Archive for Blogging

Three Common Social Media Mistakes To Avoid

Posted in Networking Strategy, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by The Ibis Network

Doing something well requires practice. And practice requires patience. After all, it’s going to take a while to get good at whatever it is and, in the meantime, you’ll have to grow accustomed to the feeling of failure. The same goes for starting a social-media campaign. There’s no reason to expect you’ll have more fans than Oprah within a week of setting up your first account. Take your time and don’t get discouraged.

To help you get started, here are a few common mistakes to avoid …

Keeping Quiet: It’s easy to fall into the trap of only promoting your social network while you’re online. But driving traffic to your sites means getting the word out. Even offline. If you’re keeping a blog, talk about it as much as possible. Ask clients to visit. Ask your friends to visit. Mention it in meetings and at industry events and anywhere else you’re in contact with potential readers that fit your target audience.

Doing Too Much: Once you’ve got yourself registered on your social network of choice, it’s tempting to start following and friending every page, profile, and person you come across. And, while it is a good idea to connect with industry and community contacts, clients, and potential referral partners, building your network requires some focus. If you find yourself following 500 people on Twitter and the majority of them are your favorite actors, actresses, singers, and athletes, you’re likely not going to see any benefit to your business. You’re also never going to be able to locate your actual contacts through the mess of tweets filling your inbox.

Giving Up: There as many cliches about practice making perfect as there are reasons to keep with it. Sure, at first, it’s a struggle to find the time or the content or the purpose behind your social-media efforts. But with a bit of focus, and a commitment to engaging and interacting with your online network, the benefits will come. Don’t fill out your profile, let it sit for a month, and then proclaim the Internet a waste of your marketing efforts. If at first you don’t succeed …

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Content Creation or How To Put The Media in Your Social-Media Campaign

Posted in Networking Strategy, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2011 by The Ibis Network

Fortunately, all you need to know about social media is contained right in its name. It’s social, meaning you’ll have to participate and engage your community. And it’s media, meaning it’s a form of communication no different than a radio or television station. The difference is it’s your radio or television station. And that’s where it gets confusing. Content creation is the key to a successful social-media campaign. It’s also what leaves the Internet littered with abandoned Facebook pages and tweet-free Twitter accounts.

Here are some tips for creating content that will attract an audience and build your business …

Know Your Audience: Whether you’ve setup a blog, a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter account, you’ll need content. But before you post anything, think of your audience. Consumers use the Internet to educate themselves before making a decision. Therefore, if your content educates and informs, you’re likely to gain trust and build an audience. Use what you know to your advantage. Think of questions your clients frequently ask and use the answers to form blog posts. Use industry news and events to explain and entertain. Ask a question or offer an opinion. Take a poll and turn the results into an additional post.

Know Your Keywords: You can find plenty of advice online about including keywords in headlines, posts, tags, and categories. And it’s true that search engines will catalog your content based on the words it finds in your posts. But there’s an easier way to think of it. After all, if you concentrate your efforts on including a list of keywords, your content will read like poorly executed Mad Libs. In the end, if you’re posting content that is relevant to your industry or community, your keywords will occur naturally. In other words, if you’re in the mortgage business, post content about the mortgage industry and you’re more likely to end up in front of someone looking to refinance their home. If you write about your family picnic, you’ll end up more popular with family-picnic aficionados than potential business connections.

Know Where To Broadcast: After you’ve got a plan and created some content, you have to promote it. After all, even NBC still promotes its product and you likely don’t have the same name recognition. So once you’ve got something to share, think of where you’d like to post it. A Facebook fan page, for example, is a more appropriate vehicle for business-related content than your personal account. Syndicate your content to all of your appropriate profiles and/or blogs and then post it in relevant groups and forums within your social network. The more you share your content, the more likely you’ll grow an audience, generate leads, and meet potential clients.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Top Business Benefits of Social Media Marketing

Posted in Networking Strategy, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by The Ibis Network

If your idea of social networking involves a handshake and a business card, it’s time to upgrade your marketing efforts. The surging popularity of social-media sites has changed the way businesses interact with their customer base and market their services. Increasingly, businesses turn to blogs and sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to generate leads, gain exposure, and brand their business. And recent surveys show social media’s use is expanding, along with its effectiveness.

Here are the top three business benefits of social-media marketing …

Exposure: According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 85 percent of surveyed businesses said their social-media efforts had generated additional exposure for their business and led to improved web traffic. In a separate survey, companies that blog reported 55 percent more website visitors and 97 percent more inbound links than companies that didn’t.

Relationships and Referrals: Social media makes forming one-on-one relationships with your customers and clients easier than ever. Keeping a blog and regularly updated social-media sites creates exposure for you and your business, but it also forms an existing community of people you’ve done business with. And staying in touch and participating with your online community can lead to an increase in referrals. After all, if a potential client visits your Facebook or Twitter page and its filled with glowing reviews from satisfied customers, it will likely have a positive influence when deciding whether or not to do business with you.

Lead Generation: Among 752 recently surveyed small-business owners, 57 percent said lead generation was the top benefit of social-media marketing. And that number is growing. Small-business owners that said Facebook was somewhat or very beneficial to their business rose to 55 percent from 33.2 percent the year before, while Twitter and LinkedIn also saw significant gains. In other words, the popularity and effectiveness of social-media marketing continues to grow, as does the power to generate real-life leads from your online efforts.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: A Beginner’s Guide To Social-Media Strategy

Posted in Active Rain, Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2011 by The Ibis Network

Think of setting up social-media profiles the same way you would buying a phone. Sure, finding the phone that best fits your needs is important. But after that, you wouldn’t, for example, expect to get any calls without giving out the number. And you wouldn’t return the phone if it didn’t make calls for you. And you certainly wouldn’t expect that, when you did call someone, the phone would do the talking for you.

In other words, too many businesses sign up for a Facebook page or Twitter account and expect the wonders of the Internet to do the rest. Social-media is nothing more than a form of communication, no different than your telephone. And, like a telephone, having something to say is ultimately more important than the fact that you have a phone. Your content, ultimately, will determine whether your pages will be productive or passed over.

After that, here are a few other things to consider …

Where And How: Choosing where to concentrate your social-media efforts can be confusing. Ultimately, though, choosing an online community that fits your business needs is more important than signing up for the most popular site or the one with the most name recognition. In other words, the channel you use to broadcast your message isn’t as important as the message you broadcast. Once you’ve found a site to join, spend some time learning how its users interact. Learn “best practices” and abide by them. It is a community, after all. Don’t be the obnoxious new neighbor.

Plan With Perspective: Once you’ve registered and set up a profile, think about how you’ll use it and what to expect. An online profile is not an advertisement and you shouldn’t expect to promote your services and be able to sit back while tracking your success. It’s about communication. Shameless promotion is about as welcome online as a telemarketer’s phone call is during the dinner hour. Produce informative, educational, or entertaining content and chances are you’ll attract an audience.

Publish And Distribute: Now that you’ve got some profiles online, a plan for how you’d like to use them, and some content to share, it’s time to syndicate. Say you have a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account but don’t have the time to log in to each every time you have something to post. Most of the major social-media sites now offer applications that interlink your network and automatically share your content. Which means, any time you post to your blog, your social-media sites will also be updated, increasing your chances of building an audience for your information across your social network.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Three Common Sense Steps To Reaching Your Audience and Building a Better Business Blog

Posted in Blogging, Blogs, Free Training, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by The Ibis Network

If you’ve ever scoured the Internet for tips on how to make your business blog more effective, you’re well aware that the available information can range from the contradictory to the incomprehensible. In the end, you’re only trying to reach the right audience for your services and have little need for number-one rankings on all the major search engines, especially if they’re only delivering empty clicks and hits from half way around the world.

Here are some simple steps toward more effective blogging …

Keep a Schedule: You can find so-called experts that will advise you to post, at least, five times a day . You can find others who will advise that you should post no more than once or twice a week. Both of them are right … and wrong. Only you can determine how much time to invest in your business blog. But don’t become discouraged if you can’t generate enough content to post every 20 minutes. If you keep a consistent schedule, readers will know when to expect updates. If you only post once a week, people reading your blog will learn to expect your weekly post and return to your blog accordingly. Sporadic posting, on the other hand, will leave even interested readers confused about how often to check your site.

Don’t Get Personal: There’s a difference between a personal blog and a business blog. If you’re sending your blog out to clients and referral partners, chances are they’re going to be more interested in relevant information about your business, industry, and region than they will be about your daughter’s birthday party. Keep focused on your audience and write posts that will be interesting, entertaining, and informative.

Make It Easy To Find: There are plenty of sites that will tell you about the importance of keywords, tags, and search engine optimization. And all of those things can be an effective way of getting your site noticed. But an even easier, and more targeted, way of attracting readers to your blog is telling people about it. Put links to your blog on your website and in your email signature. Put the address anywhere you’d put your website’s, including business cards and marketing materials. Syndicating your content through social media sites is another good way of spreading the word and luring readers.

For more business blogging tips from The Ibis Network, click here, here, here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

Fact or Fiction: The Truth Behind Four Common Social-Media Myths

Posted in Active Rain, Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 17, 2011 by The Ibis Network

There are always those that are slow to adopt new technologies. There were likely a stubborn few who insisted that the horse-and-carriage was, in fact, a much more effective means of transportation than the early automobile. Then there are those that fundamentally misunderstand the medium, like those that thought television would be a passing fad. In other words, innovation can lead to myths, mistakes, and misconceptions.

Below, we tackle some common social-media myths in an effort to better understand the benefits and best practices of any online effort.

It’s Not For Business: Social-media marketing is good for any business, despite those that say it only works for some. After all, in any business endeavor, getting word out about your services is the name of the game. Social media is yet another platform to do just that. Keeping in touch with clients, announcing new products or services, educating, communicating, and engaging your customer base are made easier with a smart strategy and some effort.

It’s For Kids: Last year, social networking was named the top emerging channel for lead generation. In addition to being an effective way of branding your business and syndicating your message, social media has been found to help build and maintain businesses by improving their relationships with their clients, customers, partners, and prospects.

It’s Automatic: For as many people that will tell you social media won’t work for your business, there are those that will tell you that it’s easy, automatic, and requires little more than setting up the pages and reaping the rewards. But having a successful networking strategy, whether online or off, means work. In order to build and keep traffic coming to your profiles and pages, you’ve got to maintain your presence and offer something of value. That means, responding to comments, offering interesting content, keeping your pages fresh, and, most of all, participating.

It’s About The Numbers: Having the most Facebook fans in your region certainly can give the impression of success. But having 20,000 fans outside of your target audience only means your business isn’t doing as well as your Facebook page. Don’t get discouraged. Having five fans that bring you consistent business is better than having a million that don’t.

More tips from The Ibis Network here, here, here, here, and here, and here.

The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

The Basics: 41 Social-Media Terms To Learn For Realtors And Mortgage Professionals

Posted in Active Rain, Blogging, Blogs, Facebook, Free Training, Linked In, Marketing, Mortgage Professionals, Networking Strategy, Realtors, Social Media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 19, 2011 by The Ibis Network

An update of The Ibis Network’s previous list of social-media terms … New terms in bold.

The Internet is an incredible resource for real-estate and mortgage professionals but keeping up with an always-evolving online world can be a challenge. Sometimes the lingo alone can stand between successfully implementing a social-media strategy and being overwhelmed by widgets, avatars, and hashtags.

Active Rain – The largest social network for real-estate professionals. Launched in 2006, Active Rain has nearly 200,000 members.

Aggregator – A web-based tool or desktop application that collects syndicated content from across the Internet.

API (Application Programming Interface) – A computer system or application that allows programs and websites to communicate and exchange data.

App – An application performing a specific task able to be accessed by your computer or phone.

Archives – An index page that organizes past entries and older posts by date.

Avatar – The image, picture, or username a person uses to identify themselves on social-networking sites.

Badge – A linked image displayed on a blog that promotes a person’s profiles or participation on other social-media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter.

Blog – A regularly updated website or “web log” that allows a company or individual to post content and interact with readers through commentary, subscriptions, widgets, and syndicated RSS feeds.

Blogosphere – A term used to describe the totality of blogs on the Internet.

Blogroll – A list of sites, typically found in the sidebar of a blog, showing the sites that particular blogger recommends.

Content – Content on any website, including text, pictures, video, and audio materials.

Dashboard – The administrative area on blogs and social-media sites that allows you to edit your information, manage comments, monitor traffic, upload files, etc.

Domain Name – The identifying name or address of an Internet site.

Facebook – The largest social-networking site for individuals and businesses. Facebook has more than 500 million users.

Feeds (RSS Feed) – A program used by a website that allows the user to syndicate their content and provide subscribers with new blog posts and articles without requiring them to visit the site.

Forums – Online forums allow members of social-media sites to interact with other members by posting messages or questions on particular topics.

Geotagging – Adding location-based data to media such as photos and video to help users find businesses and services by region.

Groups – Communities within social-media sites that allow users interested in particular topics or activities to share information, posts, and messages with other members.

Hashtag – Used on Twitter, a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by a “#” that helps organize posts, making them easier to find in Twitter searches.

Hits – A measurement defined as any request for a file from a web server.

Hyperlink – A navigational reference that embeds a link to a document or page on the Internet.

LinkedIn – A business-oriented social-media site for professional networking. Launched in 2002, LinkedIn now has more than 70 million registered users.

Links – Highlighted text that, when clicked, takes readers to another page containing related content or source materials.

Metadata – Information, including titles, tags, and captions, used to describe a media item or blog post in order to make it more easily found by search engines and aggregators.

Micro-Blogging – A form of blogging that limits the amount of characters or words per post, such as Twitter.

Permalinks – The permanent address or URL of a blog post or web page. A permalink is what is used when linking to another story within an email message or post.

Profiles and Pages – The pages on social-networking sites where a person or business displays their contact information, pictures, posts, and files.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The process of improving and increasing traffic to a website from search engines.

Sidebar – A column or columns along either or both sides of a blog’s main content area that includes widgets, contact and biographical information, links to previous posts and favorite sites, archives, badges, subscription information, RSS feeds, and more.

Social Media – Websites that provide communities with common interests a means to communicate and engage with one another online.

Subscribing – Signing up for a site’s feed, which automatically sends you new content from that site.

Syndication – The process of sharing and distributing content online.

Tag Cloud – A visual representation of the most popular tags on a blog or website. More popular tags are usually shown in larger type while less popular tags appear smaller.

Tags – Keywords associated with a blog post or other content making them more easily found through searches.

Threads – Messages or posts under a single forum topic or the comments and trackbacks of a particular blog post.

Trulia – A real-estate search engine and networking site that allows professionals to create business profiles and allows consumers to find listings, blogs, and real-estate information.

Twitter – A micro-blogging site where members post “tweets” or messages of 140 characters or less.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) – A URL is the technical term for a website’s address.

Wall – The shared portion, or discussion board, displayed on a social-media profile.

Webinar – A web-based seminar, presentation, lecture, or workshop transmitted over the web.

Widget – An application offered on social-media sites and blogs that performs a specific function allowing users to customize their profiles or blog.

Source materials here, here, here, here, here, and here. Original glossary here.

Please check back with www.theibisnetwork.wordpress.com for future updates and additions to this glossary.

Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com

To learn more about the Ibis Network’s Professional Networking Suite for Realtors and Mortgage Professionals which features these valuable marketing tools:

* Your own Real-Estate or Mortgage blog updated daily with original content
* Monthly e-newsletter ready to send to your contact list
* Social Media set-up on the 8 major networking sites
* Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your business website

Visit: http://www.theibisnetwork.com/networkingsuite.html

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