When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred in April, 2013, the Boston Police Department was prepared and ready for the opportunities presented by social media.

Boston PD entered the conversation immediately because they knew chatter about the investigation would happen with or without them.

False rumors were spreading across the web about an arrest being made. The Boston PD clarified this with a tweet that was retweeted over 11,000 times.

They were able to do this because they were prepared ahead of time. Click here to learn more about their preparation.

Are you ready to handle false rumors when they hit your business in a time of crisis.

Connect your websites to your social media. Your should have a link to your Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools on your primary websites. Your website designer and developer can place a logo for each service and link it to your social media page.

This is a great way to keep your current clients better connected with your existing means of communication. It is also a great way to show potential clients how you can keep them updated on your business and how they can participate.

No doubt about it, social media is a powerful technology. Two billion people are already online. E-commerce sales are $8 trillion a year. Its greatest virtue is that it breaks down the barriers between companies and their customers. Companies can find out what their customers think of them through their tweets and respond quickly. All this information is wonderful if companies can interpret it. Workers are already over loaded and often can’t make sense of the data they are being fed. And that data deluge is expected to grow more than 40 times by 2020.

So what does this mean for the already overstressed small business man? A problem could arise if most of the tweets and other comments come from mostly angry customers. It would be easy to pacify these while neglecting the average customer, the non-customer (the biggest source of possible growth) and the elderly who seldom tweet.

The trick will be in using this technology to the best advantage by extracting useful information from it. It can provide great opportunities, but can also bring problems. Businesses will need better filters, editors and social media managers to help them with the flood of data. We can help you with some of this. Give us a call.

Search Engine Optimization experts rely heavily on links, volumes of content and old domains. But the times they are a-changing. Social signals from Facebook Likes and tweets, are affecting rankings in the biggies like Google. They are finding social media sources provide great benefits to users and provide more trusted signals, and they admit to experimenting with the appropriate adjustments.

The main goal of search engines is to help people find what they’re looking for. To do this, the search engines developed a complex algorithm measuring websites voting for others by linking to them. If your website had lots of links, you climbed the ranking ladder. There were other factors of course, like keywords in titles, and the game changed constantly, keeping the poor old SEO experts sweating. But ‘links’ was the main name of the game. Website owners worked to adhere to Google’s standards to prove their sites had quality content by making sure they had plenty of links to good sites (although shadier sites tried to trick the secret formula without creating useful information, opening the way increasingly for spammers and irrelevant content).

This ranking method was great for the websites, but what about for the people who were searching? This is where social media is playing a role to make results better. Today, people share 30 billion pieces of content on Facebook and over 5 Billion tweets…per month. People are sending signals to search engines now with clicks, bookmarks, tags and ratings, and the search engines have figured out that if people share your content, it’s probably good.

Searches have better results when the algorithms are picking up on the opinions of people. So the lesson to be learned here for small businesses striving to get better rankings in the search engines is to put quality content on their websites so people will share it on their Facebook and  Twitter accounts and get those customers clicking the Like, bookmark and tag  buttons for all their worth.

 

 

 

Here is a neat story about the activity now on Facebook. It is getting over 1 trillion hits per month. Go to: http://fbupdates.com/2011/11/facebook-hits-a-trillion-pageviews-per-month/ for the story.

 

The big well-known social networking sites are great for  reaching a broad market and for reaching your friends and relatives. But there are more and more options open to the small business person these days. Many of  these are focused on your industry or neighborhood. Perhaps they don’t reach  millions, but sometimes it’s better to reach 20 people if they’re the right  people than reaching 2000 of a friend’s aunt’s bridge group’s circle.

Take the site Flickr, for example (www.flickr.com). Share your family photos by  all means, but if you’re a professional photographer you can use this site to  build a network of your peers and find people who are interested in your work.

The big sites are valuable and fun, but they are not always  the best way to reach those who can benefit your company. The point here is to  explore all your options, or combine them to get the best results possible for  your business. Check with others in your line of work or get on the Internet  and do some searching. You’ll be amazed at how many business-specific sites  there are out there steadily building communities for a great variety of  professions, organizations and companies.

And if you use these opportunities for social networking,  remember it’s your business on the line out there. Commit to it, be reliable,  and more than anything, follow up. Those new customers are out there waiting for you.

 

Confusion reigns in the world of workplace social media concerning online criticism of the workplace. How far can an employee go in complaining about his or her work conditions, the boss, fellow workers, cafeteria food, etc? And how much should an employer tolerate? And where does the law draw the line?

There have been many complaints to the National Labor Relations Board of late about how far businesses can go as far as their social media policies are concerned. Most social media policies that are presented to the Board are overly broad, according to a Board spokesman. These policies say you can’t criticize or disparage the company in any way on social media. However, that is not true under the law. The Board says federal law permits employees to talk with co-workers about their jobs and working conditions without reprisal—whether that takes place around the water cooler or on Facebook or Twitter.

There needs to be more open communication between corporations and employees concerning company policy on social media to avoid running afoul of the law.

September 2011 made by Facebook

So you’ve done everything “they” told you to do. You created a website and a blog site. You gather new information for your blog every week,  write it up and post it to keep the site fresh and interesting. But no one seems to know you’re there. You Google your site and scroll through 10 pages without finding even a mention. And then it dawns on you. The missing link is SEO: Search Engine Optimization. You’ve heard of it and all those fancy algorithms that make it up, but there’s no way you have time for any more of this stuff. We can hear you now. We’ve studied this “stuff” and can get you rankings that will generate traffic and get you customers that are looking for your goods and services. We’ll also write your blogs and link you to Facebook and Twitter. Give us a call. We’ll make sure everyone can hear you now.

If your business isn’t a Social (Media) Butterfly, flying from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube to LinkedIn and so on, it’s time to get out of that chrysalis and test those wings.

Perhaps you’re still a little skeptical about the value of Social Media. Some people were skeptical about computers, a technology that is now considered the norm. Think about this: If you want to tell your customers about a new product, remember that one little tweet can reach thousands. Want customer feedback without all the rigmarole of a survey? Get a presence on Facebook and read all the comments. Want to retain customers? Respond to their tweets and posts. Want to show how great your product is? Post a video on YouTube. Want to recruit highly qualified employees? Create a LinkedIn account.

Let us help you become a Social (Media) Butterfly. We’ll set up your flight path and soon have you flying high above the competition.