[By Koleen Singerline]
This weekend, I went the beach. I have a favorite spot up by the jetty – just perfect for watching the waves crash against the rocks and taking in the overwhelming power of the ocean. It’s also a great spot to watch the surfers. Now, I will probably never be a surfer (that train has already left the station), but watching them, both the experts and the novices, gives us some good rules to follow when learning to use social media to surf the net:
Rule#1: Don’t invest in all the equipment before you know what you’re doing. Start small and work your way up.
Rule#2: Don’t jump on your surf board in the roughest area to “give it a try.” You have to master it in stages. LinkedIN, Facebook, blogging, Twitter, RSS feeds, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious – there’s a ton of tools out there and it can be overwhelming if you jump into everything at once.
Rule#3: Take some time to watch how others do it. You can learn from both those that don’t seem to get it and from the experts. Some of this may be all new to you, but there are 2.0 experts out there that have tried it all and they have some good stuff to say. Two of my favorites: Brian Halleran and Chris Brogan.
Rule#4: Try different “beaches” so you can figure out where the surfing is the best. Facebook might not be the right tool for you, but LinkedIN might be perfect. Establish an online presence in several places and test which gives you the best connections.
Rule#5: There’s plenty of ways to learn: books, videos, blogs, etc. Use them all – you can never get enough information.
Now, unlike ocean surfing, using the new tools on the internet is within everyone’s ability. That’s one of the best things about it – we can all join in and use the internet to expand our reach; to get found and connect with the people we want to meet. It’s a great tool to help prospective customers learn about us and our services. So jump in (the water’s fine) because there are plenty of people at every stage of learning. Be one of them!
[By Tony Popowski and Jeff Androsko]
We decided to tag-team this one. When business professionals discuss Social Media, they typically talk about the three most popular sites: LinkedIN, Facebook and Twitter. While these networking platforms are definitely effective for nurturing leads and generating business, many people forget to talk about another valuable tool that gets your name out there on the web: social bookmarking. While there are numerous social bookmarking sites (Reddit, Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon) and each one is slightly different, We’ll give you a brief overview on how bookmarking works.
When you sign up for these sites, you are given a profile where you can sign up as a person or a company. After you’ve completed your bio, you have the ability to upload articles, website pages and videos to your profile. Therefore, if your company publishes articles or has a notable page on its website, you can upload that link on the social bookmarking sites.
Once you’ve uploaded your article and link, you’re then given the responsibility of providing “tags” for your submission. These tags are very important – they serve as searchable keywords on the site. When another person on the site is looking for articles in their industry and searches by a specific keyword, your article has a chance of popping up if that keyword is “tagged.” The three main benefits of having your article read on bookmarking sites include:
- More exposure for your article / company – You’re introducing your submission to a whole new community of people. This increases your chances of something you’re publishing to go viral.
- Traffic for additional pages on your website – If your article or link interests the reader, there’s a good chance he or she will check out other pages on your website.
- SEO – Your article or link now has a better chance of climbing the ranks in search engine results.
There is one snag: you can’t shamelessly just load up your profile with your own website pages and articles. The other members of the social bookmarking community can “vote” on how much they like your submission. Therefore, if you submit links that are useless, boring and too “salesy”, readers will give a “thumbs down” vote and ignore you. The good news is that if people consistently give a “thumbs up”, your submission climbs the rank of articles for your submitted “tags” and industry. This makes your article more visible in online communities, enhancing the benefits of social bookmarking.
Load up on useful articles related to your industry that establishes your profile as a resource center, instead of a company name. This will establish credibility and bring users to you. Happy Bookmarking!