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Are You Being Sociable?

Social networking sites are a great way to encourage maximum online exposure for a minimum cost. We all know that we should be using social networking to help boost business but who actually knows why it can help?

When the topic of social media and social networking sites are brought up when talking to my clients, Im often met with a groan and roll of the eyes. Not because my clients dont know what theyre doing, or dont particularly fancy doing it today, but they dont understand why its important. So here it is, in a nutshell, why social networking is good and why it should be on your top priority list.

The internet is a marvelous tool. How often do you find yourself looking something up on it? But how do you get your website listed on there?

Search engines find information by crawling the internet looking for the phrase or words that you have searched for. Google determines the importance and relevance of the information/website that it finds by reviewing the amount of website links it has to it. This is the crucial bit. You can help increase the links back to your website by using social networking sites. Using social networking sites for business is a free way to optimise your search engine rankings (SEO). Another critical point to remember is that Google searches for up to date information, so updating your networking pages is crucial. Google looks at out of date pages and sees that no one is using or visiting them and therefore thinks that it is not relevant, resulting in a low ranking position.

Facebook and Twitter are great places to start, as with most social networking sites they are free to join and Google already uses this as an information source. When starting your social networking, it is important to remember that these are business pages and will represent the company, therefore choose a member of trusted staff to keep it up to date. It is not a bad idea to set guidelines about the type of information you want on there. Keep updates relevant, no one cares what the marketing department had for lunch (unless of course you work in a restaurant!). Keep updates just that, up to date. If youre worried that all this networking is going to take to much time you neednt worry. There are tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck that connect Facebook, Twitter etc so that you need only post the update once, it will automatically put them out to the rest of your social pages. Easy.

Dos and Donts:

Dont forget to write a profile about yourself and use it on all of your social networking pages, this will help identify the company.

Dont be tempted to use an automatic updating service, this is normally provided by an external company who can tend to spam by posting irrelevant links, which wont go down well with your followers or Google.

Do post photos and news about the company & staff, your followers/customers like to put names to faces as it makes it more personal.

Dont post something every five minutes, an update once or twice a day is plenty. Think quality not quantity.

Dont be tempted to post negative things about clients, even if you dont name names its pretty obvious!

Do try and interact with others. By answering peoples questions or putting a kind comment on their photo it makes the company more real and more likeable.

Do tell your customers/clients that you have social networking pages and encourage them to follow you. Perhaps announce it in a e-newsletter and provide links to each of them on your website.

There is a lot more to search engine optimisation then just social networking, however it is a quick and easy, good, inexpensive place to start.

If you still feel a bit overwhelmed by it all dont panic. Help is at hand. At Alpha we have a social networking expert who is on-hand to point you in the right direction. So if you need help just ask, or tweet us, or message us....

Alpha Design & Marketing

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