The Netwalker Blog

Archive for April, 2011

First steps in social media marketing

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

So, you have a Web site and now you want to know how to get people sharing your site through Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets. Each of the major social media outlets now offer easy tools for you to enable this functionality on your Web site. Many of these tools allow you to configure the button that will appear on your site and then copy code that they give you and paste it into your site. Here are links to some of the most popular social sharing tools:

  1. Facebook’s Like Button
  2. Twitter’s Tweet Button
  3. LinkedIn’s Share Button
  4. The Digg Button
  5. The Post to Google Buzz Button

Which one(s) should you use? It won’t hurt to use all of them, but we recommend that you add Facebook’s Like button and Twitter’s Tweet button at a minimum. If you work primarily in the B2B market or seek referrals from professionals (such as a client of ours who works in the B2C market but is often referred by doctors and attorneys), you should also consider LinkedIn’s Share button. Digg and Google Buzz are less popular.

Keep in mind: if you’re looking for people to share your content (and you should be), you need to be creating content to be shared. This is where blogging comes in.

Update, 6/6/2011: Google has released code to insert their +1 button in your site, which we recommend adding along with Facebook and Twitter at a minimum. Learn more here.

“What is a blog?”

Friday, April 8th, 2011

For some, this post might seem dated. After all, according to Wikipedia, the term has been around for over 10 years. And yet, for many people, the term blog is still somewhat of a mystery. I recently suggested that a client find someone to blog about him. “What does that mean?” he asked. “I mean that you should have someone who owns a blog write something about you and post it on his/her blog,” I replied. And hence we come to the question in the title of this blog post. Since you are reading this post on a blog, you might have some idea of what a blog is, but that doesn’t mean that you could answer that question easily. Wikipedia’s article on the term “Blog” provides a good explanation:

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.

Notice the careful language, including terms such as “most,” “commonly,” and “usually.” It would be nice if there was a simple answer to the question, “what is a blog?” Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), blogs come in all shapes and sizes. There is no simple answer.

As an inbound marketer, what do I like to see in a blog? Here are a few things:

  1. It is updated on a regular basis (the more often, the better)
  2. It offers easy methods of sharing content
  3. The freshest content is front-and-center with popular content also promoted
  4. Readers are invited to participate (comment)
  5. It provides at least one method of subscribing to updates (a “feed” and perhaps email notifications)

How about you? Have anything to add?

“Should I start a blog?”

Friday, April 1st, 2011

In a word: yes!

Why? Let’s explore a few reasons:

1. Blogging increases the number of visitors to your site

In 2009, HubSpot, a producer of Internet marketing software, conducted a study of 1,531 of their customers. The study showed that the customers that blogged were receiving 55% more Web site visitors than those who did not.

2. Blogging increases the number of inbound links

Inbound links signal to search engines that your site has authority, which improves your search engine ranking. In the same study, HubSpot discovered that customers who blog received 97% more inbound links.

3. Blogging increases the number of indexed pages for your site

Blogging increases the number of pages on your site (since each blog post is a new page), which, in turn, increases the number of pages that search engines index. In fact, the study above showed that customers that blogged had 434% more indexed pages than those that did not. The number of indexed pages is important because each indexed page increases your chance of appearing in a search results page.

4. Blogging results in leads, which result in customer acquisitions

Ultimately, it’s all about acquiring customers. If a marketing channel doesn’t lead to conversions, it doesn’t matter what the other statistics say, it is not worth the time and money. According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing Report, 46% of businesses with blogs have acquired a customer from that channel, making it the best social media channel as far as customer acquisition is concerned (and considering only the raw percentages). If you’re selling primarily to consumers, that number is 57%, which puts it in second place to Facebook, at 68%.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started blogging. If you need a hand, give us a call toll-free and with no obligation. Or, check back here in a few days for tips on getting started with blogging.