Monthly Archives: March 2009

If I went to a networking event and met someone in the same industry – what would you talk about!?

A while back at a networking event I met someone who was a web company who did SEO and SMM – including blogging and twitter.

We started talking about the approaches to SEO and SMM – and I was amazed that we had such different views.

I take a more holistic approach to search engine optimisation – looking at the technical and content aspects of the site – from CSS layout to query strings to title tags to link titles.

Bolting on a blogging and twitter strategy can boost your SEO campaign & traffic to your site:

  1. Adding a blog is a quick and easy way of adding new content on a frequent basis – which is what Google looks for
  2. Inbound links – commenting on other people’s blogs creates inbound links into your website
  3. Getting your articles reblogged is another great way to get inbound links
  4. Twitter can be a good source of quality traffic to your site – if the campaign is being run effectively

So that was my view……….this chap then continued to say that he pushed the information from his blog to Twitter and LinkedIn account and pushed his tweets to his facebook account. So it was about ensuring the right message and brand values were communicated in which ever social media site people looked at.

That completely missed the point of participating in these sites – as surely it’s about a dialogue and not a monologue. It’s about engaging with others – whether it’s your peers, contemporaries or customers – it’s about engaging with them and having a dialogue. NOT PREACHING your opinions to them.

Needless to say after a short conversation I accepted that we were never going to share the same views on this and moved on to talk to someone who shared the same values and beliefs as me.

More companies using twitter – but are they monitoring what’s said?

O2 have released the conclusions of a survey of 500 small businesses. 17% are using Twitter for a variety of reasons such as cost savings, recruitment and marketing

With over 1/4 using Twitter to stay in touch with other small businesses which helped boost their confidence.

But are companies monitoring what their employees are saying on Twitter?

I have seen some posts with people saying they have been to pitch to company X or working on a specific client – or even sending their email over Twitter!

Some information is sensitive and should not be shared in a public forum such as Twitter which is why I think companies should have a Twitter policy on what can and cannot be said on Twitter. that way it sets clear boundaries on what is acceptable and what behaviour is not.

I would envisage a company Twitter policy to contain information similar to email policy – but also including:

  • Not sharing email addresses -as these can be picked up by spammers
  • Not disclosing clients or information pertaining to projects

I am sure there are other things which should be added – anyone else got any good points?

Managing a corporate blogging blunder

How many of us have read a blog post that has made our blood boil or really got our backs up? Then started typing a response in anger………….

In those situations it is important to just walk away and calm down before responding.

The recent PR disaster by Ryan Air in response to the blog posting ‘Ryanair no credit card fee + 0.00 flight bug‘ was a great lesson on how not to manage such a situation (start reading the response from comment 10 downwards).

I was appalled that any employee would respond in such an arrogant, impolite and churlish manner. More importantly it highlighted to me that there was a lack of management within Ryan Air, around their online brand credibility and presence that could lead to such a messy situation.

Corporate Blogging Guidelines
What is becoming apparent to me is that companies need to have a blogging policy in place. That is what opinions people can write about in their blogs, and comments on other blogs with respect to the company. Otherwise, situations such as this arise.

With the dissemination of information the employees are usually the eyes and ears for the company in specific forums. So if a company does not have any online brand watching alerts in place, at least the employees should have a channel to escalate information through the correct channels.

Managing your brand online
More importantly, companies need to have monitoring in place so if there are negative comments with respect to your company / product or service there are channels of communication that pick this up. There then needs to be a process that funnels this information to the correct decision maker in the business, so action can be taken

This example shows the need for monitoring and operational processes to manage such situations. In the world of twitter and blogs, stories like this spread like wild fire so quickly. So before you know it, the problem has gone from small to a huge PR explosion in a matter of minutes.

Setting up the right processes
From an experienced online marketeer, I would advise any company to take social media marketing seriously. These conversations are happening with or without you, and it’s your decision on whether you participate or not.

The potential down side of ignoring this and having an online PR disaster on your hands, to me far out weighs the benefits of embracing the new opportunity and listening to what people are saying about your company / product / services…. the question is are you ready to take the leap of faith?

Thinking Digital – Are You?

Liz Cable at Reach Further suggested that I looked at going to Thinking Digital Conference which is in Gateshead on 13 – 15 May 09. This conference is an:

‘annual conference where the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators gather to inspire, to entertain, and to discuss the latest ideas and technologies’

How fantastic to have such a first class event, that is not in London and is hosted in one of the most iconic buildings of the north. These types of events are great as they give you a flavour of new ideas and technologies that you can go away, research and look at how you can take these ideas and implement them.

Staying up to date with current thought leadership and technologies is crucial for surviving in this fast moving world. Those companies and individuals that do not evolve, adapt and grow will become stagnant, old school and more importantly loose their edge.

Working in the digital sector means that you have to work hard at keeping your edge (that of your own and your company’s) as technology and innovation grows and changes so quickly. Having the opportunity to hear some of the greatest thinkers and innovators in technology, media, mobile, leadership & marketing is exhilarating and is boldly marked in my diary. I certainly will be investing and purchasing my ticket!

Putting yourself on the Map

With the launch of Google Latitude that is software that allows mobile phone users share their location with friends, it s becoming more obvious that Google is focusing on the more personalised / local search. So for any business it is essential for any SEO and SMM campaigns that the same information is out in the public domain. More importantly it is essential that the SMM and SEO camapigns are interlinked, so the same message about the company can be found in You Tube, blogs, twitter, facebook or linked in.

Using Google Local Business Centre you can enter your companies address and details – here are some instructions if you haven’t done it already!

What you can then do to ensure you are maximising the leverage of this in the social media sites. Ensure the business listing points to your location page.

What you then need to do on the footer or contact us page is to promote the:

  • link to your company’s Facebook page
  • link to your company’s blog
  • link to forums that you consistently post in
  • link to your company’s Linked In page
  • link to your company’s Twitter account
  • link to any You Tube footage
  • link to any shareslide presentations
  • link to eventbrite for any events that you are holding

That way your potential customer, partnerships and colleagues can keep track of what you are up to!.

So then all your various online networking efforts will inter-feed each other and hopefully will help promote your website, not just in the search engines either!

It is not about broadcasting the message out there either, as Online PR agencies tend to do, but actually engage with your audience – and have a conversation with them, as that’s what it’s all about is it not?

On The Web

Your online credibility is an increasingly important way of showcasing your specialised knowledge and expertise which will build your online credibility. As more people engage with the social web differentiating yourself become imperative

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