Social Media Dos and Don’ts for the New Year

 

Social media is definitely a quickly-changing and adapting technology. We’ve seen countless changes in social media over the last year. Just think back to what Facebook looked like on January 1, 2013 – it’s a lot different than the social media giant’s homepage looks right now.

So in the spirit of change, I think that people and companies should be always evolving in their social media strategies as well. Do you notice people on your Facebook timeline who post what seems like the same thing over and over again? I do! So to ring in 2014, let’s evaluate our social media practices and retire some things that people are frankly getting sick of. Here are a few dos and don’ts for the New Year:

Don’t feel the need to comment on every news story – brands in particular seem to feel the need to weigh in on every national news story via social media (Twitter seems to be particularly popular for this). Unless the story is directly related to your company or industry (and even that can be a stretch) then it can come across as disingenuous to offer your thoughts.

Don’t masquerade marketing materials as content – while it’s fine to incorporate marketing ideas and collateral into your social media pages, be upfront and honest about what they are. Followers and/or customers don’t want to be lured into reading or commenting on something that is merely a ruse for marketing.

Do have great customer service via social media – take the time to formulate a strategy for social media customer service that includes fast response times and legitimate answers to questions. No brushing off customers or forcing them to email or call instead of having their questions answered where they asked them – on social media.

Do post quality content, often – make sure that you are posting things that you genuinely think your followers will be interested in. This can include linking to outside sites, other people’s pages, news articles, and more. Just make sure that what you are posting is relevant to those who are following you. Don’t just post any old thing that you think is interesting – think like someone that you want to follow your brand.

We all know that social media is a great tool. Make the most of it for your company in 2014!

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Build Off Your Blog

 

When blogs first began to gain popularity, they were used almost exclusively as personal diaries.

Nowadays, however, blogs have evolved into something far more advanced; for both individuals and businesses, they act as invaluable marketing tools used to brand your business and interact with your audience like never before. To find out how you could be making more of your blog, read on.

Social Media Integration

This is kind of a no-brainer, but is so important it’s still worth mentioning. If someone happens upon your blog and likes what they see, the first thing they’ll want to do is connect with you on another social media platform. After all, having to seek out your blog each time they want an update is one thing, but being directly notified of updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is another.

To make this as easy as possible for your readers, you’ll want to add a row of attractive social media icons on your blog, preferably in clear view and close to the header. To do this, you can either hire a web designer or do it yourself for free. If you choose the latter option and aren’t an HTML whiz, try a quick and easy tutorial for help.

Comment Interaction

The comments section of your blog posts is, hands down, the very best place to engage your customers, gauge their interest, and learn what you could be doing better. If you have comments disabled on your blog, change that immediately; commenting is the lifeblood of the blogging world and should be one of your top priorities.

The best way to receive more comments is to leave thoughtful comments on other blogs similar to your own, and the best way to make those new commentors feel valued is to reply to their input. Whether they left compliments or criticism, reply with gratitude and a warm, conversational attitude.

If someone mentions something they don’t like about your blog, don’t take it personally or ignore it. Thank them for sharing their opinion and ask what specific aspects of your blog need to be improved on. If someone leaves a positive but very brief comment, replying with a simple “thank you” will leave a good impression. After all, people come to your blog out of curiosity, but they’ll stay for the quality content and the personal connection you develop with them.

Opt-In Email Newsletters

Giving your blog’s visitors the option to have news, updates, and special offers delivered straight to their inbox via an email newsletter is one of the best things you can do to foster the growth of a solid, long-lasting readership. For this to work, though, it is essential that you stick to a few key rules of thumb.

Keep your emails short and sweet–you want your emails to pack a quick punch, not ramble on. In addition, be sure to stay upbeat, positive, and honest. You want your readers to look forward to opening your emails, not feel weighed down by lackluster writing, guilt-based pleas for their business, or less-than-desirable deals (no one wants to read that they’re getting $25 off in the subject line only to discover in the fine print that the offer only applies if they spend $500 or more).

Time and energy spent making sure your graphics pop will make your emails seem fresh and clean, rather than cluttered or distracting.

Finally, never email people who haven’t signed up to be on your mailing list, never email people who have unsubscribed from your mailing list, and always give your recipients a quick and easy way to unsubscribe in the first place. It’s not just common courtesy; it’s the LAW. Stick to these guidelines and your reputation for being respectful of your customers and their wishes can only grow.

At first, using your blog as a crucial marketing tool can seem intimidating. By following some basic principles to build rapport with your visitors, you can be well on your way to growing a loyal, enduring readership in no time.

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

City Specific Domain Extensions Launched

 

Since the start of the internet, the .com domain has ruled. Most businesses use the URL if they are lucky enough to have purchased that domain. Otherwise, they may have been forced to choose an alternate domain for their website. This is usually the case if you are starting your business from scratch nowadays. While the .com domain has ruled, there are a few other options that are becoming more frequently used, such as .net or .co. But unfortunately, there are not an endless combination of words with which to come up with domain names.

Domain names with fewer letters are becoming scarcer. There is a limited number of letter combinations that can be made. Shorter domain names are becoming costly, if they are even available. While companies and personal users can choose domains that end in .net or .co, most people will try the .com ending first. This can lead to confusion when it comes to people finding your site, particularly with small businesses who may not have first crack at expensive domains.

But now, a new solution is being offered to business owners in some cities in the US. Domain for purchase company GoDaddy has made some new domain-name endings available. The two that are being offered currently are for the city of Los Angeles and also New York City. The domains end in either .la or .nyc. While they are primarily being marketed to businesses in these places, there are no rules in place that businesses who use these domains must be in these cities. In this article, Mashable suggests that the .la domain might also appeal to businesses that are based in Louisiana.

GoDaddy offered these new domains at a slightly higher price than their typical starting cost for domains. The auctions for popular domain names started around $100. The company offered about 300 unique domains with the .la extension. They were up for auction on GoDaddy’s site through July 18th.

The new city-specific domain extensions could be a big help to businesses. This makes more common domains available to more people. For example, if there is a company called Smith Marketing in New York, they could use smithmarketing.nyc and a different company with the same name in Los Angeles could use smithmarketing.la. I think it’s a great idea and it will be an easy way for internet users to distinguish companies that they are looking for from those that are in other areas of the country.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.