Social Media for B2B & B2C Headline Animator

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Small Business Owners: Marketing Your Company Blog

Have you started your companies' blog yet? Well if you have there are tons of new tools out there to help you market it and to get it seen by your target audience. Today we are going to go through 6 helpful tips to help you get your message out there and on Friday we'll tackle another 6 tips to complete the series.

1. Create a ping list.

A ping list is basically a list of URLs that you set up on any blogging software that "pings" the major rss aggregators every time you post a new blog. It is extremely helpful in giving your blog visibility. Most blog platforms have a setting where you can place a ping list. Need an example of some URL's you should use for your ping list - here's some of the one's I use:

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php
http://www.blogsnow.com/ping
http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi
http://coreblog.org/ping/
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping

This doesn't even scratch the tip of the iceberg on the number of ping URLs available.

2. Syndicate your blog posts.

Many blog resources and directories will syndicate every post url or at least a snippet of your post. The two that I rely upon are Bloglines & Technorati. However there are a few others out there:

- Blogcatalog.com
- Google Blog Search
- FeedFury.com
- NewsIsFree.com
- Syndic8.com

3. Make sure you give your readers the tools they need to bookmark your blog to social media sites.

Ever seen this icon on a blog or a news article?


Of course you have! You want to be sure to include this icon on your blog so that your readers can bookmark all of your posts. If you want to incorporate this button on your page, try the one from Addthis.com

4. Make your RSS feeds available to your readers.
Nothing is worse than finding an interesting blog & there is no RSS feed button available. This is how readers are able to subscribe to your blog and it is a great way to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Typically, the rss feed is shown with the following image:
Make sure to include one of these icons on every page of your blog.

5. Sign-up for a Feedburner account.
If you are interested in knowing who came to your blog, how long they stayed, and a number of other important metrics, a Feedburner account is crucial. Feedburner allows you to change your feed, so you can keep statistics on your subscribers.

6. Submit your blog to the major blog directories
This is a very important step b/c readers looking for blogs on your chosen topic go here to find blogs of interest. Listing you blog on the directory will only help to increase your blog's visibility.

I hope your head has stopped spinning by now. If you have any questions about it in the mean time or want to discuss what I've written here, please leave a comment and let's discuss it. Til next time.....


Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blogging for Business

So the age old adage "Build it and they will come", applies to blogging as well. However, there are certain caveats to keep in mind in order for this work. Having a blog is one thing, getting people interested in reading it, subscribing to it and linking to it on a regular basis is a different issue.

Last week, we briefly touched on the basics of blogging. Now, we're going to go a little deeper on the etiquette of blogging. For my business, I try to keep my blog as conversational as possible. Have you ever read most corporate blogs? BORING!!!!!! Just like entertainment & sports blogs work to engage you by having interesting content, your business blog must do the same. A blog is not the same as a white paper, wherein your goal is to educate and inform. Your business blog should be more about starting a conversation with your readers, stimulating intelligent conversation, taking a side and allowing others to share their side as well.

Most business blogs fail because they don't take into account the human side of business. You must be able to relate to your readers as a human first, not a business. Sharing your personal insights & experiences in your business blog is what makes it human and its something most B2B blogs lack. Being conservative is great for your web copy, but in your blog, its okay to let your hair down a bit and just be human & relate.....after all isn't that what business is all about anyway? What do you think?

Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Friday, July 11, 2008

Social Media Marketing for the Small Business Owner (B2B side)

With so many applications and websites to choose from where does the small business owner begin? Well, to get you started here's a quick breakdown of all of the various types of "Social Media" tools we have available at our disposal.

Blogs
Blogs are perhaps, the most obvious type of social media. Blogs, like this one, are simply a regular entry of commentary, done by an individual or a company. They can be written on any topic under the sun. Why should your small business have one? I can give you 3 good reasons: 1)It presents you as an authority in your industry to your clients & customers 2)It is a great way to get your website noticed by search engines (Who can't use help w/their SEO?) 3)If you don't, you can believe your competition is already doing it. Bottom Line: You need a blog these days to help market your business online and it doesn't hurt to share what you've learned w/others. I guarantee they'll thank you for it.

Podcasts
Podcasts, are very similar to blogs, in that they contain commentary on any topic imaginable,but they are not the same. Simply put, podcasts are an audio or video file that can be downloaded, heard or watched on the Internet. They are particularly great for small businesses that need to explain or show specific techniques or share musical insight.

Social Networking Sites
Sure there's MySpace & Facebook, almost everyone has heard of them. But now there are many more niche sites that can be a great help to small businesses. LinkedIn & Plaxo Pulse are great alternative networking sites that are tailored for businesses. By becoming a member you have access to other members, their expertise and its a great resource to generate leads for your business. Additionally, its a great way to create relationships, which, after all, is what social networking is all about.

Wikis
Wika What? No, it is not a sound you make as you're scratching a record. Wikis are basically a collaboration web site. It allows you to post documents, notes, etc in one location that can then be edited by others in your organization at any time. Wikis are especially great for businesses that are process oriented or have high turnover ratios. It allows you to create an online repository for all of your documents, so even when employees leave, you still have the work stored in one central location. Still don't get, just take a trip over to www.wikipedia.com

Media Sharing Sites
This is a huge area, that we could spend all day on, but lucky for you, I've only got 175 words. Basically this bucket includes everything from YouTube, Flickr & Digg to iLike.com & Justin.tv. Each has various uses, but they center around video, photos, social bookmarking, Internet TV and music. These sites offer users the ability to upload & share all different types of media. However, its not just about sharing, its also about creating an online dialogue & connection around the media.

Aggregators & Activity Feeds
As if the above wasn't enough to learn, you have Aggregators & Activity feeds to think about. But these guys are actually your friend. Applications like FriendFeed and Tumblr help to create a real time resume of all of your social media activity. So instead of going to each individual web site to participate in social media, sites like these create a profile w/all of your links in one place.

Micromedia
This is one of the newest phenomena to hit the web. This category includes sites like Twitter & Pownce. What's Twitter? It's essentially an application that allows you create mini-blogs known as "Tweets" that can be sent to people in your network. Despite the ease of use, you can only use up to 140 characters, so you've got to keep it brief. Real Estate & Financial business have found it exceptionally helpful to "Tweet" new home listings or stock tips out to their network.

So that's the rundown of Social Media Tools. Is your head still spinning? Don't worry, once you become more comfortable with the terms & actually immerse yourself into the "Social Media World" it'll be a breeze. Next week, we'll go in depth into using blogs to build your business. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send it my way, and I'll be glad to answer.

Yours truly,
B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Monday, July 7, 2008

Social Media for Dummies

As a frequent social media consumer, I got tired of hearing everyone talk about ways to get my attention, ways to engage me and ways to market to me w/o my knowledge, (that Burger King viral ad got me though). So after years of being on the consumer side, I decided to try out the marketing side of things. I figured I've been a part of every movement of social media since there wasn't a term for "social media", why not try my hand at the marketing side of things for my own company. In doing so, I've been introduced to a whole new world of websites, services and terms that I still struggle to pronounce.

However, I have learned a thing a two a long the way and I've decided to join the blogging world of social media, as if they needed another, but from a different perspective. As a small business owner, it can be difficult to run a business, figure out where your next meal is coming from and think about your online social media strategy too. Well good thing I started blogging, b/c I'd like to share a few of my successes as well as failures so that Small Business Owners of the world can unite online, discuss social media tactics for their businesses and maybe just maybe, take over the world!!!! Well, at least the online world.......for now......(evil laugh)

I will be posting various topics of interest to small business owners and marketing professionals as well around the topic of social media and I would love if you come along for the learning experience of a lifetime. I will post new & interesting topics on a regular basis. But I just wanted to get the ball rolling. Drop me a line with your thoughts and I'll be glad to return the favor.

Till next time,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild
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