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Archive for August, 2011

Sharing Changes To Fend Off Google+

I recently wrote a post on Google+ and its features. I specifically commented on the Circles feature, which allows you to easily share posts with specific groups of people, meaning I can share an article on running with my runner friends, and one on social media with my marketing friends, without sharing photos of a family holiday with everyone. This was a great feature and one I had said Facebook had been missing out on.

But Facebook heard us and has made a change…

Now posting different status messages to different groups of friends can be done quickly and easily with the click of a button.

However, it’s still not as good as Google+ Circles….yet…

In the new Facebook set up you can post  messages to Public, Friends, Friends of Friends or else specific people. So not quite the same as dragging-and-dropping all your friends into different circles and being able to post specifically to them. With Facebook you will still need to type in each friend’s name individually in order to post to a particular subset of peeople.

But I don’t doubt that Facebook will make further changes to make it easier for us to create and share with different friend groups.

If Facebook implements the great features of Google+ it will be harder for Google+ to lure users away – most people already have all their friends on Facebook, so it’s easier to stay there than move away.

Places Changes To Keep Pace with Twitter

Facebook has also updated its Places feature.

Now instead of going into Places for a separate ‘check-in with message’, you can use the normal status posts to add a location to your message – similar to what Twitter have been offering for a while.

Again this is easy to use, and is built straight into the status update bar.

The iPhone app does not yet appear to have been updated to keep inline with the new web version, with Places still showing separately. However no doubt an update will be rolled out soon.

Facebook Video On The Changes

 

With new features constantly being rolled out on all fronts, the battle of the social networks continues, will you pick a side? or embrace them all?

 

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I recently published a guest post with the Ireland-based, blogging community, Bloggertone, on the important steps to take after you have published a new post on your blog. Below is a slightly updated version of the article, to include recent developments and new information.

4 Important Steps To Take After You’ve Published A Blog PostYou’ve just written a blog post and it’s absolutely perfect; beautifully written content that has the ideal balance of valuable information with easy-to-read conversational language, not to mention those catchy headlines and witty imagery. People should be lining up to read this post, and share it with their friends and colleagues … but how to make that happen? How do you ensure that once you press publish your content will get found and spread by others?

1. Before You Hit Publish

Remember that perfectly written post? Did you include keywords? Do a quick keyword search on Google to see what words people are using to find content like yours. Then go back and make sure that those keywords are included in the main content, the headings, the page title and the image titles. All this will help your post get found organically through the search engines.

2. Syndication

Ensure you have an RSS feed set up for your blog. This will allow people who use RSS feed readers, such as Google Reader, get your content automatically the minute you hit publish.

3. Email List

Allow people to sign up for your blog via email (not everyone uses RSS readers so this is still an important option). Once you have a mailing list many blogs will allow you set up an automated email to go out to your list, advising them that a new post has been published. If you can’t do this automatically just send a quick email to your list manually, the blog title and a link to the page is plenty, although you can include the opening paragraph with the tantilising ‘read more…’ as well.

So you’ve got the keywords, the RSS feed and the email list. That means the post will get indexed by Google and your existing readers will be notified immediately once you publish.

But what about sharing on social media?

This is a huge part of the process, and I have, both personally and professional, seen massive changes to visit counts as a result of social media activity.

4. Social Media Sharing

As with sending an email, it is possible to set up a post to automatically publish out to your various Social Media accounts, however I caution against this. While it takes some of the effort out, people do interact with social media differently and at different times. Research has shown that blogs published in the morning get the highest traffic, however blogs posted on social media in the afternoon get shared the most, with the peak being around 4pm.

So ideally, you would publish your post in the morning, all your current readers will get it via email / rss, and then you would head over to your social media sites later on in the day and share it with your followers / fans there.

On Twitter you should aim to share a link to your blog post several times, as this medium moves fast, followers who log on an hour after you’ve tweeted may not see it. Make sure to use different taglines each time you tweet, this allows you see what works best at grabbing people’s attention (and also avoids the wrath of Twitter who frown on the same tweet being repeated ad nauseam). Be sure also to use a url shortener such as bit.ly or ow.ly, as this gives you more of those precious 140 characters to play with, and also provides you with great analytics such as how many clicks, and from what countries – valuable information for future targeting.

On LinkedIn you can share your post via your status message, but you should also seek to become involved in different groups. Check out what groups there are that might be relevant to you. 81% of LinkedIn’s 100 million members are part of at least one of the over 800,000 groups available (the maximum number of groups a member can join is 50). Join groups and then be sure to share your blog post with each group. This can result, not only in massively increased traffic, but also in some very interesting dialogue with like-minded members. LinkedIn have a great learning centre where you can learn more about groups.

On Facebook you can again share your post, however Facebook has a less frantic pace than Twitter, so sharing the post once is sufficient. Depending on your audience this could result in great engagement with your fans, as well as driving traffic to your site.

On Goolge+ you have the option to share your post with specific circles (learn more about circles). Make sure to share your post only with those who will find the content to be of interest and / or of value – this is much better than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Again this is a slower paced platform, so sharing once is enough.

Make sure as well to have social sharing buttons on your blog so that anyone who comes across your post can share it with their own networks, thereby driving even more visitors to you!

It’s Worth It

While all of this might seem like a lot of effort, once you’ve done it a few times it will become second nature, and it will become quicker. It will also result in your post getting a LOT more traffic.

Isn’t it worth the bit of extra effort to ensure that your perfectly polished post doesn’t languish forgotten and alone in the internet ether?

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Increase Website Traffic by 30% With LinkedInCurrently there is a lot of dialogue regarding Google+ and how it compares to Facebook and Twitter, implying that these 3 are the social network Titans.

But What About LinkedIn?

In June 2011 LinkedIn became the number 2 social network in the US, with 33.9 million visitors that month, up 63% on June 2010 (Facebook had 160.9 million US visitors and Twitter 30.6 million the same month).

As of 4 August 2011 LinkedIn had over 120 million members worldwide; with 26 million of those based in Europe. All 2011 Fortune 500 companies have executives on LinkedIn and 75 of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn’s hiring solutions.

While Google+ is growing rapidly and the rankings are likely to shift in the coming months there is no denying that LinkedIn is a popular networking site for professionals, and especially for B2B companies.

But What About Sharing?

On 30th November 2010 LinkedIn announced their ‘share button’ which, when added to a webpage, allowed readers to easily share that content to their LinkedIn profile and/or LinkedIn groups. Many business oriented sites added the button quickly, including Forbes and Bloomberg, and others slowly added it in the following months.

By day I look after online communications for an Ireland-based, B2B professional services company and in April of this year I added the LinkedIn share button to the company blog, and started our senior managers actively sharing company content on LinkedIn.

The Result?

A 30% jump in traffic over the same period in 2010, purely from LinkedIn!

And, people were not only reading and sharing content, but sticking around to learn more about the company, and complete online forms – meaning not only are we seeing a huge jump in traffic, but we are also generating more inbound leads!

LinkedIn A Superstar For B2B

Of course, not all companies are guaranteed to see this kind of result, it will depend on a number of factors, including the industry.

But what if you did see this kind of result? Or an even better one? Isn’t it worth trying?

Add the LinkedIn share button today, it can’t hurt, and it could be the best decision you make in 2011 for website traffic…

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