Category Archives: Internet Marketing

Happy Belated Birthday, Facebook!

Happy Birthday, Facebook!

For the last 10 years, Facebook has been our social media darling and is the central focus when we talk about connectivity in the digital age. While previous channels of social connectivity were around when Facebook came out, it was the social giant that seemed to get the formula for success down pat.

Facebook LogoThey were also the first with over 1 billion users and can be found in the proverbial dictionary under “social networking boom.”

So – what have we, the users, gotten out of Facebook in the last 10 years? I was able to collect a lot of different opinions on the topic by reaching out… via Facebook (and a couple of casual conversations).

Brittany Davies of Washington D.C. says that she uses social media for the purpose of keeping up to date with her family who are all located back in her home state, New York. Pregnancies announced, the goings on with siblings, and friends from college and high school are what keep her in the loop while she’s away. A devoted family person, she feels that it is Facebook that keeps her as connected as she needs to be.

And a lot of other people, in varying ways of doing so, agree that the number one reason for being apart of the site is to stay connected. Facebook is a tool for like or unlike minds to share experiences, share ideas, share opinions, and celebrate ones own life or the lives of those around them.

From my experience as an avid user of Facebook since 2006, I’ve also found this to be an incredible tool to cultivate professional and personal relationships that might be harder to do if I needed to reach each contact individually. And unlike the professional-focused LinkedIn or on Twitter, I feel like Facebook is where I can be more open with my opinions or my takeaways on whatever I post.

For some, Facebook has been a means of reuniting families (birth families of adopted individuals have been found via Facebook). For others, Facebook has been a means of revolution.

In 2010, Egyptians took to the social media channel to broadcast to the world the pain and suffering caused by Egyptian police and their government. Photos of brutally beaten, or killed, Egyptians began to appear the world over and individual Egyptians realized they were not alone and banded together.

Since then, Egypt has seen a lot of political and social restructuring as a result of the revolution. Since then, Facebook continues to be a tool for those hungry to stay connected.

For some, Facebook is a creepy, evil time suck of a website. For some it can cause social anxieties. Some use it to bolster their self-image (whether they do it right or not can only be judged on an individual basis).

As for the future? We can only wish Facebook the best. The times are changing and some would argue that the site is being severely challenged as the social Go To by the likes of Twitter. At any given time, you can read about how the executive team at Facebook is looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve, buying up companies that will help put Facebook ahead. Facebook’s mission is to keep us connected continues to show in their business and the news it makes.

And that is something worth liking.

Happy belated birthday!

Three Things For Social Success

The new year is a great time to review your social advertising strategies.  As a companion to “7 Things To Remember When Posting For Your Business,” I created a list of the top three things I believe you need in order to have social success.  If you aren’t doing any of these, I’d suggest incorporating them soon.

Three Things for Social Success

1. Know Your Audience.  If you don’t know who you’re reaching, how can you possibly send the right message?  Do you want to speak to males in their early 20s?  Then the information that you share probably shouldn’t be focusing on how your bar is family-friendly.  Knowing your audience is more than just knowing demographics, though.  How do they interact with your product?  Do they check their social pages on the T (or metro/subway if you aren’t in Pittsburgh) going to work or are they reading after they’ve tucked their kid in bed?  Is this something they use in tandem with another product?  What else are they interested in?  Assuming that your customers don’t live in a vacuum with posts from your company as their only form of information, there are thousands of messages bombarding them daily.  Being able to understand your customer and what they do with the service you provide goes a long way in making them feel like you “just get them, man.”

2. Tone.  Be authentic.  When I say “be authentic,” I mean be true to who/what your company is.  Similar to knowing your audience, knowing how to disseminate your message will go a long way.  Are you a legal service provider specializing in wills and estate planning?  Your tone will most likely be different than the coffee shop catering to 30-somethings with a disposable income and Mac products falling out of their ears.  Whoever you are and whatever you’re selling/promoting, though, be true to it.  Decide how you want to speak with customers and put together a “social style guide” to make sure your message is consistent no matter who is posting.  It also serves as a reminder for you; with a style guide, you can see how you’ve said something in the past and mimic it in future posts.

3. Timing.  Timing is everything, they say.  I tend to agree with whoever “they” are, because it’s true.  Again, going back to “knowing your audience,” it’s critical to get your message in front of their face when they’ll see it.  If a post goes up in the forest and no one is around to see it, did it really get written?  Make sure you’re spreading out your messages, too.  You don’t want to bombard your customers with five social media posts from different platforms in one minute and be silent the rest of the day.  If you can’t sit at your desk at peak posting times or you’re worried you’ll miss an important update, utilize a service like Buffer to help get the message out.

Will you be reworking your social strategy this year?  I know theBrewRoom is ready and willing to help.  What new practices are you going to employ?

5 Tips for New Bloggers

Ashlee Green1. Learn how to write. There is no doubt that rising technological innovations have changed how we communicate, but it is still true that good, solid writing with use of real words and proper sentence structure communicates most effectively to readers. Write active, concise sentences: Choose your words wisely.

2. Edit. In other words, do not get attached to your words! If you have trouble with this, ask a friend to edit for you. Read and reread your text to make sure that details like times, dates, names, website links, photo credits, grammar and spelling are correct. After finishing a blog post, wait 24 hours, reread it again, and then post it.

3. Incorporate links. To build virtual community, link to fellow friends and bloggers’ websites. Think of it as e-networking: The old “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” mentality, otherwise known as “reciprocity”. Choose the bloggers and blogs you link to based on styles and readerships similar to your own. To gain credibility, link to factual, news-based websites: It proves that you take pride in researching and providing your readers with fresh and accurate information. Links provide an outlet for your readers to explore your blog topics on their own time, potentially fueling more blog comments, sharing, and general interaction.

4. Outsource work beyond your skill set. If you have very little experience with technology and web design, then the amount of time it will take you to teach yourself how to create a banner for your homepage, infographics for blog posts and a beautifully designed website layout will be much more work-intensive and much less efficient then you think. Consider–at least initially–asking friends and family for help or hire a web design specialist.

5. Pick a social media platform. Find the social media platform that most resonates with you (Image-oriented? Instagram. Love words and link sharing? Facebook. Short attention span? Twitter, etc.) Then, update it regularly: several times daily, if possible. Most platforms can be linked together, so connect the one you use most with all of your other profiles and updates will happen simultaneously. Marketing via social media is a great and easy way to get more views.

Cool Tools on the Web

Since we do a lot of stuff online, we thought that we might share some information on products that we like to use.

Dropbox

DropboxDo you share files between multiple computers at home, or at work, or at both? Do you ever find that it might be useful to be able to access certain files on your table or mobile phone, but they’re on your computer, and you don’t know how to get them over to your device? Well, Dropbox is perfect for that.

We use Dropbox to share files with clients. Throughout our project process, we share files and information with our clients via a shared Dropbox folder. It’s ridiculously easy to set up, and it gives you a good amount of space for free. If you refer additional people, you get even more free space! Give Dropbox a try, and explore more of the cool features that come with this tool.

Google Aps for Business

Google Apps for Business

Our email, documents, calendar, etc all run on Google Apps for Business. This makes it very easy to access our emails from anywhere. It also syncs your emails, calendars and files across lots of devices. There are tons of applications that integrate with Google Apps for Business that can help you run your business as well. We use several, such as invoicing software, project management software, crm tools, etc!

IFTTT.com (If this, then that)

IFTTT.comNow this is a cool tool! You can integrate lots of “channels” that you might have, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, WordPress, Tumblr, etc… and when you do something on one of those, it can trigger something on another “channel”.
We have some “recipes” set up to automatically publish certain things that we do on Twitter to our company blog. Pretty neat stuff. It basically helps you automatically publish things across lots of different platforms (what they call channels). It’s a good way to keep all of your different channels active and updated on a regular basis.

Feedly

feedly feed readerOur #1 Favorite replacement for Google Reader. Lots of people were terribly upset about Google Reader being given the axe this year. We, on the other hand, were PSYCHED because it forced us to find something better. And something better we found, indeed! There’s even a really nice mobile app version.

Search for, or plug in your favorite blogs and news feeds and organize them. It also gives you lots of sharing options.

Hint: you can integrate Feedly with IFTTT.com – so when you tag something in Feedly, it automatically shares that article with the channel(s) of your choice. So cool!

OK, that’s enough for you to take in for now. Hope you find this helpful. If so, please share it!

What tools do you like? Want advice on other tools? Let us know in the comments below!

How To Tweet

On Tuesday, I saw this tweet from Sam:

And I thought, “Tweeting about how to tweet is indeed a little pointless (good job there, Sam), but blogging about how to tweet isn’t!”  So I bring you Angelica’s Easy Steps for Tweeting, AKA: “How To Tweet”.
How To Tweet

  • Have something interesting to say.  Like I preached talked about in last week’s post, Social Media Needs To Be Social, you can’t just talk at people.  They’ll tune you out. Have something interesting to say and listen when others have something to say themselves.
  • Provide useful information.  I guess this is just another way of saying have something interesting to say.  If you have an event or a promotion coming up, the first place someone will turn to learn about it is through social media.  So tell your followers about it!  Give them pertinent information in a style that works for you.  Are you a restaurant with a new menu item or concept?  Tweet a teaser photo of the dish.  Are you a retailer?  Tell people about your new shipment of scarves and show them a few examples of how to wear them.  Bonus points if you include photos to enhance your message.
  • Take your followers behind the scenes.  We all know that one person who relentlessly tweets out every move they make.  True, it’s interesting to get a BTS look at your favorite brand; in turn, it’s fun to share with your customers what you’re up to, just don’t become overbearing.  This isn’t Facebook, so please don’t brag about your fantastic new car (okay, you can do it once).  Give your Twitter followers something with a little more meat (pictures of dinner are usually okay).
  • Reply, favorite, follow, and retweet often – and responsibly.  Again, this is a social medium; interact with your followers.  Reply to messages promptly.  Read your followers’ tweets and engage with them.  Favorite tweets that you find funny, interesting, or that you want to go back and reread and tweet about in the future.  Follow users whom you find interesting and also follow people who follow you, especially if they constantly interact with you.  Retweet what you think your followers would be interested in learning about.  Remain active throughout the day so that you stay visible in feeds – try to shoot for a handful of tweets a day so you don’t tip the scale of too much, but are still out there just enough.
  • Create lists.  This is especially helpful if you follow a lot of people and/or you tweet about different topics.  Organize lists by category, users, keywords, etc.  More on this next week!

So there you have it: some easy steps to follow that will show you how to tweet.  A tweet is a powerful tool if you know how to use it properly.  If you need help creating a strategy or using Twitter for social media marketing, just ask Sam!  He’s very active on the Twitter machine.  What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind when you’re tweeting?

PS: You can follow Sam above or @theBrewRoom.  (#ShamelessPlug)

Optimization is so much more…

Optimizing your website is so much more than optimizing for Google.

Optimizing your website isn’t just about optimizing it for Google. It’s much more than that. If you think about it, Google isn’t your audience. They most certainly are not your client (for most of us). So, why would you act like they are? Search Engine Optimization is something that should occur naturally if you are doing the right thing for your potential customers. If you think of it in that way, it puts a lot of pieces into place that will in turn, optimize your site for Google.

optimize your websiteIf your client is the one that you want to make happy, why would you want to optimize your website for for a Googlebot? That just doesn’t make any sense.

Here are some questions that you should ask yourself when you look at your website:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What is my target audience looking for on my website?
  • Am I making it easy for my target audience to find the information that they need?
  • Am I providing the right information about what it is that I do, and why someone would want to work with me?
  • If someone finds my site, will it look like I know what I am talking about? Am I a “Subject Matter Expert”?
  • Is the information on my website easy to share? And do I encourage sharing?

These are some pretty basic questions, but when you start to answer them, they lead you down a path of optimization. You start to outline your content structure. You start to simply the path to bring in new customers. You start to optimize for your prospects, and Google will know it! They will know what you are talking about. Google will know what it is that you do for your customers. Google will know what pages are important to you, and important to people who might be looking for your services. And… Google will show you in their results! Amazing how that works!

Now, I know that there is a lot that goes into SEO. There are some technical things that just don’t belong in this article, but we prefer to simplify things for our audience. If you want to know more, and learn more, we’d love to explain it to you in person. We like people. 🙂 Call or email us.

In Summary:

If you are “naturally” optimizing your website for your customer, and not for Google, you will gain the benefit of optimizing for both.

Oh, and if you like this, please share it. We’re really appreciate it. Thanks for reading.

 

Social Media Needs to be Social

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that social media is, in fact, social.  Every time that certain car commercial comes on (you know, with the rep reading tweets and their hashtags), someone in the room with me asks, “What’s a hashtag?”  It’s a link to all the tweets in the world with said hashtag.  Then the inevitable, “But…..why?”  So you can see what people are saying (and jump into the conversation, of course)!  We’re so focused on using the Internet to throw information out into the universe that we forget the best way to use it; no one wants to be talked at, they want to converse.  Social media, and the marketing that goes with it, is virtual word of mouth.  It’s a conversation.  There are people constantly talking with and engaging other people.  If you want your business to be successful, you need to engage as well.

Let’s say I work somewhere like “Office Space.”  I have 3-5 on any given day asking me to tweet something, usually a promotion.  Of course, they all think Bill Lumberghtheir message is the most important one to disseminate (so it must be posted NOW).  Well, when you overload people with text and they aren’t getting anything meaningful out of it, guess what will happen to your message? It’ll get tuned out (or they’ll just unfollow you period).  Now, when Lumbergh comes back 5 minutes later to ask if anyone is talking about it, he’ll be let down because the answer is no.

Long story short: be social.  Show you care about the community that you’ve built:

  • Ask questions.
  • Answer questions.
  • Include comments when you retweet whenever possible.
  • If you need to promote services or events, do it in a way that’s natural and not pushy.
  • Mention people to get the conversation going if you have a piece of information that you think is of interest to them (just don’t be spammy; no one likes that).

And don’t forget to “listen” to the conversations.  It’s a two-way flow of information.  Don’t expect to get a response if you are not responding yourself.

Most Effective Way to Advertise

effective advertisingThere are so many different ways to advertise your business today. Just from sitting here in front of my computer, I can: send out email blasts, start ads in Google AdWords, Yahoo/Bing Ads, Yelp, Yellowpages.com, Citysearch, Facebook Ads, Twitter, LinkedIn, and any other website that I want to pay to promote my business. That’s basically limitless! You would never run out of places to put your ads. But what is the most effective way to advertise for your business?

Is there really anything better than a happy and satisfied client that is willing to tell all of their customers about you and your business? Is there anything better than knowing that you have a small army of many of these individuals that are willing to spread the word about how awesome you are? This is living, breathing, perhaps traveling, free, and ongoing advertising for your business! If this is happening for you, then it also means something bigger. It means you are doing something right! #mustbedoingsomethingright It means that you built something, created something, or helped someone so much that they are willing to turn around and help you!

As an example, here is one of our happy customers that I check in with personally all of the time:

 Words from a happy customer of theBrewRoom:

As a new doggie daycare and overnight boarding business owner, I needed a website that was not only eye catching, but user friendly as well. Not knowing a lot about websites and how they work “behind the scenes” I needed someone that could help me think on a business and creativity level the best way to run and design my website to maximize on the visibility of my site over my competitors. I could not be happier with Sam and all of his help, input and most importantly patience. He paid attention to my goals and came up with extremely thorough solutions until we found the perfect fit. He provided ideas and feedback, met with me on a regular basis constantly ensuring we were both on the same page and was EXTREMELY prompt with completing tasks and responding to my questions. I definitely would not have been able to do this without Sam. He was awesome to work with and my website hits have increased tremendously in just a couple of months!

~Courtnay Rowan – Friendly Paws Pet Resort, Robinson, PA

Well, Sam, what if I haven’t received any happy-customer feedback like you did?
Well, “insert your name here“, you can just ask! I actually sent out a nice little email asking my clients if they would be willing to write up a testimonial for me and my business. It was really simple. I have a MailChimp list of all of my clients, and I email them once in a while to update them on what I am doing, and to see if they have any needs. You never know when a past client is going to need something more from you, so stay in touch!

Now, we know that all of your clients won’t be willing, or able to do this for you. Heck, you might not even want certain clients to speak on your behalf! 🙂 But, if you do have a few, that you know are happy, and you know would be willing to be an evangelist for your brand and your work, then let them know, and show them that you appreciate it.

The Bottom Line:

If you have happy customers that are spreading the word about you and how great you are, you have done something right, and you have free and credible advertising sources. There is nothing more effective than that. They may not tell 100 people a day. But, they are telling another living human being about you – directly. And they may even be able to answer some questions. That’s a heck of a lot more than a text add can do!