Should I Do Business on Facebook?

This is a question I get on a consistent basis and while the answer is often the same, there are some things to consider before making your final decision. Can you do business on Facebook?  Should you be “on” Facebook?  Is Facebook good for my business? The answer is yes and no. The reason is that Facebook is being viewed as something “new” when in fact, basic business principles should be used to ascertain whether the application can be used to further business objectives or not.  Once we start applying basic business concepts, it quickly becomes apparent whether Facebook is a suitable investment of resources or whether it is a waste of time.  Which it will be is going to depend on your individual business objectives and how well you use the tools around you, in this case Facebook. First of all, understand what Facebook is – it is not a business tool per se, it is an online social network.  Be clear about this, the primary word here is “social” – bringing your business into these networks is like a car salesman gatecrashing a party with the deal of the day.  Online social networks allow individuals to share information and keep themselves abreast of developments within their social circle, which may be a social circle dedicated purely to family and friends, or may be a circle of contacts which have a common interest or may be a network of business and professional connections.  Primarily, Facebook is a social rather than a business networking tool (for a business online social network look at LinkedIn), and as a business active...

Three Hidden Gems for Marketing Your Business Socially

Small businesses are seizing online social media as part of their efforts to establish a niche and engage a wider prospective customer base. Social media is not a fad – it is here to stay. The issue is how to gatecrash someone else’s party with a commercial message that doesn’t get you thrown out of the door as soon as you walk in! This is the conundrum which established, mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace are trying to address as they seek to monetize all those surfer eyeballs spending minutes, hours and days on the internet.  While this may seem like someone else’s problem, it is in fact every business’ problem – how to engage potential customers as part of their recreational time online. It is important for businesses to understand that while Facebook, Digg, Reddit, LinkedIn and the rest of the big players in social media, may be grabbing the headlines with multi-million dollar valuations and financing, they are not the only party on the block. So let’s take a look at three sites you may not have heard of, but they are bubbling under the top division in the social media league. Kirtsy Kirtsy (kirtsy.com) caters primarily to women and it’s a good social media site for businesses looking to attract women as their prospective customers. The site is primarily user-content driven with a substantial amount of third party content added by the users themselves for comment, education and simple fun.  Kirtsy focuses on female friendly topics and issues, but they do include forums and self-help groups for dealing with more than just relationships...

Top Generic Keywords or Longtail? Which Should You Go After? (Part 2)

Longtail Keywords The less competitive and more specific ‘longtail keywords’ are the epitome of opportunity. There is almost endless amounts of longtail traffic out there and if optimised in the right way, sites can capture a great deal of them. But is it worth spending time creating lots of content and optimising it to pull in longtail traffic? Pros: Firstly, websites don’t necessarily need to be all that powerful to rank for longtail keywords. This means that if you have new or weak site and you cannot compete for the top terms yet, you can always tap into the longtail search at some level. It is very difficult indeed to rank well for a whole host of generic terms as well, whilst there isn’t really anything stopping you ranking for many thousands of longtail terms. This post shows that in order to pull in more longtail traffic, 50% of the work you need to do is onsite work, compared to only 5% onsite work for the top level keywords. With this in mind, if you are not proficient in link-building, but can look after your onsite optimisation and copy, you can still perform well under your own steam, rather than having to outsource any offsite work. The most important thing to say about longtail search terms though, is that they convert much better. As mentioned earlier in part 1, longer keyword searches perform better than short, and so even though traffic might be lower with longtail, sales can still be higher. Cons: Longtail search terms can be something of an unknown entity when it comes to predicting just how...

5 Reasons Twitter is Not Worth Your Dime or Time

It is no secret that Twitter is viewed as both marketing secret weapon and marketing bust. As a social networking tool, it has promise but what about Twitter as tool for increasing your business? With the recent news announcements that Twitter is worth in excess of $1 billion amidst rumors of potential takeover and flotation deals, let’s take a look at why Twitter may not be worth the dime your company is looking to pay for increased web sales and exposure. The internet and e-business is accepted as being a great way of doing business – costs are cut, geographical boundaries are overcome, new routes to market are uncovered and smaller companies are provided with fewer barriers to entry and get to compete with much larger companies on a level playing field. BUT…there has to be a but! The decisions you make when it comes to mounting marketing campaigns and establishing connections with customers and prospects, the established principals of offline, real-world marketing still apply. So is using Twitter the most effective use of your company’s marketing dime? TV Dominates the Internet in Ad Spend Traditional, “old” media still represent better value for money when it comes to turning marketing dollars into solid sales numbers. This may seem out of sync with our perception of the internet – the internet dominates the news, it is cutting edge and at the forefront of developing new markets and ways of doing business but let’s take a hard look at the underlying numbers. The average American adult spends almost 121 hours a month watching television but internet usage is dwarfed, coming in...