While reviewing past articles, I had noticed that despite ongoing examples of the importance of promoting your business through social media, we have not discussed much about the other side of social media marketing. While it is important to stay up-to-date on content for your social media pages, you must keep in mind a few key activities that are prohibited by Facebook and many other social media sites. It can be difficult to realize that you may be taking part in these activities, so being careful and informed can mean the difference between the free use or permanent expulsion of social media sites. For the sake of brevity, we will focus only on Facebook.
While there are many activities in Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities shown to be “prohibited”, three of them could easily be committed by yourself or a friend without you even knowing. These include posting unauthorized commercial communications, engaging in multi-level marketing (pyramid schemes), and even excessive friend requesting.
Facebook recognizes advertisements of many kinds as “commercial communications”. These can include status updates about your business, sidebar ads, and promotional photos, among many others. Luckily, these are all allowed. However, spam-like communications can lead to account elimination. As modern day internet users, I think it is safe to assume that you know what spam is. Put simply, spam is unwanted bulk messaging advertising a product of service. Go ahead and post a status update about your new manager or the cool new fountain in your lobby, but don’t repeatedly send mass personal messages advertising what you have to offer. Especially if they send readers to phishing or malware hosting sites. Big no-no.
Pyramid schemes are not only illegal in the United States, but they are also an unsustainable business model. Given the ease of communication on a massive scale through social media, pyramid schemes are more common than you might think. Essentially, it is a type of business where you pay to get in and remain a member, then make your money through recruiting other members into the scheme. There are many other aspects to it, but that is not what we are here to discuss. The problem with these schemes on social media is that they are so enticing (“make thousands a week working part time from home”!) and since so many people fall for them, chances are one of your friends has tried to send you an invitation. After all, the more people they recruit, the higher their chances of making some kind of profit. A common rule to follow is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Finally, excessive friend requesting can lead to your page (personal or business) being deleted from Facebook. Facebook has set a limit of 5,000 friends for a profile. Not only does mass “friending” give a “desperate” image, it can be considered a type of spam communication. Especially when most of those people do not accept your request. It can be easy to send hundreds of requests in a short time, especially being in a “marketing” mindset. Doing this will result in numerous warnings, possibly leading to your account being deleted.
These are only a few examples of what Facebook considers to be “proper” etiquette with their service. As business owners and managers, it is important to know the boundaries of what is allowed on Facebook. For a complete list of restrictions and guidelines, visit Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
In a previous article, we briefly discussed Webmaster tools. Today, I want to show you what they actually are.
Webmaster tools are a service offered by Google that enable website administrators to improve their site(s) through various tools. Google Webmaster Tools essentially make website maintenance and improvement user-friendly and simple. It is best to think of it as a dedicated little person working around the clock to make sure your website is functioning at the highest level it can. As a webmaster, you gain plenty of benefits through it, including three crucial tools to help your website and your business run as efficiently as possible. And the best part? It’s FREE.
1. Help with site optimization in order for Google to better search for it.
Since Webmaster tools are provided by Google, it seems obvious that they would try to make your website as Google-friendly as possible. This is extremely beneficial, since Google is the most used search engine in the world. The tools find any problems with keyword usage or other related search errors and alert you about them via email. Through the tools, you can optimize and improve your website’s search relevance based on Google recommendations.
2. Help with the general “running” of your website.
Webmaster tools work around the clock to find any problems with the coding of your website such as a faulty link or incorrect/difficult to read page coding. Again, through email, webmaster tools will notify you of the problems as soon as they are discovered. From there, you are shown exactly where and what the problem is. The recommendations for repair that follow will be based on what changes the website needs in order to work more smoothly and efficiently, while taking into consideration the things that can be done to improve the ease at which Google can search for the website.
3. Analysis of search traffic.
This is the coolest aspect in my opinion. Logging on to your webmaster page, you can see a map of the world with little spots on it showing you where people are that are using your website at that time. You can literally log on and see how many people are using your website and where they are at any given time. In addition to this awesome feature, webmaster tools can analyze and tell you how people are finding your website, be it through a search engine, following an ad, or through a social media page, just to name a few. Knowing this can help you increase traffic to your website. If, for example, most people are finding your website through your Facebook page, this can tell you that you should either reach a broader audience on Facebook or pay more attention to any other ways people find your website, such as advertisements or higher search relevance.
Webmaster tools give users the ability to analyze and improve their websites in an easily understandable manner. By alerting users of any problems and showing them what is working for their website, these tools enable users to improve their sites easily and dramatically.
By: Alec England, columnist, The Site Vamp
Before drawing an opinion on this matter, it is important to know exactly what “net neutrality” is… well, was. Before the U.S. appeals court ruling, internet service providers were required to provide equal access to all content, applications, and information on the web.
Put very simply, the FCC wanted to officially establish full net neutrality rules completely determined on their own while Verizon, among other service providers, wanted to be able to determine what can or cannot be viewed through their service. The court ruled in favor of the service providers, stating that individual providers now have the freedom to choose which websites and other web content can or cannot be viewed through their service.
Like most things, the ruling has its pros and cons. Some choose to look at it as a beneficial move that boldly restricts the FCC’s potential power over the internet’s content. Some choose to look at it in a more cynical lens, saying that service providers will only use the ruling to block content from their users and fill their pockets doing so. Without a doubt, a good majority of us have at least skimmed through articles about this. With so many voices shouting all over the internet, all sides have been presented about the issue. Regardless of the opinions presented, many of these articles tend to preach a “gloom and doom” message, suggesting that the internet as we know it is dead.
The internet is not going to die. It might, however, get a bit more complicated. And expensive.
As a user, your service provider can now determine which sites they will or will not allow you to view. This can be done either by completely blocking certain sites, making them load slower than normal, or charging a fee in order to access whichever websites you were previously unable to get. If service providers decide to follow this example, your internet service could become very similar to your television service. Providers could require the purchase of a “package” of websites instead of payments for each site that a user would actually use.
As a business owner, you may be required to pay extra money to various service providers in order to keep your website on their “available” list, if service providers choose to make that a requirement. Please remember that these are only a few examples of what might happen.
At this point, nothing is fully set in stone. Providers could choose to use the ruling in order to put a chokehold on their customers through strict contracts and regulations on what can and cannot be searched. Providers could also find themselves competing with each other for the lowest prices and most available content, ultimately giving end users the advantage over available providers.
The next few months could hold some crucial moments that could forever change the way we use the internet. Check back in the coming weeks for updates on the outcomes of this ruling, and what they mean to users and business owners.
By: Alec England, Columnist, The Site Vamp
We seem to talk a lot about all kinds of social media platforms and how to use them for business, but what about the platform that was actually intended for business use? What about Linkedin?
For those that don’t know, Linkedin is a business-oriented social networking service. Facebook for business people, essentially. It hosts over 250 million users and is currently the third most popular social media site in use today.
So, why don’t you have one?
Linkedin is a fantastic service for individuals looking to broaden their professional network and employers looking for those individuals. Looking at it this way, you could use Linkedin for your business as both an individual and an employer. They offer many services for their users, but I want to focus on the ones that will get you and your business some work.
These services range from the obvious “user profile” to the ability to follow companies and receive job postings and the like from those companies. Lets say, for example, you own a drywall business (“Bob’s Drywall”). Bob’s has a Linkedin page that is regularly maintained with recent jobs and praise from past customers. Bob’s can do any size of drywall job, but they specialize in large-scale drywall jobs. They follow the Linkedin pages of local businesses, large-scale contractors, large corporations, even local individuals. These people and businesses that they follow can post jobs through their pages, and since Bob’s is “linked” with them, they can view these postings immediately after they are made public. From there, Bob’s can apply for the job(s) and their information is all right there on their Linkedin page. Convenient, right? In addition, Bob’s can post any kind of “help wanted” or “job available” ads that they might need. Their followers can see these ads, and either apply for it themselves or refer the ad to a friend, who in turn may have the qualifications Bob’s is looking for.
Now, imagine you are a freelance writer. You have done work for many different companies and periodicals in the past, and you are ready to take on more tasks. On your Linkedin page, you say you are a freelance writer. Below, you post past articles or blogs that you have written, along with responses from past employers. Now, for the sake of awesomeness, the New York Times stumbles upon your profile and they like what they see. The New York Times is a highly-read newspaper, presumably with tons of connections on Linkedin. From here, the situation can go three ways:
1. They have a story coming up and contact you about applying for the job.
2. They know of another newspaper that is in need of someone with your abilities and refer you to them.
3. They link with you and you get consistent updates on upcoming jobs, while other newspaper companies that follow them find your profile and your work.
I know, these examples are very idealistic and simplified, but it is what can happen on Linkedin. Think of it as Facebook, without the relationship announcements and the “top ten reasons” for whatever… It is a purely professional network with the capability of boosting yourself and your business to the highest level of success possible. If you want it to.
By: Alec England, columnist, The Site Vamp
By now, we’ve all most likely heard about Facebook’s purchase of WhatsApp for $16 billion. Many have questioned this, many have laughed at it, many don’t even know what it’s all about. But the underlying reason for the purchase could have lasting effects on how you promote your business through social media.
Many have speculated that the reason Facebook bought WhatsApp is to access more user data in order to reach more audiences with more relevant advertisements. This makes sense, considering income from advertising makes up a rather large part of Facebook’s revenue. Another reason could be that adding the WhatsApp audience to their customer base will bring in a younger audience, meaning Facebook can reach a more people spanning a larger range of ages.
These both seem like logical explanations, but the number one speculated reason is much larger and more power-driven than any other. This investment could be a huge step in Facebook’s goal of controlling the world’s online messaging and communication. The most popular uses of the internet could be divided up into three major facets: messaging, searching, and shopping. Although sites such as Bing and Yahoo! search could be considered “competitive” in the search engine market, Google pretty much takes the lead. And while sites like Ebay and Overstock are in use, Amazon essentially rules the online shopping market. The only facet left is messaging and social media. That is where Facebook’s investment comes in.
Though it seems that Facebook is already the “Google” or “Amazon” of the social media market, take into consideration how many apps and websites fall under the “social media” category. Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, Twitter, even YouTube are all examples of social media. The ultimate goal, many have said, is to acquire as many of these as possible, therefore controlling the entire market of social media sites.
But what does this mean to businesses using these sites? Most likely, there will be little change in daily operations such as status updates or advertisements. If Facebook continues to grow, your advertisements will reach a larger audience. The idea is that even if someone is not a Facebook user but is a WhatsApp user, they might still see the ad you put on Facebook due to the fact that they are now technically users of a Facebook company. And if Facebook acquires more of these social media platforms, your ads and pages will be accessible to a larger audience.
This all might sound good, but keep in mind that providing a more encompassing advertising service will likely drive up the price of using it. In addition, the atmosphere of social media will become noisier due to an increasing conglomeration of users and business all under one company. This could make it more difficult to get the word out about your business. Now, more than ever, it is important to keep an eye on how this industry grows and changes. Social media is still growing, and businesses must grow and adapt with it.
By: Alec England, columnist, The Site Vamp
WordPress is a tool that provides blog templates, content-management systems, various pre-made themes, and is one of the primary site-building tools used by The Site Vamp. It is one of the most beneficial website building tools currently in use. Though WordPress provides a large amount of helpful services, I want to highlight three key benefits that it offers.
1. Simplified social media sharing
We are always talking about the importance of the proper uses of social media for your business. WordPress seems to agree. Put simply, what we try to do at The Site Vamp is to create as big of a web presence as possible for you and your business, usually by building you a website and linking it to your various social media pages. From there, keeping fresh content across your platforms is key. WordPress provides services that make it easier to connect your website to your social media. Viewers can plainly see and follow links to your various pages, making advertising to your viewers that much stronger through a broader exposure across the sites they visit.
2. Update simplicity
Wordpress is a WYSIWYG program. What You See Is What You Get. Because of this, uploading new content to your website is simple, due to that fact that you don’t need to be a coding genius in order to maintain your website. Simply add your desired content into the correct spaces, select where to put it/ how to access it, and save. The content that you see as you upload it is exactly what users will see.
3. Search engines can find WordPress sites
Wordpress makes it easy to update your SEO and help your website rank higher on search results. Search Engine Optimization is the process by which a search engine decides what pages are relevant to a user’s search. Being able to customize your SEO puts the power in your hands to decide what parts of your website you think should be noticed by search engines such as keywords or phrases. This gives search engines some “help” to find your website, boosting the relevancy of it to the search, and ultimately placing it higher on the list of search results.
It never stops getting better… Facebook has just recently unveiled yet another method for advertising that has the potential to surpass all previous advertising vehicles. “Website Custom Audiences” are a new way of getting the word out to more and more Facebook users that might not be getting your status updates already.
Through Website Custom Audiences, Facebook users can be exposed to your own personal advertisement on their news feeds. While this might not sound much different than putting out a status update through your business’ Facebook page, remember that a status update is only visible to users who have “liked” your business page. WCA’s enable your business to be seen even by users who have not begun following your business on Facebook. Instead of taking the time to continuously update your page and hope that your followers will see it, WCA’s provide a much easier and more efficient way to reach even larger audiences. WCA’s essentially find who visits your business’ page and puts your advertisement on their news feed, regardless of whether or not they even know you have a Facebook page.
Again, lets say “Joe” has visited your website and has seen what you offer. Sure, he may be interested in your services, but odds are with life, work, a noisy online atmosphere, and constant exposure to information, he won’t remember your business after he browses through your website. But he does get on Facebook quite often. If you utilize WCA’s correctly, the advertisement that you created will show up on his news feed even if he hasn’t “liked” your page. It simply remembers that he visited your website a while back and is now reminding him of your business while he scrolls through his news feed. Not only that, WCA’s also give you the ability to customize your advertisement(s). Once you have created one, Facebook will automatically put it on the news feeds of people who have visited your website.
This is truly a step forward in the social media advertising market. It takes what advertisements used to be on Facebook and makes them more efficient, recurring, and relevant to yourself and other users.
By: Alec England, Columnist, The Site Vamp
Okay, so if you have been following our blog you have definitely read about the importance of social media as a business tool today. While we explain what it can do and the reasons for using it, not so much has been touched on the “how” aspect of it all.
How exactly do you, as a business, get more likes on Facebook? Sure, you can log in as an admin to your page and manually click on who you want to invite to like your page. But that takes some time and can become annoying after a while to personal users. Not to mention doing that too much can make you seem desperate for professional attention. So how can you go about garnering “likes” and spreading the word about your business online?
Today, I would like to introduce you to Facebook Wifi. No, it does not entail buying internet coverage from Facebook. Instead, it entails using a supported router in order to automatically direct users to your Facebook page. Assuming you already have a Facebook page for your business complete with your business’ location, it should be simple to set up and get it working for you.
Have you ever had a customer in your office/showroom/workplace that asks for your wifi password? Usually, you would give it to them, they type it in, say thank you, and that is that. You proceed with your work and they proceed to use your wifi. Facebook Wifi essentially takes your wifi password and replaces it with a “check in” at your business. Once a customer hooks up to your wifi signal, they are prompted to open a browser window. Instead of asking for a password in order to obtain access, the user is directed straight to your Facebook page and is instructed to “check in” in order to gain access to your wifi.
But still, why does this help you to get likes and spread the word about your business? The customer is already there, so what if they “check in”? Well, after “checking in”, your customer is asked if they would care to “like” your Facebook page. They are not required, but even that is not the most important part.
Lets say, “Joe” has 300 friends on Facebook. Joe walks into your establishment, “Carol’s Coffee”, and hooks up to your wifi signal. In order to access your wifi, Joe must “check in” at Carol’s Coffee on Facebook. From there, Joe can choose to “like” the page or not, but Joe’s 300 friends will automatically see on their news feeds that Joe checked in at Carol’s Coffee. In a matter of seconds, Joe told 300 people about Carol’s simply in exchange for wifi access.
From there, 20 of Joe’s friends come to Carol’s and check in in exchange for wifi, and all of their thousands of friends see it on their news feeds, and the word just keeps spreading and spreading! It all happens by itself. So all Carol has to be concerned with is that Joe has his internet needs taken care of, she has her advertising needs taken care of, and Carol’s Coffee has it’s customer base growing. All for the cost of an internet bill.
By: Alec England - Columnist, The Site Vamp LLC #FACEBOOK
- The Site VampOwner, 11 - presentSarah absolutely loves social media. Social media is “word of mouth”, it is exciting, always new and is completely revolutionizing marketing. The way we market our companies today is like making a huge caldron of internet stew in a broth of Website, with a smidgen of Facebook, a sprinkle of Twitter, a dollop of YouTube, a dash of LinkedIn, and the continuous changing of spices and flavors as websites and social sites change. Between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Social Networking and CMS (content management system) a company has the chance to increase their percentage of customers, their bottom line and their quality of life. The Site Vamp’s, goal is to help you climb to the top of every search engine. I pride myself in my ability to hear you, to truly listen to your desires and concerns for your website, then help you meet your goals. I watch your websites analytics, find what people are looking for in regards to your particular company then add and change pages according to your visitors desires. If needed, I adjust your website pages check their H1 tags, Alt Text, Title tags, Meta Descriptions, keywords, and social media sites so your site can be indexed easily by all search engines. If you don’t have any social media sites, I will create and add them to your website, then monitor and update them regularly. I add blogging to your website, and upload your blogs to your social media sites and your website, then help you blog at least once per week. Best of all, I won’t leave you! If you want me to maintain your website for weeks, months, or even years I will do that. If your goal is to get your website up and running properly, then take it over yourself; well then, I will show you how to do that. Can you reach me anytime? Yes – just send me an email at email@example.com I will respond within a 24 hour period. I know social media, I know SEO, I know CMS, it’s what I do, and I do it well.
Since The Site Vamp's inception, we knew our main objective would be to help people gain more business and thus financial freedom through SEO and Social Media. We take this very seriously. The "rules" of social media marketing and SEO change daily; so we change daily. We find it increasingly important to educate ourselves about the changes made in social media and SEO each and every day, that is why we take continued education social media and SEO classes every day. We discuss the future of social media and SEO amongst each other and we apply what we have learned to each web site and social media networking site we manage. We do not take the trust of our clients lightly, their business' future depends on our knowledge, we are incredibly humbled by their acceptance and trust in us. When we receive testimonials like the ones listed below, it makes our day!Testimonials:
"The Elephant’s Perch struggled over the years attempting to build a website, we had difficulty getting it running efficiently, and also trouble with keeping it current. Once we connected with The Site Vamps, Sarah Shepard and her team went to work on a complete rebuilding of our site. We wanted primarily a site to communicate with our customers, and to share all the things we do here at The Perch and around our community. Sarah has been a delight to work with, she keeps us up to speed, and has helped to train our staff on how we can better use our WebSite. When we need updates on the site, or links to our Facebook page, Sarah has been there to guide us through the steps, and often jumps in and gets it done for us. There is a lot more that we could do with our communications, and when we need help, we will certainly reach out to The Site Vamps."
"There is no way Ski Haus could successfully employ the constantly changing parameters of Search Engine Optimization and Social Networking without the help of Sarah and her staff at The Site Vamp. We would rather navigate by stars through dark timber on a cloudy night than try to figure out the ins and outs of SEO. Sarah and her staff are easy to work with and always very responsive and patient with our questions. We are incredibly happy with her input, our website redesign and SEO work she has provided."
Murray Selleck, Ski Haus, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
You are awesome! We have increased our hits more than 10 fold and thanks to you we are now finally in control of our business. You have done such a remarkable job for CaboPulmo.com and I want to congratulate you and "The Site Vamp" for your success in producing so much traffic to our website through all the social media outlets.
Cheers and keep up the hard work,
Cole - Owner of Cabo Pulmo Beach Resort, Baja Mexico.
“We started using The Site Vamps services in January of 2012 to help boost our online presence. Little did we know how much of a boost it would receive. Since The Site Vamp took over our web sites, we have had more business from the web sites than we had the entire eight years prior to The Site Vamps involvement.
We are extremely happy with her ability to communicate with us, her ability to facilitate our blogs, her knowledge of SEO and social media and the fact that she is easy to work with.
We highly recommend The Site Vamp for your web site and social media needs.”
Steven R. Maher - Attorney
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