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5 Tips for a Good Twitter Header

Your header is the most important elements of design on your Twitter profile after your avatar. It will have far more visibility than your background and now will be visible on both the profile on the main site and the mobile site. So now its time to get to the brass tacks, how do you design your Twitter header?

There are not too many options, you can chose to have black or white text and then a graphic. The graphic is where you get to flex your creative muscle.

Tips:

1. Don’t make it too cluttered. Remember that most people will be viewing this from a smart phone, which is small.

2. Don’t put too much text. People are not going to spend a lot of time reading your header. In fact, there is already text on it from your profile description. Keep your text simple and easy to read.

3. Remember that Twitter headers are now responsive, so depending on what device, or screen resolution your viewer is using, it will change the positioning of text or images.

4. Check how your header looks on the main site as well as the mobile, there can be some shifting when you view it from a smaller screen.

To help you create a good Twitter header, you can use this template. Just right click and save as. Make sure that it is sized at 1500 x 500.

 

Inorganic Social Media: Buying Reviews

Your restaurant might be guaranteed organic, but your reviews might not be!

Gone are the days when social media was guaranteed organic. When you could count on feedback and opinions being the genuine article, and when a friend gave a good product review it was because they stood behind the product. Gone are the days when you talked all your friends into liking your page and writing you good reviews. Now, if you want it, you can buy it.

Want Facebook Likes? Go buy them.

Want Twitter followers? Go buy them.

Want Youtube views? Go buy them.

If someone can like it, follow it, watch it, or somehow boost a number by simply clicking a button then you can buy the button click.

These popularity buys have been empty numbers, meaning they are often bots or people being paid pennies to click your like button. They are not real fans. They do not care about you, your page, your product. They will not buy what you are selling, read your posts, tell their friends about it or comment…or will they?

The newest trend in buying popularity is buying reviews. Restaurants have be “faking” reviews for a while now by writing positive reviews for their restaurants on review sites. Often times their reviews were relatively transparent, especially if their glowing review was the only really good review in a sea of mediocre or bad reviews. But now there is a way around that.

Companies are paying people to write good reviews on sites like yelp.com or tripadvisor.com. They buy these good reviews from a company, and that company goes and writes a number of positive reviews on the review sites. The reason for this is due to the success of crowd sourcing.

Crowd sourcing has been a powerful byproduct of social media. Ask about a restaurant, store, product and hear what your friends have to say. Basically turn to the crowd to see what they like. This word of mouth advertising is the primary power of social marketing. But with being able to buy that crowd sourcing, will it lose its effectiveness?

According to a new study, by 2014 10-15% of online reviews will be bought. The FCC is trying to regulate these false testimonies, but will not likely be terribly successful. After all, how will they differentiate between real reviews and fake ones?

With an inability to effectively regulate false customer testimonies and an increase in purchased testimonies, will people continue to rely as heavily on online reviews as they have in the past? Will sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor lose their relevance? Likely not. People will still turn to these sites to see what customers have said, because even if 15% of the reviews are bought, the other 85% are real.

Of course, while a company can buy itself good reviews, what is to stop them from buying bad reviews for a competitor?

Lauren MacEwen Business to Consumer Logo Read original post on Business 2 Community

Just for Writers: Social Media Plugins and Tools

Albuquerque Wordcamp LogoSome links to help with your blogging.

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Analyticator – easily installs google analytics with the fuss of meta tags and a huge number of verification steps that never seem to work. Trust me, this is one you want to use.

Social Media measurement: Google Analytics is wrong – Read this blog to understand why you need to take Google Analytics with a grain of salt.

How Google Authorship is showing up in Google Analytics and what it means to quality bloggers.

 

What Google Authorship looks like in search:

What Google Authorship looks like in search

Thank so much for coming to my presentation. Feel free to contact me.

If you would like me to speak at an event or conference, please contact me here.

 

 

 

 

Social Media Profiles: The Unsung Hero of SEO

As long as you don’t share the name with a famous person, social media profiles are extremely useful for creating a brand and getting your name out there. When used together, your profiles can reach the masses. They offer a place to share information and encourage others to share it with their followers too. Whether you create arts and crafts, write novels or have your own IT business, here are some tips to make the most of this unsung hero of SEO.

Create your brand and reputation with social media

Use the Same Picture For All Social Media Profiles

You want to create consistency between your profiles to create a brand. Always use the same image for your profiles. Professional ones tend to look better but you always want to look friendly and approachable. Avoid photos where others are in the shot with you and try to use a plain background or somewhere outside.

You don’t have to use a photo. It could be a logo for your business or a graphic that represents you. Whatever you choose to use, have the same one for every single social media profile, from your Facebook business page to your Pinterest account.

Include the Same Information on Each Account

Avoid copying and pasting the exact same descriptions but include the same important information. For example, if your Facebook page says that you write about technology and finance, your Google+ page shouldn’t talk about writing about internet marketing and history! This leads to inconsistencies and your followers won’t know which one to believe. If you do all four, include them all on both profiles!

Keep your profile name the same and make sure it is the same as anywhere you guest post. This will help you build your online reputation quickly. When people come across your social media profile, they will recognize it from the name on a blog post they previously read; and vice versa. People will trust you more from this branding.

Be a Real Person

Don’t constantly automate everything you say on social media. The point of it is to be sociable! Get on there yourself, respond to comments and write off-the-cuff posts now and then about your day. Get involved with your followers and show that you have an interest. As they see that you’re a real person, they are more likely to connect with you and want to know more.

Keep the same personality on your different platforms. Yes, there is a different way of posting but that doesn’t mean your personality has to change! It is also important to be the person you are in real life. That way, if they meet you, they’re not going to be put off by meeting someone different they’ve gotten to know online.


Social media is the best SEO method to improve your reputation online

Social media platforms are excellent for branding and improving your reputation online. Your name or brand will soon become a household name, as long as you follow a few tips. Keep your profiles consistent. That way, people know what to expect between them and when meeting you in person.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Alexandria Ingham is a freelance writer with experience in technology, internet marketing and personal finance.

How Google+ Is Cleaning Up The Internet

Writing garbageIt’s easy to write an article and put it up on the Internet. While that is encouraging for up and coming writers, it’s also a sure-fire way for more garbage to find an audience than can be done via traditional print media. All anyone needs is a computer and web access, and presto! Suddenly, everyone’s a writer! But fear not, o aficionado of non-crappy prose. Google authorship is here to help curtail the flow of trash!

Keeping It Real
By establishing Google authorship, writers link their articles from other sources (such as their blogs) to their Google Plus profile page. This shows Google and online readers that your material comes from a reliable source, an actual author, as opposed to junk articles generated by spammers.

The last thing you want is to be confused with some kind of spambot or other cheesey cookie-cutter content creator (try saying that three times fast!). When people see your name attached to an article, they need to be assured that what they read is genuine, awesome, genuinely awesome, and speaking of which…

Increased Visibility, The Incentive To Do Better
It is said that “character is what you are when no one’s looking”. Well, that’s true. But on the other hand, it can be argued that when everyone’s looking, you get fired up to give your best performance. Really now. Which makes you more eager to hit one out of the park, content-wise? The idea that no one knows (or cares) who you are, and thus no one sees your stuff, or the knowledge that people are following your posts and visiting your site, eagerly awaiting the next installment of deathless prose to emanate from your brain?

Google Plus lets you establish a stronger web presence, and a better showing on search results. By doing that, you’re less inclined to just cough up something and instead really put some time and effort into what you’re posting. The result? Less garbage, more readable content. Because let’s face it; at one time or another we all get lazy.

So, What To Do?
If you don’t have a Google Plus account and home page yet, get one. Fill out the profile, and link your sites to the page, and vice versa.  You can even link your profiles from other social media (e.g. Facebook) to your Google Plus profile. Add other members to your circles, and start getting known! Link your articles and blogs to your page. Here’s a flowchart to walk you through the process.

Everybody Wins
By using the Google Plus model, writers’ content stands out and their reputations are solidified as exposure grows.  This is a crucial part of online reputation management. Readers find their choices of online content narrowed a little more and made more manageable. The articles written by authors with solid reputations will rise to the top of searches while the crap sinks down into the dark depths where it belongs. And, of course, the sites that host your awesome stuff will benefit, since traffic will be driven there thanks to your solid reputation and search engine optimization. So yes, everybody wins.

Get moving, and in time, when people see your name, they’ll think “popular writer of entertaining articles”, and not “sketchy lapdog of spammer overlords”.


John Terra Bio PhotoBio
John Terra has been freelancing since 1985, and his work has appeared in diverse places like Inc Magazine, Computer Shopper, The Nashua Telegraph, and numerous online sites. An uber-geek and old school gamer, he’s also done extensive freelancing for role-playing games systems like Dungeons and Dragons , Star Wars, and others. John lives with his wife and three cats in Nashua NH.

GooglePlus1: “Here’s another batch of quality Internet articles!”
http://www.photos.com/royalty-free-images/the-bulldozer-on-a-garbage-dump/

Photo Credit: Photos.com

 

Communication of the Social Message: Tips for Business

For every brand, it’s important to think about public perception. How the public, your customers, thinks and feels about your company is vital for maintaining a competitive edge. Companies make impressions through their corporate message and how it’s delivered. As your organization grows, and you add talented players to your team, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that every member of your staff is on the same page. The last thing you want is for a team member to send out a Tweet or status update that’s completely at odds with your company’s overarching social message.

It’s also important to realize that your message may experience some shifts throughout the course of your company’s life. Every company needs technology to help keep everyone up to speed on your company’s branding message. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the resources and tools companies of all sizes should consider and implement.

Tools for Unifying Your Message

—     Collaboration Tools: Collaboration is the lifeblood of the modern business structure. With tools like hosted SharePoint services, companies of all types can stay connected in real time with employees. This is one of the most effective ways to keep everyone up to speed on branding. In most cases, if your employees are engaged with your collaboration platform, it’s easy to disseminate information in a way that is both non-intrusive and easy to access.

—     Cloud Data Access: Another similar way to deliver this information is through an integrated cloud storage service. Not unlike your collaboration tool, a cloud storage platform is a seamless way to deliver complex branding information in an easy-to-access package. While some companies are still wary of the cloud, studies indicate that more businesses are experiencing both the financial and logistical benefits of implementing cloud resources.

—     Virtualization Infrastructure: Regardless of what platform you use to deliver sensitive branding data to your staff, every company needs a powerful infrastructure to make branding data easily accessible for everyone. The problem many SMBs are facing relates to infrastructure itself. Smaller businesses often don’t have the financial resources to integrate and manage a dedicated server to deploy and manage complex branding and messaging information. This is why many SMBs are migrating to virtualized infrastructure solutions like virtual private server technology, which gives you the control and computing power of the cloud without costing what an entire cloud platform would.

Branding Communication is Serious Business

Keeping your team up to speed on your overall social message is no easy task. Not only is it difficult logistically, but you’ll come up against employees that disagree with how you approach your branding. It’s crucial to maintain dialogue about branding processes with your employees. If your employees weren’t on staff, they would be potential customers, so their feedback is valuable. The fact that not everyone is in the same geographic location can muffle this communication. Again, having powerful collaboration and cloud storage tools can serve as the proper remedy.

Designing for Social Engagement

Businesses invested in social media are aware of the benefits it can deliver. While social media is a long-term investment focused on increasing brand visibility and recognition through consumer engagement and relationship building, it can pay out enormous dividends over time. A social presence is particularly useful when your website is publishing original content with value to your consumer base.

By creating content designed for social sharing, you can essentially turn a normal blog post into productive inroads with prospective customers, using a shared link to bring new traffic to your website. From there, you have the opportunity to produce a conversion — but only if you have a well-developed website waiting on the other end of the link. I repeat, if there’s no ill web design waiting for users who click through, they’ll bounce faster than the king of the four square courts. Whether you do it yourself or hire some professional Web designers, make sure it looks good!

Ultimately, social media can become another conversion and revenue stream if you use smart development strategy at every point. Read on for tips to make sure your online strategy is aligned to maximize social opportunities.

Creating content worth sharing

Developing a social brand should be the first focus of any company. In the early stages, you don’t need to worry about creating phenomenal, mind-blowing content as long as you keep the quality high and consistent. Instead, start cultivating followings on major social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, to create a broad base of followers.

Once that base is established, work on increasing the uniqueness and quality of your content. Whether you offer whitepapers, blogs or static Web pages, the things you produce need to be relevant and useful to your consumers in ways that point to the value of your business. These aren’t explicit marketing materials, but they all need to relate to your company’s mission and your value to prospective customers.

As you develop your following and people consume your content, you’ll see more people sharing your content with others. Not only is social sharing a high-exposure, low-cost form of marketing, but it’s a great way to gauge what content is most valuable to your followers.

From content consumer to product consumer

By sharing your website’s content online, you’ll draw followers to your website. When that happens, they become social referrals and potential sales or lead conversions. That’s where your website comes in. As your content is making a case for your company’s value to the consumer, your website should make it easy for them to identify and enter the conversion process.

To do this, you need a simplified Web design that makes your marketing mission clear. Your site’s various links and images need to be simplified so they aren’t distracting — you want consumers to immediately recognize where and how to begin the conversion process. If you can get online referrals this far down the funnel, you’ve got a good chance at securing a conversion.

Efficiency in the conversion process

Once in the conversion process, the trick is in seeing consumers through to the conversion’s completion. This is an efficiency game you have to play well to maximize your opportunities. Online consumers are deterred by seemingly insignificant obstacles. Every line of data you request — address, phone number or email — decreases the odds of potential customers completing the process.

Similarly, every step in the process — every time they have to click “next” or wait for processing to take place — gives them a chance to reconsider their purchase. The more you condense steps and minimize workload, the better. The proof is in the numbers: the easier you make the process, the more conversions you’ll accrue.

By optimizing every point in the consumer process, you can increase the efficiency of your website. From there, focus on creating worthwhile content that engages your consumers. The more useful and worthwhile your content, the more social shares — and, ultimately, referred traffic — you’ll generate from this rich resource.

Customer Service: Your Social Media Tool Box

Like BackgroundJameson Brown of SocialMediaToday.com put it best when he called social media the “game changer” for the customer service industry. Instead of cold-calling and remaining in a stuffy call center, social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have put a mega phone into the consumers hands. While they are tweeting or posting about their joys and woes about the products they use day to day, customer service reps are listening and (hopefully) responding.

One key factor that makes social media work for customers is the connection between the companies’ agent and the consumer. Without that connection, big name companies are using the networking opportunity to leverage their marketing position, which is only a fragment of what social media can do for a company’s growth. Here are a few ways that you can use social media and various networking tactics to broaden your scope of connection with your customer base.

Think Bigger

Think of the social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, as platforms that allow you to make special announcements regarding new products, deals for your fans and followers, cancelations and service interruptions. Posting pics is great too, but customers really want to relate and interact with their company through these networks. After all, it is a “social” network, which implies that the customer is communicating a message to the company and the company lets the customer know that he or she is heard.

The Power of Twitter Connections

One great example of a social media/customer service connection happened when I bought a 2010 Ford Fusion. I was so excited, because it was my first hybrid car, that I immediately posted the pic on my Twitter page. About an hour later, I noticed that the Chapman Ford AZ dealership, that had sold me the car, had replied to my tweet saying that they were so glad that I was enjoying my new car. This connection made me smile and definitely made a difference.

In a recent study, conducted by Software Advice, four of their employees took part in an experiment where they mentioned in their tweets several large corporations, in various industries. For four weeks these participants tweeted complaints, compliments and requests for help, using Twitter handles (@nameofcompany) and the name of the company, so that the company could know who was mentioning them and respond. The results to the study were pretty alarming and showed how little customer service agents are using this extremely useful tool. Brands like Starbucks, Walmart and Apple were surprisingly non-responders, and their competitors took their sweet time and hadn’t even responded to half of the participants. If a customer is complaining about their awful experience at Starbucks and telling all of her friends to boycott the cafe on Twitter and Facebook and Starbucks doesn’t respond, they didn’t just lose one unhappy customer, it’s possible that they lost hundreds thousands if the customer was a celebrity with fans.

Be Efficient

Brown’s article in SocialMediaToday.com was singing the praises of a company that knows how to do customer service on social media networks the right way: Zappos.com. They have a customer service Twitter account that responds to questions in a timely and efficient manner. When a customer tweets about their Zappos shoes, they know that they will get feedback, even if it is just a smile emoticon and a quick “thanks!” Forbes’ Jenna Goudreau says that Southwest Airlines has been known to update flight delays on their Twitter page.

Most importantly, don’t let your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or even blog lay dormant. Content is king, even if it’s a gallery of images that is regularly updated or brief updates on products and services, staying current and present lets your fans know that you are present and available to field requests, questions, or praise at any time day or night.


Yasmin Rose
A real go-getter, Yasmin encourages others around her to shoot for the stars and be the best in the world of business. She loves sharing tips on how to build your own start up and make it into a success.

Getting the message across: Best practices for Multi-channel Marketing

We’ve all seen the people who have stacks of papers, folders, and a dozen different electronic devices all spread out across a desk. Sure, they might just be messy, but often they’re some of the busiest people in an office, keeping track of hundreds of different things all at once. They might be the jacks-of-all-trades to whom everyone goes when they have a problem they just can’t answer.

Or, they might just be a marketer.

When it comes to Internet marketing, it’s always been helpful to be a multitasker. This is especially true if have a lot of clients. You can imagine the disaster that would happen if you cross-posted a status update to the wrong client’s Facebook account. No matter how quickly you got the rogue post deleted, you know someone would capture it. You would then have to deal with the public relations mess you created, and then you would likely lose a client.

Handling that to-do list

Cross-channel marketing isn’t as easy as hopping between social media platforms and making posts. Marketers could be handling email newsletters, SMS messages, social media accounts, websites – and all for multiple clients. If that sounds a little something like your reality, you may need to get some help from experts in cross-channel marketing, so you can always represent your clients in the best light.

Another advantage of getting some professional guidance is that you’re able to track how effective your marketing campaigns are. You want to know who’s reading your SMS blasts, your tweets and posts – and which form of communication is most lucrative for your client.

Sorting things out

Organization is your best tool in any marketing campaign. There are tools and software that can help you stay on top of marketing campaigns and allow you to focus on the platforms that appeal most to the audience you hope to reach.

Cross-channel marketing can be intimidating – especially if you’re someone who’s new to the world of hashtags, memes and viral videos. It takes some expertise to launch a marketing campaign across multiple platforms. You have to understand when to post, what to say, how to say it and how to time your message for the best results. Many companies report that they simply don’t have adequate staff to accomplish such a goal, or that their staff doesn’t have the knowledge to undertake such a campaign.

By bringing in an industry expert to help you analyze and fine-tune your cross-channel marketing, you can be confident that you’re getting the best results and making your clients happy.

A Social Message For My Children (And You)!

My husband often jokes that growing up he made a fool of himself too many times, but “thank goodness it wasn’t on Facebook or a reality TV show watched by millions.” While he is being humorous he is also being insightful. Today’s generation is growing up in a time when mistakes can be damaging and publicized to the world for infinity. It may have been fun for my husband dancing with a Sake bottle on his head in the late 70’s, but that was then and this is the day of social media when the photo would be sent worldwide and possibly misunderstood in corporate America.


According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, 37% of employers use social media sights to research job applicants. “Because social media is a dominant form of communication today, you can certainly learn a lot about a person by viewing their public, online personas,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “However, hiring managers and human resources departments have to make a careful, determined decision as to whether information found online is relevant to the candidates’ qualifications for the job.”

If you are a teen or young adult (like my children) the choices you make today may end up posted on someone’s Facebook or web sight for eternity. As your career sky rockets one of your teen friends may become jealous and decide to pull out those old, destructive, image destroying photos and post them online. We have all seen it before with celebrities, but it is a real concern for those of us who are unknowns as well. Your friend in high school or college may become jealous with your success later in life and decide to show the world events you would prefer to remain in the preverbal closet.

While social media can destroy a career it can also enhance your chances of being hired. According to CareerBuilder, “employers are also looking for information that could potentially give a job seeker an advantage. Three in ten hiring managers (29 percent) said they have found something that has caused them to hire a candidate…”

CareerBuilder’s Haefner says the company’s research reiterates the value of controlling your online persona at all times. “Job seekers should be mindful of what potential employers can learn about them online,” she said. “If you choose to leave social media content public, tailor the message to your advantage. Filter out anything that can tarnish your professional reputation and post communications, links and photos that portray you in the best possible light.”

The solution of not being on Facebook isn’t a solution for the younger generation. According to Forbes magazine writer Kashmire Hill, “I’m seeing the suggestion more and more often that a missing Facebook account raises red flags.”

I predict that in a dozen years from now people will be proud to have invisible sightings online. Companies will develop that not only help manage an online presence, but also helps create a stealth mode of social media that is as private and hidden as it is visible today. In the 70’s and 80’s some American families paid for an unlisted phone number for privacy. In 2024 American’s may once again be paying to keep all their online information private. The world doesn’t need to know how much money you paid for your house or your salary if you’re a public school teacher. Privacy will come with a price, but it will come.

Today, however, Hill expresses a growing concern, “But it does seem that increasingly, it’s expected that everyone is on Facebook in some capacity, and that a negative assumption is starting to arise about those who reject the Big Blue Giant’s siren call. Continuing to navigate life without having this digital form of identification may be like trying to get into a bar without a driver’s license.”

According to Reppler, a firm dedicated to managing people’s internet visibility, the Top 5 reasons hiring managers hired a candidate based on social presence include:

1.The candidate gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit.

2.The profile supported their professional qualifications.

3.The profile showed that the candidate was creative.

4.The candidate demonstrated solid communication skills.

5.The profile showed that the candidate was well-rounded.

Bidhan “Bobby” Parmar, professor at the Darden School of Business, may have sage advice when he states, “Before posting information and photographs on Facebook, remember that in the virtual world, our houses are made of glass. Every piece of data is permanent and stored in a digital archive. More than half of employers cite provocative photographs as the biggest factor in the decision not to hire.”

My message for my children (and you) is to make wise choices that you are always happy and comfortable having the world view. While you aren’t on a reality TV program being seen by millions, you’re on social media being seen by a select few that may matter more to you than all the millions watching an invasive, destructive show. Be yourself, but don’t risk your reputation on a moment of insanity. And, finally, if you want to make a fortune, develop a program that people can buy that will keep their personal life private and
invisible.


Sheri Staak has served in many Vice Presidential roles at both large privately held and publicly traded global companies. She’s a corporate powerhouse and has been the recipient of numerous sales awards and recognitions. In addition to her key position in a highly aggressive, extremely competitive industry, Sheri is a regular contributor to a travel newsletter, lending her expertise by writing articles that provide tips and advice for business travelers. She also shares her wisdom and business perspectives with regular postings at her leadership-focused blog, The Staak Report.