their privacy settings, and as usual, this has caused quite a stir amongst their 1 billion users.  But are these changes something we should worry about, or is Facebook making our privacy a bigger part of their plan?  Only time will tell.

For now, we are left with the changes that will be occurring over the next few weeks, as they roll out to their full membership.

And, what are the changes that we will see?

Most importantly, members will no longer be able to hide their profile from Facebook’s search function.  Until these changes take effect, users who didn’t want to be found via Facebook’s own search function had the opportunity to “hide” themselves, so that they would not come up when people searched on their names.  According to Facebook, this was not a feature that was well-known or used by a large percentage of people (“a single-digit percentage”), however it was available should people want the benefits of Facebook without being “found”.

Another change will be a refreshed Activity Log, which is where you can review all posts, comments, likes, and shares you’ve made since you joined Facebook.  Now, there will be more information about your personal data, photos and status updates spread across Facebook.  In addition, they are rolling out a new Request Removal Tool that will help you ask people that have uploaded photos of you to remove them.

In addition, Facebook will be providing information about content you have chosen to hide from your Timeline, and whether that information may still appear in other news feeds and searches.  This is especially helpful if you have shared something and later decide to remove it.  This new notice will show you who else may have shared the content, and where it is still visible.

The final change will be the context menus where privacy settings will live.  Currently, the settings are spread about several different menus, depending on what content you are looking to secure.  Going forward, the privacy settings will be called Privacy Shortcuts, and will be a single, organized menu where adjustments can be made.

All of these changes, except our ability to hide our profile, will make it easier to control what is seen and by whom.  And Facebook is taking an active role in helping us see where our content is visible, including pictures and videos.

What do you think of the changes?  Are they for the better?  Worse?  Does it matter?  Let’s talk.

 

Resources:

Facebook Changes Privacy Settings

Facebook Changes Privacy Controls, Forces Users to be Searchable

Here’s What the New Facebook Privacy Settings Will Look Like

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Justin Handley on Digital Business Hour

Justin Handley

Justin Handley founded the Narasopa Media in 2000, and has steadily built it over the last 12 years. The first five years were spent experimenting and learning, doing everything from web design to ghost writing books on marketing. Working behind the scenes for some of the world’s top marketers Justin gained a solid foundation in the essentials of online marketing and project management, and was a project manager on things as varied as Virtual Family Kingdom, a virtual world that went to 200,000 users in 30 days, Cisco’s AS3 reseller management application, the online multi-player version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

In the last five years just has completely built four online businesses from the ground up.  Every one has hit 1 million dollars in less than 12 months.

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

E-Mail Marketing – The First Social Network

Email -- The First Social NetworkE-mail has been around since before the dawn of the internet.  That’s right, in the early 1970’s, the Federal Government was sending messages through the United States Department of Defense network, which handled over 30 million messages per month.

As we began to move more onto the information super-highway, services like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America On-Line began to proliferate, making it incredibly easy for everyone to have an e-mail address.  In fact, at the height of AOL’s dominance, they had over 30 million members worldwide (they only serve about 2.9 million subscribers, as of October 2012).  In contrast, Facebook has over 1 billion members, as of September 2012.

What made e-mail so “social” was the ease at which your messages could be forwarded to your entire address book.  If you wanted to share with friends and family, all you had to do was hit the “forward” button, and they were all able to participate in the discussion.

Fast forward to today, and most businesses are marketing through e-mail, but that doesn’t mean that they are “doing it right.”  Just using this “social network” isn’t enough.  We need to ensure that our e-mail marketing is accomplishing its goals of increased business, increased lead generation, and increased market share.  The big question, then, is what are some best practices in e-mail marketing?

Best Practices

1. Write compelling Subject Lines

  • Keep it short and simple and incorporate the benefit of opening the e-mail.

2. Set your objective and then choose the appropriate frequency

  • Are you trying to promote, inform, or relate to your audience?

3. Call your audience to action

  • You are sending the e-mail for a reason.  Make sure they know it.

4. Make sure they recognize the “From” address

  • They may know your company name, but not yours.  Make sure the email comes from someone they “know.”

5. Keep your main message and call to action “above the fold”

  • This is “news speak” for making sure that the important information is seen without scrolling the message.

6. Be mindful of mobile devices

  • Statistics say that 38% of email is opened on a mobile device and only 33% is opened on a desktop, so make sure the fonts and images will look good on your recipients mobile devices.

7.  Make sure to use alt-text for your logo and pictures

  • This is text that describes the pictures and logos should images be turned-off on your web browser, smart phone or e-mail client.  That way your recipient knows what should be in the image’s place.

In addition to the tips above, always make sure that you are abiding by the “Can-Spam Act”, which requires the following:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information;
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines;
  3. Tell recipients where you are located;
  4. Honor opt-out requests;
  5. There needs to be a relationship between the sender and receiver.

If you follow these best practices and requirements, then your e-mail marketing is on the right track to continuing the social nature of e-mail marketing.

What subject lines to you find work the best? The worst?  Do you feel that you get too much e-mail?  Sound off in the comments below.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia – Email

Wikipedia – AOL

Constant Contact – The Value of E-Mail Marketing Video

9 Email Marketing Best Practices to generate More Leads

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

Constant Contact

AWeber

MailChimp

Mobile email usage statistics

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Pay With a Tweet – Buying with Influence

Pay with a tweetHappy Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  What if we could pay for our Black Friday purchases with a simple tweet (or a like)?

Although we can’t pay for our fancy new DVD player simply by tweeting, a new company aptly called “Pay with a Tweet” has started a new service where anyone who is trying to grow their reach can offer their products for the simple price of a tweet.  They call themselves the “first social payment system” where “people pay with the value of their social network.”

Their premise is very simple.  Simply create a “Pay Button” on their site, where you enter the name of the file to be downloaded, the location (they don’t host files), the tweet you want, and the shortened link to include with the tweet.  They provide the code for your new download button.  That’s it.  Then when someone tries to download your item, they first need to send the tweet you have prepared.  Nothing more.

And big brands are getting on board.  Kellogg’s used this service in a “Tweet Shop” Kellogg's Tweet Shop Menuto launch its latest Special K range of cracker crisps in Soho, London.  All you had to do is visit the store for your “free” package of chips, and tweet out that you were doing so.  They even displayed the tweets on their “tweet wall”.  Kellogg’s gets your influence, and you get products.  It seems like a “win-win” for everyone.

But, is it ethical?  This isn’t a question I could answer, but in my opinion, it is.  All you are asking people to do is tell their network that you received the item.  Although many people may feel that this is an implicit endorsement, it is no different than people following brands on Twitter or liking them on Facebook.  After all, by liking a brand on Facebook, we are telling our network (we have an average of 229 friends, according to Pew Research Center) that we trust that brand.  Is paying with a tweet any different?  And this may just be the perfect way for local musicians to get their new music to the ears of more people, or a great way for a new author to get his books into the hands of people he may never have been able to reach.

In the end, all we are doing is asking people to leverage their network to help.  And isn’t that what social media is all about?

What do you think of this new marketing tactic?  Will you give it a try?

 

Resources:

Pay with a Tweet

Brilliant. Kellogg’s Opens Pay-with-a-Tweet Pop-up Shop in Soho

Pay With a Tweet – Inc. Magazine

Is “Pay With a Tweet” an Ethical Marketing Practice?

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Pinterest Makes the Business Leap

Pinterest PinboardThree years after their humble beginnings, Pinterest has made the leap to the big time.  That’s right, on November 14, nearly 3 years since launching the site as a closed beta Pinterest has opened themselves up to the business world.  No longer do we have to “pretend” to be a person within the photo sharing site.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a pinboard photo-sharing website that allows users to create individual “pin boards” based upon their interests, and share specific photos from around the internet to their followers.  And for the past year, businesses have begun to use Pinterest to increase their global reach through this visual medium.  Brands like Macy’s have been using Pinterest to showcase products found within their stores organized by category and holiday.  But, they have been doing it without direct sanctioning from Pinterest themselves.  Brands had no more abilities within Pinterest than individuals.

Now, things are different.  These new business pages now allow users to specify their company names, as opposed to using a “First Name Last Name” system.  In addition, companies can now verify their accounts and add new widgets to their websites (these widgets will offer the opportunity to display Pinterest content directly on your website), to help increase engagement among their followers.

Pinterest has made it fairly simple to convert your personal page to a business profile, simply by visiting www.business.pinterest.com and clicking the “Convert your existing account” button, and then answering a few questions about your business.  Nothing could be simpler.

In addition, Pinterest has created a “Best Practices” section of their website to help users best use this site to promote their business goals.  This section covers:

  • telling your brand story,
  • building a community on Pinterest,
  • how to send traffic to your site, and
  • how to analyze your Pinterest presence to improve.

Pinterest also offers businesses a full set of case studies about how different organizations are effectively using this platform.

It is my belief that Pinterest will slowly move towards a monetization scheme which would allow users to create advertising within the site.  In addition, I anticipate Pinterest will begin to offer an analytics platform similar to Facebook Insights, so that users can gauge the interactions within their accounts.

Are you looking forward to an easy way to use Pinterest for your business?  Will you be converting your personal page to a business page?  Where do you see Pinterest going in the future?  Feel free to join the discussion below!

 

Resources:

Pinterest Introduces Business Accounts and Tools

Pinterest Finally Rolls Out Business Accounts:  How to Set Yours Up Today

New Tools for Businesses in the Pinterest Community

Pinterest Makes a Brand Play with New Business Toolkit

Wikipedia — Pinterest

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

Benefits and Strategies for Blogging

So, you’ve decided to heed the call and start a blog, whether for your company or yourself, but you keep asking yourself, “why?”

There are many reasons that companies begin a blog, but the most important reasons are (in no particular order) to:

  •  Attract an audienceBenefits of Blogging
  • Inform and interact
  • Motivate action
  • Respond to stories and customers
  • Become a thought leader
  • Brand advertising
  • Build organic search engine optimization (SEO) for your website

Every one of the reasons set forth are perfect in their own right, but most people begin a blog for a combination of the reasons above.  I began my own blog at EsquireTech Solutions for a combination of all the reasons above.  I wanted a forum to interact and inform, I wanted to be seen as a thought leader within the field of social marketing, and I wanted an opportunity to brand my business by sharing my blogs throughout all the social platforms I am active on.

How Do I Begin?

When setting out to create a blog for your company or yourself, it is most important to start out with a plan.  You need to lay out the WHY – why are you building this blog.  Is it as your website or the hub of your digital presence?  Is it strictly as a tool for building your search engine optimization (SEO)?  You need to decide on WHO – who to you hope to reach with this blog?  Who is your intended audience?  And, finally, you need to decide on WHAT – what will you be talking about?  What information are you trying to provide?  What story are you hoping to tell or what need are you trying to fill for your customers?  What is your audience interested in?  Most importantly, you need to make sure that you are going to satisfy your audience’s needs, wants, and motivations.

Blogging Best Practices

Once you have answered the questions laid out above, it is important to follow some best practices for blogging.

  • Establish a strategy
  • Find a voice
  • Be yourself, not what you think people want
  • Create compelling content
  • Be informative and relevant to your audience
  • Make sure to use keywords within your blog for better SEO
  • Post regularly
  • Only you can decide what that is.  Is it monthly, weekly, daily?
  • Engage with your readers
  • Make sure to encourage conversation and always respond to every comment
  • Spread your content
  • Use all of your social sites to bring your content to your audience
  • Use interesting visuals
  • Use bullets, and headings to break up the content

 Blogging Don’ts

Just as there are some “best practices” there are certain things that you should never do within your blog (or your social sites):

  • Don’t SELLBlogging and social are to help your customers and build your reputation, not sell
  • Don’t try and control the conversation
  • Don’t argue with your commenters.Everyone is entitled to their opinions
  • Don’t ignore the audienceNot responding to comments is as bad as not answering the phone
  • Don’t force conversation
  • Let it happen naturally

Finally, I think the most important rule of blogging is this:  Just do it.  We all have something to say and something to contribute to the conversation.  Find what you are passionate about and write about that.  When there is passion, or a willingness to learn, there is great content.

So, let’s get out there and blog.  Talk to your audience.  Teach.  Help.

Why did you start blogging?  Have any other best practices to share?  Any other tips to avoid?  Let’s talk!

 

Resources:

Blogging Best Practices

Corporate Blogging Best Practices

Corporate Blogging: 7 Best Practices

The 12 Dos’s and Don’ts of Writing a Blog

 

About Craig Yaris

Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107 .

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