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5 Social Media Must Haves

Here are the 5 things every business must do to build a community online and bring in clients via social media.

1. Website

It’s your web basecamp, start here.
Work in Progressphoto © 2006 Grant Kwok | more info (via: Wylio)

2. Blog, forum, or some way of delivering active audience-focused content.

I have a few clients that really do not want to blog. They know they should to get the best online results, but they do not have time to create a post daily, weekly or sometimes even monthly. Hmmm, what to do? Well, number one, you can try NOT calling it a blog. Call it News and Events, or Random Thoughts. It gives you the ability to post when YOU want to without hearing the tapping of your audience’s foot waiting for a post sent out at strictly timed intervals. Sure, you might not get astronomical SEO, but you will get the liberty of posting at a time that is right for you and your business while still building your SEO. Forums, yes, forums. Great audience-generated content. Sit back and engage with your audience in a forum on your site. Glean that great content for use in blogs, I mean a ‘Random Thoughts’ column, new product ideas or your next promotion. Downside? Monitoring the forum for the wayword spammer or opinionated [expletive here] that maybe has ulterior motives or just wants to cause trouble. Other ideas? I’ve seen everything from ‘a quote of the day’ snippet to contests that involve the audience on a daily basis. I liked the later much more than the former. The key here is knowing your audience, using some imagination and creating something that entices people to involve themselves with your site regularly.

3. Social Media Networks

Facebook, Google, My Space, Google+, and Twitter are just a few of the networks where you may want to create a presence. Deciding which ones to join and how many you can be active with is a choice you will need to make, but usually the more the better.

4. Review Sites

Review sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp!, etc. are often overlooked, but surefire ways of getting great objective feedback. It’s always best when someone says something nice behind your back. They make it easy to ‘nudge’ those comments along with widgets that you can put on your website to show off your reviews. This is a free and easy way to make a big impact with your social network.

5. Visit the folks –other folks that is.

Find a forum or comment on someone’s blog (not your own) where your audience or fringe audience hangs out. You might learn what you should be doing and be able to offer some advice or help out. A couple of useful places to engage with an audience, whether niche or broad, is Quora and Alltop.

Integration

As you build this infrastructure, you’ll need to integrate as much as possible. From adding a Facebook ‘Like’ button to adding your website in your signature as often as possible there are countless possibilities for integration. The person that does this best wins.

At this point, someone usually says –“That’s it! That’s all you have to do.” Or “You can do this all yourself practically for free.” Yes, you can. But if you decide to do all this on your own when will you have time to produce your product or deliver your actual service? Now, might be the time that you realize that there are some things you do and some things you get help for. Give us a call today! We’ll set up a social media system that fits your talents, what you need and what you can afford.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Vanity Suffixes For Your Domain, Small Businesses Need Not Apply

This week in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which is the Internet body that oversees domain names, voted to open the control of domain suffixes a.k.a. gTLD (generic top-level domains) like .com, .net, .biz, etc. In the past they have allowed a total of only 22 suffixes. Going forward, companies will be able to apply for their own “vanity” suffixes or top-level domains.domain-suffixes

Mom and Pop, hold on! Don’t get too excited, this is probably a little bit out of your league and whether that’s a good thing or not will likely be a matter for future debate. By and large, this should not affect business in Appleton or Green Bay, WI. Let me use an example, likely new suffixes will be .coke, .ford, .canon, and maybe .kc –you get the idea. This move by ICANN is designed for the BIG BOYS and the brands that can afford it, not small or medium-sized businesses.

How Are They Targeted for the Big Brands?

Prices start with a $185,000 non-refundable application fee, plus an additional $25,000 annually just to operate the registry. Ouch! Now, that will keep a lot of businesses out, won’t it? Add in the whole legal cost of paying off cybersquatters to protect those trademarks and maybe Mom and Pop should be happy not to have been invited to this game.

The first round of applications will begin acceptance from next January to April (2012) and start appearing on the Internet by the end of 2012. ICANN will require those applying show a legitimate claim to the name they intend on buying and are hiring hundreds of consultants to adjudicate all of these claims. For those that apply and get turned down, please note that I said ‘non-refundable’ above. That’s right, if you get refused on whatever grounds, you lose $185,000.

Internet interest has of course spiked within all of the social media networks for this subject. The main concern seems to be that corporate interests are once again winning out over the general populace. Some of the other concerns are: 1) user confusion on the URL structure, 2) that there will not be any way to validate URL structures or emails without trying first them, 3) how search engines may be further manipulated, 4) the introduction of offensive domains like perhaps .nazi. and finally 5) those that invested in expensive .com domains will find the value of these assets greatly diminished.

Time will tell if this is a good thing, a bad thing or if it truly even matters. Right now, it looks like our kids will someday wonder what a .com even was.

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

Give us a call today!