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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

6 Months of Social Media

Today brings the first half of 2010 to a close, which means I've now been actively using social media for 6 full months.  I thought this post might be a good opportunity to reflect on how I've been using social media.

Blogging- The interactions I have with readers who comment here, in LinkedIn forums, and on have made the blogging experience more worth while to me than any other social tool.  I struggled early on to figure out what writing style worked best for me.  For the most part I try to be brief to respect my readers' time, as well as my own.  Also I hate reading blogs that never seem to get to a point, and I don't want to have one of those.

LinkedIn- LinkedIn has turned out to be the social media tool that has allowed me to make the most real connections.  I especially love the group discussions, which have helped me to find an audience for this blog.  With their new and improved discussion format it might be even easier to join in other discussions, and I look forward to that.

Twitter- I do an okay job of using Twitter, but I'm certainly not a power user.  You know what?  I don't think I want to be.  I mostly use it to help publicize my blog, but I'm always happy to retweet another article or message that I think others may enjoy, though I consciously do so in moderation (quality over quantity).  I also enjoy reading a few other people's tweets, though my follow list is small.

Facebook- I still haven't quite figured out how to use the world's most popular social media tool effectively.  With LinkedIn and Twitter connections just seem a little more natural: I follow you on Twitter because you write interesting tweets; I connect with someone on LinkedIn either because I've had a professional relationship with them (work or college) or because we've met through a discussion.  Facebook is the tool where users are most inclined to connect with everyone they can, so I get friend requests from people I barely knew in high school and others that I may have passed in the hallway at previous jobs.  I've kept my list of friends relatively small, and I'm comfortable with that.

Has anyone else been working to define/redefine their social media strategies this year?  I'd love to hear how it's been going!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Using Anchor Text in Hyperlinks Benefits for Several Reasons

I'm taking time off this week for a much needed vacation.  That makes it a perfect time to introduce my first blog post from a guest blogger!  Michael Yublosky, MBA, is a successful self taught do-it-yourself Web master and E-Marketer.  He  combines 30+ years of professional consultative sales experience coupled with sales and marketing management, training, coaching/mentoring experience. He is also an adult educator and conducts classes and seminars in several northwest suburban Chicago locations.  Michael shares his knowledge with similarly minded small business owners and managers as well as self employed entrepreneurs.

Anchor text provides useful information about the content of the page you invite visitors to link to. It also tells search engines what the destination, or target, is about. It is important to use proper hyperlink anchor text to maximize search engine results.

Links, or hyperlinks, point to a Web page or to a portion within a Web page. Wikipedia defines a hyperlink as a “reference to a document that the reader can directly follow...” We use links to navigate from one location on the Web to another quickly. At times the target location replaces the source location when the hyperlink is activated.   A completely new page may be opened at other times. 

Hypertext is the definition of a hyperlink made with text (as versus a graphic, banner or image, etc. being used).  The text of this type of link is generally underlined. Its color is often a different than that of the neighboring text. When your mouse hovers over it or once you click on it, it may also change color.  The change in color shows you previously followed that link. 

Another benefit to using anchor text is enhanced search engine results.  Google Webmaster Guidelines (Google Webmaster Central, 4/10/10) state:  “Make a site with...text links.” It later notes: “Think about the words users would type to find your pages, and make sure that your site actually includes those words within it.” Still further on it reads:  “Try to use text instead of images to display.....links.”

My conclusion is Google tells you to use text for your links, so it must be a good thing to do so. Why? Because its Googlebot search software reads text to index Web sites. So, if you want to tell the search engine what the page is about, what content or information it displays, use text.  When the anchor text reflects the page's keywords it gets a boost from Google, or sort of extra credit.

Use relevant keywords for your target instead of “Contact Us” or “Click Here”.     When you use "Contact Us" as the anchor text, you tell the search engines the page is discussing "Contact Us". If you use "Click Here" for words people you want people to click on, you tell them the target is about the subject "Click Here".  Do you want to rank highly for “Contact Us” or “Click Here”? 

Finally, use words that make sense to your readers!

Yublosky’s free information and tips as well as down loadable pdf files can be viewed at his DIY Web E-Marketing site.  Additional interesting small business insights are found at his DIY E-Marketing blog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Is There a Stronger Brand Than Apple?

The power of the Apple brand never ceases to amaze me.  The iPhone 4 launched today, and loyal Apple fans rushed to be among the first to have the newest generation of iPhone.

Crowds Queue Up Across U.S. For iPhone 4

Is there any other brand that generates such a consistently high level of anticipation for new product releases?  Apple has done it with each version of the iPhone, with the iPad, and to some extent with iPods (maybe there's too many versions of the iPod for it to seem so special).  Google and Microsoft are their closest competitors in most categories, and I can't imagine people forming lines several blocks long to purchase the latest device from either of them.

Congratulations to Apple for yet another successful launch.  I can't wait to see what they roll out next!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Better Conversations on LinkedIn

Monday I shared information I'd found for the top 10 social networking sites for May, and I was surprised that LinkedIn wasn't listed as one of them.  Then I remembered that until a few months ago I didn't even know it was possible to have group discussion on LinkedIn, and apparently many others are still unaware.

It looks like that might be about to change.  LinkedIn has begun revamping its groups to make conversations a little bit easier. An article on explains some of the adjustments LinkedIn has made:
There is also a new focus on surfacing quality conversations from influencers. A new feature allows you to scan different conversations and “Like,” “Pass” or “Comment” on a discussion within a group. This information then brings the best conversations to the top of the group. There is also now a “Top Influencers” feature, which highlights quality contributors based on how well they stimulate conversations from other members.
Check out the article to see a short video demonstration:

LinkedIn Revamps Groups with Likes, Follows and Discussions

What do you think?  Will these new features help make LinkedIn's group conversations a little more accessible? 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Top 10 Social Networking Websites & Forums - May 2010

This weekend I came across data for the top social networking sites for last month, and I think it's pretty interesting:

Facebook dominates the market, which shouldn't suprise anyone.  YouTube has a little more market share than I would've guessed, but it makes sense.  There are a few things here that surprised me:
  • MySpace still gets WAY more traffic than I thought
  • Twitter gets WAY less traffic than I thought
  • There are a couple of sites listed that I've never heard of (Tagged, MocoSpace)
  • LinkedIn isn't mentioned at all
Unfortunately I didn't see any data that backed up the chart, but I think it's worth a look anyway.  Click on the link below to see the original chart, as well as many others on

Top 10 Social Networking Websites & Forums - May 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Social Networking vs. Social Media

An across I read on this week points out that many of us (myself included) tend to use the terms Social Media and Social Networking as though they are the same thing.  They aren't, as the article points out:
Social media and social networking are not the same. Social media are the tools and social networking is what you do in the communities. You can use one to enhance the other, but they are not the same. 
I agree that Social Media and Social Networking aren't interchangeable.  They are, however, inseparable, so I think it's okay to consider them part of the same overall process.

The article also points out that social media is more than just the three most popular tools: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn:
In fact, it's not about those sites. It's about a cross section of community sites, blogs, bookmarking sites, photo sites, sharing tools, audio and video tools and some even more advanced tools that are used in conjunction with one another to have a robust social media experience.
I definitely recommend reading the full article:

There's More to Social Media than Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Quickly Do You Respond?

How quickly do you respond to voice mail, email, and social media messages?
  • Does it depend on the message?
  • Does it depend who sent the message?
  • Does it depend on what's going on that day?
  • Is there a specific time in your schedule when you address messages?
  • Do you respond to these communications as quickly as you expect others to respond to you?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Simple Branding

I've been spending much of my time lately on brand management, and it reminds me of what I've always disliked about marketing.  Don't get me wrong: brand management is important, and failing to manage a brand appropriately can spell disaster.  But how do you go about managing your brand effectively?

According to wikipedia a brand is "the identity of a specific product, service, or business.  A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol,color combination or slogan."

It seems like there's a huge emphasis on brand design (the name, sign, symbol,color combination or slogan) and how to best display those image factors in a marketing campaign. 

Shouldn't most of the emphasis be placed on the first part of that definition?  A brand is a representation of a product, service, or business.  So if you want to improve your brand's image, why not focus on improving your business and the products and services it offers?

It's easy for businesses to get side tracked into making their brand look pretty, but while that type of branding might attract new business, you won't be able to keep that business if you can't deliver products and services that customers care about.

Any thoughts on this from others with differing insights into branding?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Interruption Marketing

Monday's post about Curing The Social Media Blues generated some wonderful comments.  Unfortunately it also received a comment that was purely spam.  There was no attempt from the commenter to even pretend he was participating in the discussion.  The comment looked like this:
Free Unlimited Entertainment , Bargain Shopping, and Computer Learning Library.
1 Click Media bar
Our Free Gift to You
100% Free Super Entertainment System
100% Free Super Bargain Finder System
100% Free Computer Learning Videos
(hyperlink to cheesy website)

The comment was on a discussion thread in a LinkedIn group, so I personally couldn't remove the comment, but I did contact the group owner to let him know one of his members is a spammer.

What is the point of posting information about your product or service as a comment to another discussion?  I certainly don't mind when readers who make a valid comment include a link to their website or blog (in fact I like that it helps me connect to my readers), but this was pretty lame.  There's no way he generates any business this way.

Looking on the bright side, this is a rare occurrence.  Most of the feedback I get on my blog (or LinkedIn discussions,, or Twitter) have been great.  Thank you to everyone else who has added something positive to the conversations!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Which Smartphone is Better for Business?

There's a great article on that compares the upcoming iPhone 4's operating system, IOS4, with Android 2.2 to see which mobile OS is better suited for business users.  The quick comparison:
  • Email: IOS4 
    • Apps: draw
    • Flash: Android 2.2
    • Hotspot: Android 2.2
    • Availability- IOS4
    • Diversity: Android 2.2
    • Management Tools: IOS4
    Looks like it really depends on which tools are more important to you.  Be sure to check out the full article for a more detailed breakdown:  IOS4 v. Android 2.2: Which is Better for Business?

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Curing The Social Media Blues

    Friday I wrote a post about how frustrating it can be to find time for blogging (or social media in general) when other time pressures seem overwhelming.  I'm thrilled at the great responses I got, and I'd like to share a few of my favorite tips that I received from readers:
    • set aside a block of time and write several blog posts at once 
    • keeping blogs short and breaking a topic up over several days
    • Automate and schedule using tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite
    • invite guest bloggers to contribute to the blogging
    • take an occasional break, but be careful that the brand doesn't suffer
    • hire someone to manage social media and/or ghostwrite blog posts
    • focus on working smart rather than working hard
    Thank you to everyone who commented.  I appreciate the feedback, and it gave me several great ideas for ways to adjust my blogging & social media approach.   More importantly, the interaction reminded me why I love blogging in the first place!

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Social Media Blues

    It's been really difficult to find time to blog for the last few weeks, and I have a feeling it's going to get worse before it gets better.  I'm taking a couple of evening classes that have turned out to be more time consuming than I expected, plus I've taken on a slightly larger role at work.  Add in a little time for exercise (including the mountain bike I bought recently), and a very little time for relaxation, and I'm spent!  I definitely enjoy blogging, especially when inspiration strikes, but lately it seems like I've been rushing through it so I can move on to the many other things I need to accomplish. 

    Really I've been having the same problem with all of my social media.  It was fun when it was shiny and new, but there are days and even weeks when it's hard to keep up.  I recently removed a few blogs from my reader in an effort to stay current on others.  My communications on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have slowed to a crawl as well.  I'm hopeful that at the end of the month my schedule will lighten up for awhile (I have 9 weeks off of classes!), but I'm not sure what to do until then.

    Has anyone else had this problem?  How do you approach it?  Do you continue trying to keep up to date on social media, or is it better to take a break once in awhile?

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Web-Based Music Becomes Social

    I just read a great article on about the push to combine internet radio with some elements of social networking.  Companies like Microsoft and Google, as well as the founders of Skype, have all thrown their hats into the rind with their own unique offerings.

    I'm not entirely sure what the social aspects of this are yet, but we should see fairly soon.  If this catches on (and I think it will) this could easily be the extra push that the music industry needs to become a primarily digital medium.

    Feel free to check the full article out here: New Web Services Put Music in the Cloud