Tag Archives: Facebook

My Top 6 Social Media Pet Peeves

Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve made a commitment to myself to post at least three times a week.  I’ve been pretty good at sticking to my goal but I’ll admit, on some days, it’s hard to think of something to write about. Not today.  Today, the topic hit me while I was sitting down at the computer first thing this morning to check on some accounts.  As part of my routine, I took a look at my Twitter account and saw that I had several new followers.  Not wanting to alienate anyone by forgetting to acknowledge them, I checked out who the new followers were.  Eggs.  Eggs with no bios.  I knew right then that my topic for today was Social Media Pet Peeves.

We all have things in life that bug us. Nails on a blackboard, people who are late or people who crack their gum.  The social media arena is no different.  While most of us try to follow the simple rules of common courtesy and etiquette, there will always be those who, like in the offline world, are loutish, annoying and just not fun to be around.  Here are the top 6 things that drive me nuts online:

  • No picture or bio on Twitter: Social media, by nature, is about connecting with other people, for friendship, business or to pass time.  If you’re going to set up an account and actively tweet and follow people, why on earth would you not put up a picture and bio to let others know who they’re interacting with. It still completely baffles me when I see a bio-less egg with 1000’s of followers. I mean, Really??
  • Auto DM: Whoever thought up this marketing tactic should be seriously examined.  I don’t know about you but I hate getting those automatic messages in my inbox telling me I can make millions by following this link.   These messages are completely impersonal (thanking me for following you with an auto DM? Not cool). I’d rather not receive anything than a promotional message or a canned message telling me how excited you are that I’m following you.
  • Spammy @ or #FF tweets: I’m a firm believer in Social Media Karma.  I always thank people (personally) for following and for mentioning me online. I think #FollowFriday is a great idea to thank people you’ve interacted with during the week and to let others know about really interesting and helpful people to follow.  However, I do find it annoying (and puzzling) when people I’ve had no contact with at all — ever, include my name in a @ list that keeps going around and around. Especially when the instigator isn’t even following me in the first place.
  • No contact information: Last week, I retweeted one of Chris Brogan’s tweets that read: “Just didn’t give someone business because their G+ page didn’t have contact information.” I do find it very frustrating when someone doesn’t include at least an e-mail address on their website. One of the main reason we are all online is to connect. How are we supposed to do that if I can’t get in touch with you?  No info, no new business. It’s as simple as that.
  • Links with great titles that don’t take you where you want to go: How often have you read a really catchy blog or link title, whether on twitter, G+ or Facebook and when you click through, it isn’t to the article that you really wanted to read but it’s to a web or promotional page?  While I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, I will unfollow for repeat offenses.
  • Virtual Chain letters: How many times did you freak out as a kid when you got a chain letter in the mail? Nowadays, the online versions are all too commonplace. I’m here to tell you now: You will not be cursed forever, you will not have 99 years of bad luck, you did not win the Ugandan lottery, your mom will not die in 4 hours and there is NO WAY that sending an e-mail to 10 people will make an image or video appear. So before you consider whether or not to pass a chain e-mail on to me, take this advice and please don’t!

Now that I have that out of my system, I’m open to hearing what your pet peeves are so come on and share your favourites!

How the Small Retailer Can Use Social Media

Using Social Media for the Small RetailerAs a social media coach, it always baffles me when I hear the small business owner question how and why they need a social media strategy.  And I do hear it a lot.  Especially from retail owners.  As I was getting ready today, I picked up a bottle of Sephora lotion.  Holding it in my had, I looked at the name Happy Birthday Beautiful Vanilla Birthday Cake Lotion.  As I stared at the bottle, it hit me.  Sephora had it right.

The reason I had the body lotion was because my birthday is next week and I received my yearly, happy birthday e-mail from Sephora letting me know that I could come in and pick up my free birthday gift (the lotion).   I’m always excited to get a free (no purchase necessary) gift so this past weekend I braved the Christmas crowds, went down to the mall and walked into Sephora.  I’m not sure if you have ever been to Sephora but (for me, anyway) it’s impossible to walk in without taking way too much time to look at tall the new beauty products, creams, lotions, nail polishes and stuff.  So, before I went to the register to get my free (no purchase necessary) gift, I had a look around.  Needless to say I left the store with my free birthday gift, along with a big bag of other (not so free) goodies.  I had done well. But so had Sephora.

Retail use of social mediaThe Gap has it right, too.  I get weekly e-mail coupons from them ranging from 15-60% off products storewide. I use these coupons religiously when I shop. By incorporating social media as part of their marketing strategies, these large retail owners have made sure, through accumulating large e-mail lists and offering low and no cost incentives to those who frequent their store, that they are always on their customers minds.

But how, as a small business owner, can you compete with these retail giants? One of the benefits of creating and maintaining an effective social media strategy is that, with a bit of hard work and perseverance, it doesn’t need to cost a lot.  Whenever I go downtown, I make a stop at my favorite ice cream shop.  By using Foursquare to check in, I get 10% of my order.  By liking the Facebook page of an independent gas station in my area, I receive updates of when the gas is going to be offered at a lower price. I can print out online coupons from a pretty good (not the best – but the best offers no incentives) Chinese restaurant that range from 5-15% of my order.  QR codes can go a long way in getting your online and offline marketing strategies in synch. These are all concrete ways that the local small business can use social media to reach, engage, and capture potential customers.  Using tools like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp can increase your visibility both online and offline.  It seems silly NOT to use social media.

Now I’m not going to lie to you. Using social media, until you can find your footing, is time consuming and a bit scary.  Most business owners don’t really know where to start or think that if they put up a Facebook page, thousands of Fans will flock to their page and their business will increase overnight.  This will probably not happen.  Just having a Twitter account but not having anyone to tweet regularly and effectively will likely not benefit your business at all. However, with a well thought our strategy with a clear goal of why you want to be online, will definitely help propel your business in the right direction.

So today, as I use my free Happy Birthday Beautiful Birthday Lotion from Sephora, I am reassured again of the power of social media.  The lotion, to me, is proof of how well it can work.

Five Tips For Getting Quality Links

For those of us in small business, one of the main concerns when putting up a web or blog site is, of course, getting found. While writing good quality content is extremely important when trying to get found, link building is one of the most effective ways to get noticed by Google.  But what are links, why do we need them and how do we get them?

Basically, a link is clickable text that you can follow to another page.  Think about how you found this (totally awesome and wickedly interesting) blog page. You followed a link from somewhere.  Perhaps it was from Facebook, Twitter or a search.  But you clicked and followed the link here.  The official name of the link is a backlink because it’s a clickable text that point the reader back to your article, website or blog post. The more links that lead back to your site the better because Google considers each backlink like a vote for your site.  The more votes, the more popular you will be and the easier you will be to find.

It’s important to understand that quality over quantity counts (although quantity is good too.) Google always ranks pages with links coming from high PageRank pages, with content related to yours, as more important and relevant than those with lower ranking and seemingly unrelated content.  So linking to high PageRack sites in our niche is more important than simply getting links from unrelated sources. So how do we, as small business owners, develop an effective link-building strategy? While a good link building strategy always starts with great content and it does take some work, it’s not really that difficult to get going.

  1. Social Bookmarking Sites: Social Bookmarking sites are a great way to generating quality links for your website. If you write an exceptional piece of content that has a great headline or title that draws people in, people are more likely to share it on the various social bookmarking websites such as Digg, Stumble upon or Delicious. And while it is less favourable to submit your own content to these sites, if the content is good, with effective headlines and descriptions, you can get a lot of traffic from these sites.
  2. Guest posting: Social media is all about building relationships.  One benefit of building solid relationships with those in your niche is the ability to guest post.  This allows you to not only raise your profile but it also allows for links back to your own site. As always, creating first-rate original content with your audience in mind will help to open doors for you, but getting to know those in your niche works wonders too.
  3. Linking Out: It sounds counter-intuitive but linking out to attract links can be a good strategy.  If you are know the most popular bloggers in your domain (and you should), getting involved in conversations on these blogs is a great way of making sure that you get noticed. Link out to these blogs from your site and take an active part in the discussion on their blogs. Most people track their blogs on regular basis and if they find your comments interesting, they may provide back links for your website too. The key point to remember here is that your interactions need to be genuine as you want to gain the trust of the bloggers and, as always, building relationships helps with building links.
  4. Commenting: Commenting has always been a good way to build backlinks to your website.  When you comment, you leave your name and link to your blog or site.  Commenting, however, should be of mutual benefit, with the blog owner benefitting from a quality, well-thought out comment.  By commenting, you can get some recognition and a link.
  5. Article Directory submission: Submitting articles to article directories is also a good way of generating links for your website. These article directories provide direct links to your website and can divert a significant traffic to your website. To really get the maximum benefit, however, it is important to submit high quality original content as Google discounts duplicate content, Directories, such as Ezine articles, are excellent for creating exposure to your site.

Building links is at the heart of any good SEO strategy. And while an SEO strategy always starts with good, high-quality content, with a solid link-building strategy you can go far in raising the findability of your site.

What are your favorite link-building strategies?