Archive > April 2011

Getting Qualified Twitter Followers

admin » 25 April 2011 » In Internet, Marketing, Social Media » No Comments

Getting Qualified Twitter Followers

When it comes to Twitter, your main concern for you is how to increase the number of followers over what you have already. However, it isn’t enough to merely acquire followers. You need to acquire high-quality followers.

Quality over quantity

Before you start on your strategic social media campaign, you need to identify which specific followers you want to follow you on Twitter. The higher the quality of your followers, the higher the quality of your social media relationships will be. If your content is excellent but the wrong people are following you and reading it, it won’t go very far.

Make sure that you have a complete profile

An extremely easy way to establish credibility is to complete your Twitter profile. The credibility plays into it because your completed profile makes others understand that you know what you are talking about. Remember to include a current photograph of yourself as part of your profile. The photo is very important because it gives you a human quality—a quality that other people can relate to. It is critical for you to complete your entire profile. Another very important part of your profile is your biography. People not only need to understand who you are and what you are doing now, they also need to understand where you come from and how you got to where you are now.

Introduce yourself

An easy and effective way to establish connections on Twitter is to simply introduce yourself to people with whom you wish to connect. Try to interact with them as much as you can and you will see that before you know it, your relationship will be solid.

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Building Online Trust: 7 Tips for Being Authentic Online

admin » 21 April 2011 » In Internet, Social Media » No Comments

Building Online Trust: 7 Tips for Being Authentic Online

A client working on her social media strategy asked me a couple of days ago for guidance on gauging the credibility of industry bloggers. She wants to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with opinion-leading peers in her market space. Without actually meeting these people, how can one tell a legitimate, trusted expert source from a self-proclaimed one?

That question of whom to trust is the same for all of us when evaluating a business online. We look for basic data points to validate legitimacy. The more transparent and accessible that validation is, the more likely we are to believe claims—everything we need is available and easy to find, with nothing to hide. But there’s more to trustworthiness than being transparent with information. There’s the apparently simple—but actually very complicated—matter of how you behave.

Authenticity is the experiential aspect of online trust. The idea is that people respond to, engage with, and ultimately trust other people, businesses, and brands demonstrating congruence between their claims and their conduct. It means, effectively, you have to walk your talk in order to be trustworthy. It also means you earn trust through honest, personable, and transparent interactions with your audience. Only then can you build a valuable client-customer relationship.

This is all heady stuff. What does it mean to your online business strategy? Here is a checklist of basics to assure you’re serving your online markets authentically:

1. Be Real. Use your name (or that of another real person at your company) and contact information. That means: No pseudonyms or generic addresses. Your business gets zero points for sending leads to an “info@” e-mail address, or forcing people who are interested in reaching out online to fill out an anonymous-feeling form. Let them connect with a real, caring person, with a real phone number or e-mail address. Post a photo, or video intro (five-to-10 seconds only) with the contact info. This goes for your Twitter account, too: use a real headshot photo, not an avatar or anonymous icon. Amplify the voice of your brand by personalizing your online bios with interesting details or stories; these can convey a lot about what it’s like to work with you.

2. Be Responsive. Would you publish your phone number if you didn’t intend to answer it? If you give people a way to reach you (phone, e-mail, Facebook Page, Twitter feed), make sure someone is assigned to respond. Responses should be prompt, helpful, and engaging. Even if you’ve set up an auto-notification to acknowledge receipt of an inquiry, make sure there is personal follow-up. It’s really easy to blow this one. For example: I had dinner at a fabulous, popular neighborhood restaurant in San Francisco a couple of weeks back. The food was fantastic, service great, and entire experience one I would gladly pay for again. I went to the restaurant’s website the next day and wrote a glowing thank-you message via its “Contact Us” form. What happened? I received no response—not even a simple acknowledgement. The restaurant had nailed its core value proposition, but blew an opportunity to win a new evangelist.

3. Respect Privacy. People are paying more attention to online privacy and appreciate—not to mention expect—you to guard theirs. Be proactive about stating how you will treat users’ personal information. In close proximity to your request for a prospect’s contact information, include a one or two sentence statement about how you intend to use and not use it (in very plain English) as well as a link to your more comprehensive privacy policy. You do have a privacy policy, yes? Is it posted? Is it in plain English? (See Red Tricycle’s privacy policy, for example.) Be sure to articulate your commitment to keeping data private and secure, and provide a contact for questions or inquiries (again, say it with me: a real person!).

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Web Words That Lure the Readers

admin » 12 April 2011 » In Google, Marketing, Search Engines, Social Media » No Comments

Web Words That Lure the Readers

The Huffington Post has hired veteran journalists to beef up its news coverage. But a significant chunk of its readers come instead for articles like one published this week: “Chelsy Davy & Prince Harry: So Happy Together?”

The two-sentence article was just a vehicle for a slide show of photographs of the couple and included no actual news. But “Chelsy Davy” was one of the top searches on Google that day, and soon after the article was published it became one of the first links that popped up in Google’s search results.

It was an example of an art and science at which The Huffington Post excels: search engine optimization, or S.E.O. The term covers a wide range of behind-the-scenes tactics for getting search engine users to visit a Web site, like choosing story topics based on popular searches.

Because Google is many Internet users’ front door to the Web, S.E.O. has become an obsession for many Web publishers, and successful ones use the strategies to varying degrees. But as newspapers, magazines, blogs and online-only news sites increasingly compete for readers, they are making it more of a priority than ever and adopting new techniques, like trying to maximize pass-alongs on social networks.

The Huffington Post’s skill at using these tactics to increase readership and revenue was one of the ways it made itself worth $315 million to AOL, which acquired it this week. And Demand Media, which runs sites like eHow and Answerbag.com and values search engine optimization perhaps more than any other publisher, raised $151 million in a public offering in January.

Models like these could pave the route toward profitable journalism in a postprint world, some analysts say — or, others worry, drive online media to publish low-quality articles that are written to appeal to search engines instead of people.

S.E.O. is “absolutely essential,” said Rich Skrenta, chief executive of the search engine Blekko. Still, he said, it can turn into a “heroin drip” for publishers: “They had this really good content at the beginning, but they realize the more S.E.O. they do, the more money they make, and the pressure really pushes down the quality on their sites.”

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