DSL Marketing Myrlte Beach

Monday, May 4, 2009

COOL website of the day.

Okay, so it can only be "for the day" if I actually do one every day, which I don't. So kill me.

Today's cool website is Amplify.com, a new (not sure how new, but it's new to me) Social Media website that has invented (I think) a new interactive process/post called "clogging". Similar to "blogging" in the fact that you post your thoughts for the world to read and review, the twist is that Amplify comes with a browser application that allows you to clip text, pages, links, pages, etc to a blog where you can title and leave commentary on your clips. Hence the name "clog". It also easily synchronizes with Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, and Google Notebook. It's another great way to pull it all together. And, unlike other Social Media websites, it knows that a lot of businesses and organizations will want to tap into its usefulness. So right from the get go, you can sign up your account to a "personal" page or a "group" page. NICE. I wish Facebook would do that.

Social Media and How it Can Help you reach your customers

First of all, what is social media? Social Media is loosely defined as any outlet for social interaction online. These include succinct social online communities, such as MySpace, Facebook, blogs, and Twitter. Social Media also includes "social bookmarking" websites (De.lici.ous, Digg, StumbleUpon) where users tag or submit pages (URLs) as good, bad, or ugly. The purpose of these websites is to highlight pertinent information, and more importantly, to group pages together according to users' behaviors and interests.

Some misconceptions about Social Media:

The term "Social Media" has some what of misleading meaning. It implies that people can some how control the medium. Controlling your marketing messages and your brand integrity using social media is something akin to herding cats. It shouldn't even be attempted. The important word to focus on is SOCIAL. The very few websites I mentioned above, along with other "social" Web 2.0 technologies (forums, RSS feeds, apps, widgets, etc) are all about "social networking". Yes, you can get your brand out there; You can advertise your business and services; You can become an authority on a certain topic through shared information; but, you can't control the conversation because networking is multi-sided.

The Benefits of Social Media and Web 2.0 technologies:

Online Reputation Management:

Find out what people are saying about your business, your brand, your market, even your employees, in real time across the blogsphere, twittersphere, and aggregated news feeds. And, then REACT. You can respond all the way down to the individual or find common "threads" and respond company wide. Keeping your ears open to what your customers have to say has obvious and immediate benefits.

Customer Service:

Similar to online reputation management, customer service implies action for the benefit of your customers, not your brand and business (arguable the opposite sides of the same coin). By monitoring the same cyber-channels as mentioned above, you can find out where your current customers need assistance and when potential customers are trying to find you. By you stepping in to the conversation, you are showing and proving to this group that you stand behind your product and services, no matter what. It says, "We're here to help," and that is one marketing message that your customers won't mind hearing at all.

Customer Acquisition and Retention:

I like to use the analogy of a living, breathing email database. Businesses continue to discover and embrace the power of establishing and maintaining an email database. Establishing and maintaining a voice or community online is no different. In fact, I would argue it's better because people become more actively engaged when they are communicated to on an individual basis. And when you add the fact that you are attracting a community of like-minded individuals, the reach and conversion grows exponentially more powerful.

Search Engine Optimization:

Marketing your website through social media, social bookmarking, social networking, and other Web 2.0 technologies exponentially increases your website's penetration in the search engines (when done correctly). This isn't to say that you can some how traditionally optimize your Facebook and twitter accounts, but you can optimize your inbound links.

Basically it's a backlink or link building strategy, and one of the best out there. After all, you can go the route of paying for inbound links, but you run the real risk of running afoul of the search engines' quality guidelines (particularly Google's). And a paid linking campaign can get expensive fast. The cost of labor is all you're out for by using social strategies to build inbound links. It's time consuming. It's daunting. And at times, cumbersome, but very effective. Best of all, even while you wait for the backlinks to build or become effective, you're still targeting real organic visitors – something that should always out weigh high SERP results.