Social Media Catalyst

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Web Influence

Why social networking sites have become so famous?

Daksh: I was wondering as to the reason for people to use these sites and what do they do for so long on social networks, the biggest discovery happened? Pictures, bingo. People just love to look at pictures. That’s the killer application of all online social networks. Seventy percent of all actions are related to viewing pictures or viewing other people’s profiles.” Why the popularity of photos? People who post pictures of themselves can show they are having fun and are popular without having to boast

Moksh: Another draw of photos (and of Social Network sites in general) is that they enable a form of voyeurism. In real life there is a strong norm against prying into other people’s lives. But online enables “a very delicate way for me to pry into your life without really prying”

Daksh: yes, also I found out that there are radical differences in gender use of sites. The biggest usage categories are men looking at women they don’t know, followed by men looking at women they do know. Women look at other women they know. Overall, women receive two-thirds of all page views.

Moksh: This seems to be a real big surprise: A lot of guys in relationships are looking at women they don’t know. This is true more in western world than conservative Asia. It’s an easy way to see if anyone might be a better match. Online networks act as cover.

Daksh: Social networking gives access to people who you would find difficult to meet on a very frequent basis. Moreover the geographical barriers and we get to know the various things happening with your friends and acquaintances in their daily life.

Moksh: A very different question is raised by my friends. Does social networking reduce the interpersonal skills of children who prefer interacting with friends online than in person? I completely disagree to the same. It is a new form of communication and it changes with times. There are pros and cons to it and it is as yet a grey area which will be explored in times to come.

SEO Measurable parameters part 2:

Let us have a look at the keyword research and analysis phase, the performance parameters of the keyword w.r.t the website traffic.

Once you have finalized your SEO service provider, you need to understand your requirement including the target audience for your website, objective etc. Based on this there will be an in-depth audit that will take place in your website for which the measurable parameters is discussed in the earlier part but implementing the suggestions put-forth by the provider depends on the package/agreement that you have with the service provider. The next phase in the process is the keyword research and analysis and their measurable parameters:

Keyword Research and Analysis: The success of a SEO process depends on the keywords targeted for the website which is the single most important process in driving the right audience to the website through SEO. During this process the provider will first finalize on the pages to be targeted after which they would work on the possible combination of the keyword phrases that can be targeted for the pages. Once it has been finalized, it will be sent for your review and make sure you analyze the keywords suggested using the below tools,

Google Keyword Tool – Make sure you insert the list of keywords provided to find its,
• Local Search Volume
• Global Monthly Search Volume
• Search Volume Trends
• Highest Volume Occurred (month)

These details will give you an idea about the keyword and its effectiveness. In addition to the above details, the tool would suggest various other alternate keywords which might also be considered.

Google Insights: With this tool you can find the search volume patter across specific regions, categories, time frame and properties. You have options to filter based on the search engine, year, location and category.

The above tools will give you some info about the list of keywords targeted in the process however in addition to the above the SEO provider will be using various other tools and would do an in-depth analysis on the keywords used by your competitors. It is always a good practice to coordinate with the SEO provider and do a complete round of review on the keywords until you are satisfied but make sure that you don’t command them instead listen to what they say and decide.

The most important factor here is prior to the process ensuring that you provide your complete requirement with all detailed information.

Website Audit: SEO Measurable Parameters – Part 1

Converting a lead is never an easy job for the sales person in any industry with no 100% guaranteed results and even if you guarantee people will come up with a link saying that “No one can guarantee results” how come you? But still the industry is getting more and more clients with great potential. If you are thinking of an industry that would best match with above phrases, yes you are right it is SEO industry.

The first process that most of the SEOs would do is carry out a simple audit in the website to understand its indexing status, link popularity, traffic stats, rank etc.
Once the above process is completed an in-depth analysis will be carried out in the website. This is a list of suggestions to make the website search engine friendly.

Website Design: An effective SEO audit would start with analyzing the website design to find whether the design is search engine friendly i.e.: all the links, content, images etc are search engine crawlable.

URL Structure: The process starts from identifying the canonicalisation in the website. Then this would lead to the URL structure analysis to find whether the website URL is search engine friendly. If this is not the case, we need to make sure that we optimize the URL structure targeting the keywords.

Niche Specific: The advanced audit process includes analyzing the products displayed in an ecommerce website. This includes competitive analysis in pricing, products, coupons and more. This tends to vary based on the website niche and target. A detailed product audit includes the analysis on the navigation path, images, content, pricing, reviews etc. In case of a travel website this would vary to analysis over a booking process etc. These suggestions are vital which play a major role in the website conversion.

The above details are some of the examples how an SEO based website audit will be carried out. This is mainly focused to ensure,
• Search Engine Friendliness
• Conversion Rate Improvement

These points will go a long way in ensuring that the SEO campaign is successful.

Points to be considered before determining the SEO Strategy:

Steps to help you in preparing the SEO strategy for the website or in the process of preparing proposal for the SEO works

Age of the domain: The first process is to determine the age of the domain and document it. The domain age is a factor that Google search engine uses to determine the trust of a domain.

Index Status: Checking the index status of a website will in help you better understand the website visibility in search engines. Make sure to check the website index status in Google, Yahoo and Live and document the number of pages indexed in each search engines.

Backlinks: Find the number of inbound links for the website in Google and Yahoo. Further I would suggest analyzing the backlinks to understand if it is through active or passive link building.

IP Neighbors: Check out the website neighbors using the reverse IP lookup and make sure that it doesn’t have any bad neighbors. If the website has a dedicated IP then this shouldn’t be an issue.

Blacklist IP: It is important to ensure that the IP of the website is not blacklisted in anti-spam databases. If so I would suggest contacting the host to find out the possible reason and requesting them for an alternate

Canonicalization: Canonicalization is the process of picking up the right URL for a website. Technically search engines treat it differently. In the site analysis process it is important that you check the alternate URLs for the website and ensure that your website has single persistent URL.

Alternate URLs: Webmasters/Site owners have a habit of booking multiple URLs/domain extensions for their website. If all these points to the main website then it would result in website duplication. Make sure you identify all the alternate versions and redirect them to the main website.

Search Engine cache: The cache version of a website will give more information on the website. Check the text only version of Google cache of the website homepage which will let you know critical information on the links from the homepage, content in the homepage which can be crawled. This will help on design, navigation and usability analysis.

Black hat: In this process make sure you analyze thoroughly to ensure that the website doesn’t implement any black hat techniques like cloaking, hidden text etc.

Traffic Estimation: A rough traffic estimation on the website that you are about to optimize will let you know information on the number of visitors that the website drives in before you start with your process. Further MSN audience intelligence tool will be handy.

Tips to succeed in long term in Social Media:

Building a social media presence is much more a marathon than a sprint. There’s plenty of content to develop, place and promote, and there are lots of relationships to build. The social media marathon requires commitment, persistence and lots of patience, the type of mental endurance needed to complete a 42 km race.
Commit to do whatever is necessary to succeed, and pace you, so that you don’t injure yourself or get burned out during the process. This principle is behind most great achievements.

“Start off slow and taper down.” Bob’s mantra counters our natural tendency to come “out of the gate” at full speed and keep running — our human egos at work. How does all this translate into long-term social media success?

Here are seven ideas to help you develop the mindset of a marathoner:

1. Make a serious commitment to do whatever is required to attain your social media or web marketing goals. This is an absolute prerequisite.

2. Get yourself a mentor. As I now like to say, “The ultimate shortcut is doing it right the first time.”

3. Don’t wait until the conditions are perfect for launching your campaign. I’ll always remember what some one said, “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going”.

4. Join one business networking site at a time and take the time to master it. Social networking sites can be intimidating at first. Learn a new feature, practice it, and go on to the next.

5. Start out blogging once a week. It’s hard to begin, especially if, like me, you’re not a professional writer. You can increase your posting frequency later.

6. Realize that there’s a steep social media learning curve. Do not quit. So many people join Twitter or Facebook or begin blogging and quit shortly thereafter.

7. Don’t forget about the “social” in social media. Get to know a lot of people and have a blast!

How is social networking advertisement targeted?

Sites focused on shared interests allow advertisers to better target their messages.

HIGHER COSTS

According to itLinkz figures, advertisers are paying more each time their ads are viewed on his site than on more general social networks. Advertisers are paying double-digit figures for every 1,000 times their ad is viewed. MySpace‘s average charge per 1,000 views is considerably less than $1, according to an August eMarketer study citing press reports. The only question is: How can I get more ad inventory and can I lock that rate in for a year?
The other aspect fueling targeted sites is privacy. Some users are wary of posting on the larger sites because they don’t want their boss, a college admissions officer, or relative finding pictures or posts they would rather keep for friends’ eyes only. Because they reach smaller audiences, targeted sites have less exposure than a major online destination such as MySpace.

PRIVACY TOOLS

Social networks are also satisfying this need by providing tools that allow users to select who sees content. The big networks, such as MySpace, have adopted limited privacy controls. (MySpace, for example, allows users to keep their entire profile private.) However, the newer social networking tools and platforms such as Vox have more targeted controls, allowing users to choose who in their vast network sees particular information.

Adesso Systems, which creates business and consumer Web applications, has built a “Tubes” networking and document sharing platform. The downloadable software allows users to segment their social network into as many groups as they want and then send information or files only to that group. For example, a user could have a Tubes toolbar on their computer with a folder for family, a folder for friends, a folder for a specific group of close co-workers, and then another folder for view by everyone in the office. When someone wants to share a photo, document, e-mail or other file with the group, he or she just drags it into the respective tube.

Uses of business networking sites in getting jobs:

Business networking sites allow you to get in touch with high-end executives and business professionals. It is often noticed that many times jobs are not advertised. They are filled in through recommendation and referrals. Business networking sites allow you to get in touch with people who are directly involved in the decision making process. Many business-networking sites allow one to paste profile and get connected to people who share the same skill or who are employed in the same profession. These connections can be successfully harnessed to get a job.

Networking also helps one stay in tune with the demands of the industry. For e.g. you are software engineers, currently working on software testing. You are a member of a social and business-networking site. A high school friend of yours, [with whom you got reconnected through a social networking site] who is also a recruitment consultant informs you that nowadays the focus has started shifting to Oracle or Java. An IT expert in your business-networking site confirms this fact. Now, you can start upgrading your skill set, so that you can get a bigger pay packet.

Many networking sites also offer offline events. Attending such events is a good way to create new relationships with people who can help you in further career advancements. Networking sites also give an opportunity to contact people who can answer career related queries.

Some networking sites also give opportunity for people to write endorsements about those with whom they have worked. This recommendation can be used for getting better job opportunities. Also there are many business-networking sites that focus on a particular field, industry or profession. Making connections with people who are from the same industry or profession allows one to remain aware of the latest job vacancies; trends and changes taking place in the job market that will help to steal march over others. This is because online networking lets one foster relationship with innumerable people and who can say, when one of them will help us strike a goldmine?

New tools of Marketing:

Social Networking sites are new tool of marketing that has gained its popularity in last couple of years. This new concept is considered as very effective tool for capturing marketing leads. It has emerged as one of the most significant tools that provide a platform where you can network and gain new customers. This newest form of advertising online has become a must for any business who wishes to market their product or service over the internet.

Today, many local and international companies are using this common tool to create their own customized profiles on social media sites, and then add potential customers and business contacts as friends. Making friends and connecting with a targeted demographic play an important role in social networking. In fact this simple practice of making friends has been the key factor to bring success in different social media sites. Unquestionably, the potential growth of advertising your product or service is unlimited when you utilize social networking sites.

A social network websites primarily focuses on creating online community of people who share common interests and activities. Since this tool is internet based, it provides different ways for users to interact, such as instant messaging and e-mail services. As a result, it has created new ways to communicate and share information. Indeed, social networking has become a favorite place to advertise your business for free. So, if you are one of those who is planning to advertise your product or service, these are simple ways that can help you utilize social networking sites more effectively-

Social media channels:

Social Media channels are by no means totally different or even totally new. The term “social tools” was coined in 1999. It’s been a decade now. Yet the number of people in the world who still have no idea about blogging is staggering. Surprisingly or not, not every advertising/marketing professional has a blog. This makes me wonder how well the industry itself understands the benefits of Social Media.

If they don’t know or use even the oldest Social Media channels, how are they supposed to understand and use channels that were established recently but that draw on the same principles as other social tools?

Social media presents many new possibilities for conducting business. Sticking with your metaphor, the interim challenge is consistently proving that planes yield enough value for the Army in order for people to even realize the need (and then pay for) an Air Force. That’s happening as understanding of influencer value, social media Web metrics, etc. progresses but for many companies that’s still a leap.

What will be more apparent for companies soon if it’s not already is immediate value – even as measured by ‘traditional’ metrics – for functions like customer service, R&D and sales.

Marketers need to take the hint social media provides, and look at marketing holistically. Yes, this is an old concept, but if we look at marketing from a POV where customer interaction is as important as customer satisfaction, we may just start to make some progress. The best companies are doing this.

Social Media Isn’t Living Up to its Hype?

Innovation is the bulwark of growth. It increases the standard of living for all concerned. However initially when presented with a new technology, people tend to use that innovation to do existing jobs more effectively. Brand building is no different. As social media gains momentum, brand communicators are experimenting carte blanche with these new technologies and connections to get their jobs done, typically coming at it from an advertising, interactive or PR perspective.

If social media and its inherent benefits are indeed so revolutionary, so potentially game-changing why is it that it is taking time for people to figure out how to best use them? More fundamentally, organizational silos and constraints limit its potential to brand-building exercises.

A historical analogy brings this issue to life. When airplanes began flying 100 years ago, they came under the purview of the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps. As guns and artillery went airborne in World War I, the Army controlled the aircraft. The military brass saw this innovation as means to help move soldiers forward by attacking enemy lines. Thus, aircraft grew in stature as a tactical tool for Army purposes.

This is a perfect metaphor for the current state of innovation with marketing and PR team thinking. The pace of functional change isn’t keeping pace with the unprecedented social shifts disrupting media and consumer behaviors and the possibilities that come with it.

We regularly see brand teams struggling to incorporate social strategies into their specific function and worldview. They’re confused over whom to turn to for help with a glut of new-media experts, or how to value the merits of ideas. They aren’t necessarily structured to take advantage of programs in play and can’t, for example, route customer comments through social sites to customer service or R&D. And they’re struggling with how to design and execute campaigns inline with the media habits and behaviors of people they’re trying to reach.

The value of social-media acumen and inline thinking will skyrocket in stature as rapidly developing capabilities grow. But to realize the value, new practices shouldn’t necessarily follow the exclusive lead of advertising, interactive or PR in its mission. Teams should be organized to exploit possibilities for making new contributions in a way that lets people in and where possible, lets people do the marketing for them. This goes beyond one-off UGC campaigns and Twitter accounts. It’s about committing to a new design for social business and communications.

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