Dawn At Your Service’s Blog

How Social Media has Helped my Business

A friend of mine asked if Facebook has helped my business. I get this question a lot and being a fan of “re-purposing” for blog entries, I thought I’d share my response.

Facebook has absolutely helped my VA business! Actually, the way I have it set up is my Twitter account feeds to Facebook (both are publicly indexed by the search engines if privacy settings are adjusted accordingly) and I spend most of my time on Twitter.  At the end of the day, social media is social media so I guess it doesn’t really matter where you spend your time as long as you’re participating. What I like about Twitter is it’s easier to follow a specific target audience and since I’m a chatterbox, I like the ability to chat back and forth with people.

A few ways social media helps my business:

  • Increased traffic to my website & blog – I always see a downward spiral when I’m not active.
  • Higher search engine results that are keyword specific – so when someone is searching for a VA that does say WordPress web design, by constantly posting working on a #wordpress web design, I’m more likely to return in search results.  And now that real-time search has come along, it provides an even greater advantage. (That number sign is a hashtag which is similar to a tag you would use in a blog when used in conjunction with a word to allow people to find specific keywords by search.) For more information on boosting search engine rankings by using Twitter, check out this article by Search Engine Land.
  • Turning business acquaintances into friends-I have SO many friends all over the world that I correspond with on Twitter. I love making new friends and growing relationships. I am a total people person. Eventually they are likely to be awesome referral sources (or turn into clients) and often valuable resources for things I need in MY business.
  • Credibility-Many leads gone clients tell me that they checked out my Facebook & Twitter account and were inpressed with my authenticity. It allows people to know me before they consider my services. If they don’t like what they see, I’m sure they move on which is my goal. Love me for who I am or leave. This has allowed me to attract like minded people so my clients & I get along great! Plus since I offer social media management as a service, if they like what they see, they’re more likely to contract me for social media management services.
  • Gained exposure-I am always profile building. Anytime I stumble across a quality social networking site, I build a profile. Nowadays, most social networks have an application for a twitter or facebook feed. So although I may not be able to participate on every social network, my profile is constantly updated and shown in a time-line allowing me gained visibility.
  • Lastly, All of your big names are on Twitter & Facebook. You can find industry related news & info, but what I love best is that if I’m ever stumped on something, I can throw a tweet out there and most of the times I get the answer to my twitter replies in minutes! It’s like a direct connection to a customer service agent. I love it!
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March 25, 2010 Posted by | Business Development, How To, Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) | , , , , | Leave a comment

Generating Blog Traffic

I often hear the questions, how do I get traffic to my blog and why would anyone care about what I have to say in a blog? I will get to the traffic portion in a moment. I don’t care who you are or what you write about, someone WILL read your blog. Obviously the more informative and valuable information you provide, the more readers you will gain. But there are WAY too many people around the world surfing the net with infinite interests to assume that no one will read your blog. In my opinion, it’s impossible.

As far as building traffic to your blog, I don’t have super high numbers, but I get traffic. The unique visitors to my blog range from 100-300 per month. Ultimately, that is my own fault for not posting more frequently. There is always a spike in traffic when a new post is generated. The truth is I dislike content writing greatly. I’m more of a talker. 🙂 But I continue to maintain a blog because it helps my potential clients get a feel for who I am and what my skill levels are. I have had excellent feedback from leads gone clients because they were able to feel my personality bleed through my words. To me, that’s invaluable! I’m attracting like minded people and probably deterring the others, which is exactly my goal.

I’m going to share the methods I use to build my blog traffic (outside of the large amount of traffic I get from the link to my blog from my About Me page on my business website). I find building blog traffic to be very similar to building traffic to a general website.

Signature-In my e-mail signature line there is a click-able link (with the http:// included) to my blog with a compelling tag line. For example, “Find free resources and valuable marketing tips”. I also include this same signature in any forum, group or social networking site that allows it in their terms of service.

Link Exchanges- As a result of online networking, I have met many wonderful people. I have been approached a few times from people who have found my blog insightful and were interested in link exchanges (putting each others’ links on each others’ blogs). If I like their blog then I accept. I frequently see traffic coming into my blog from their blogs. Perhaps I could be more proactive and seek out link exchanges more often, but I just don’t have the ask for something mentality.

Blog Directories- Just like website directories, there are a ton of blog directories. If you google “blog directory” you will get endless results. Submitting your blog to blog directories increases your backlinks and should bring in traffic. I get quite a bit of traffic from one specific directory, Blog Surfer. Blog Catalog & Technorati are pretty good too. Here is a link to a good post on the, “20 Essential Blog Directories to Submit Your Blog To” written by Loren Baker. Additionally, not that it is necessary because the search engines will index your blog anyway, but you can add your blog to Google’s Blog Directory. Bing and other search engines probably have the same thing.

Feeds-Many major networking sites have applications to feed your blog to your profile. My blog feeds through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and every other social networking site I have a profile at that allows it. I find this helpful because although I don’t participate in every networking site I belong to, my profiles are still updated with fresh blog posts/news. (Note: the hyperlinks above are to instructions on how to link your blog to those social networking sites.)

Pings-For networking sites that don’t have feed applications, you can set up a ping. A ping is like a messenger that lets sites you subscribe to know new content has been added. You can set up pings at Ping-o-matic or Ping.fm.

Search Engines-I get a fair amount of search engine traffic. My posts are all related to my industry, therefore my content is relevant and keyword rich for the audience I am trying to target. (Something the search engines love!)

Comment on other Blogs-I have found that when I surf through other WordPress blogs and comment, the blog authors usually visit my blog in return.

Good Content- I am going to touch on content once more before I close. Good content is key. Yes, I believe all blogs will get traffic. But if you want reader loyalty, provide informative information with a personal touch. Give freebies…trade secrets, reference guides and give viewers a reason to bookmark your blog. Be honest, sincere and true. Let people know the “who” behind the screen. It’s not all about the product or the service. It’s the “who” behind the product and/or service that sets us apart from our competitors. I really believe all and all, this is what blogging is all about!

For ideas on what to blog about, visit 10 Simple Ideas for Writing Blog Posts

December 16, 2009 Posted by | How To, Marketing | , , , , | 4 Comments

Illinois Virtual Assistants Connection

A few months ago I went to a meetup for Virtual Assistants in Illinois that was organized by Cindy Bruce of Essential Office Solutions through Virtual Assistant Forums. We had a fantastic time talking about how our businesses evolved, successes, failures, resources, client relations, challenges of working from home and how we could gain from our meetups.

Cindy Bruce, Kathleen Vargas of The Office Virtuoso, Kathy Watkins of Turnkey Virtual Assistance, Doreen Patrick of Virtual Business Partners and I decided to formally develop a professional networking Virtual Assistant Group named Illinois Virtual Assistants Connection (ILVAC for short). Our intent is to share knowledge and experiences at all levels of self-employment, educate each other of new resources, technology and best VA practices, build solid business relationships, as well as join together in collaborative efforts for referrals and project outsourcing. Of course we also want to have fun, fun, fun!

We’ve all put a lot of time and effort into building our group and are proud to say it’s steadily growing and we are getting great feedback. Members are enjoying our group, expanding their knowledge about the rapidly growing Virtual Assistant Industry and personally, I’ve learned something new at every meetup so far.

Illinois Virtual Assistants Connection has a lot of exciting things coming for the group. We are planning  a holiday party, Lunch-and-Learns, and our biggest baby of all…an ILVAC Conference for Spring! I have never planned a full fledged conference before. It is so exciting!

There are no profits involved for the ILVAC Core members other than the rewards we gain from building relationships and helping others.

If you’re a Virtual Assistant or aspiring VA residing in Illinois, please join us at Illinois Virtual Assistants Connection and become a part of our future success!

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Business Management, Business Operations, How To, Marketing, Work From Home | , , , , | Leave a comment

10 Simple Ideas for Writing Blog Posts

One of the things I struggled with most when beginning to blog was coming up with ideas for content. The pressure for an award winning and valuable post caused writers block and resistance. Then I began to tell myself, it’s just like writing an e-mail. I’m not getting graded and the value of each post is simply based on opinion.

The next issue  was to write about. Well, this turned out to be a lot easier than I had made it out to be. The options for blog content are limitless. Here are some simple ideas on writing tips for creating blog entry content:

Google top news-What’s going on in the world today? Find the latest news related to your industry or business in general and create a post with your 2 cents.
Search forums for frequently asked questions-If you know the answer to a frequently asked question, write a post about it and every time you see someone ask again in the future, direct them to your blog post. It can be something as simple as what’s your favorite e-mail host.
Write How Tos-This one is super easy! Not everyone is computer savvy. As a matter of fact, I have friends that don’t even know how to add an attachment to an e-mail! You can write about how to do ANYTHING from creating an excel spreadsheet, how to use sorting and formulas, how to scale images in photo manipulation software, how to use WordPress 🙂 etc… How Tos are probably the easiest solution when you’re not feeling very creative.
Story telling-Share experiences. We all have them daily, both good and bad. This is another endless opportunity for ideas. Discuss challenges, accomplishments and just plain old situations. Although your life may not seem interesting to you, it’s comforting for others to know they’re not alone despite the circumstances.
Ask Questions, Seek answers-We all run into uncertainties. We may not be sure what’s the best option for our clients, products or services. We may have conflicting ideas on policies, operational management or marketing. Write about it. Ask for insight. Try to engage your audience. You may not get any answers, but at least you tried. PLUS…you can get two blog posts out of it because later you can go back and discuss the solution you came up with. 😉
Summarize/Recap an Event-If you participate in a webinar, teleseminar, e-course, speaking or social networking event, take notes. Even if it’s information you already know, take notes anyway. Someone had that event for a reason. It was obviously worthy of your interest or you likely wouldn’t have attended. Then when it’s time to blog, you can use those notes as a guideline for your post.
Surveys-Surveys are interesting and can be used for just about any topic. If you’re like me and belong to WAY TOO MANY groups (LOL), take a poll. Post 5-10 questions to one (or more) of the groups you belong to about something you’re interested in (i.e. How do WAHMs schedule their days? How do you avoid distractions? Do you like working from home? Do you feel working outside the home would be easier?) Then create a blog post with the questions and percentage of answer results.
Resource Lists-Share your resources. We all have them in the web geek world. Posting valuable resources is an excellent way to gain blog traffic. If you provide good stuff, it’s very likely that post will be bookmarked and visited often. If you don’t think any of your resources stored in “favorites” are of value, think again. You can also search delicious bookmarks or if your a Twitter geek like me, there are valuable resources being posted all day long!
Reviews-Another endless source of ideas. Love it or hate it? Outlook, Yahoo Sitebuilder, WordPress, Blogger, Google Calendar, Coke or Pepsi? I think you get the jist.
Tips-Perfect example…this blog post. Share tips and ideas on how you’ve dealt with challenges or what helps you get through something a little easier.

August 4, 2009 Posted by | Marketing | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seeking Local Website Promotion Ideas

Different types of marketing work for different businesses. The table below lists the different types of tactics that I have, or currently practice in my virtual assistance business website and specialty directory of niche directories. My expertise is in increasing traffic and page rank. I also utilize these strategies for clients. This works well for an online business, but how effective is it for conversion when your target audience is local? What types of Internet Marketing or Website Promotion are effective strategies for something like a heating and air conditioning business or a painting company? Is it worth their time and effort or money to utilize these approaches? If not, where do you think they would see more bang for their buck?

Type: Purpose:
Article Marketing To build credibility, visibility & website traffic (people are naturally curious about the author), and increased back links.  A valuable article in a valuable directory is highly recognized by search engines.
Back linking (An external website that links to your website.) Search engines determine a website’s importance by the amount of “good” sites that link back to them. Posting comments on other blogs relevant to your website using a signature is a good way to increase back links.
Blogging To increase credibility, inform the readers about the person behind the business and their expertise. Fresh content is highly recognized by search engines. Informative and/or entertaining compositions attract people and increase traffic.
Directory Submissions-Major Directories To increases visibility, search engine recognition and website traffic.
Quality Directory Submissions-general & specialty directories To increase back links (Watch out for “spammy” directories.)
Forum Participation To build credibility, business relationships and back links (using a signature).
Micro-Blogging To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field.
Search Engine Optimization Add title tag, meta tags and modify content arrangement and keywords.
Social Bookmarking To gain quality back link(s), niche specific increased visibility (based on relevancy) and increase traffic. Works well for valuable blogs.
Social Networking Sites To gain exposure, announcement portal, build relationships and gain credibility as an expert in your field. Increases back links.
Press Releases To builds visibility and exposure. Generally feeds through news which is good for an SEO boost and temporarily increase web traffic. Increases back links.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Business Management, Marketing, Time Management | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Marketing Pie

I am a big fan of Fabienne Fredirickson and The Client Attraction System. She was my marketing inspiration at the birth of my business. Her model teaches to choose eight marketing strategies, start with a few and slowly integrate the additional strategies. Assess through trial and error what works best for your business. Ultimately this is a great plan. Unfortunately, I am one person running a micro-business with next to nothing for a marketing budget, let alone outsourcing. I am the business operations manager, bookkeeper, marketing director, web designer, client relations manager, janitor, supplies delivery person and being a service based business, I have services to deliver.

Being the rookie that I was, I followed Fabienne’s recommendation and chose eight pieces with the intent of starting off with a few. I started with forum participation, direct mail and website directory submissions. Before I knew it I was posting classifieds, article marketing, social networking and blogging.  I still have newsletters untouched. My eagerness led me to just about devour that pie in a year! I don’t think that is quite what she meant by starting with a few, assess the return and add more in. Perhaps I should have spent the money on the full program!

Needless to say, I have learned a very big lesson about marketing! Time is money! I need to focus on what I am best at that I can accomplish in the least amount of time, that will give me the most in return.

I am not a good writer. (SURPRISE!!!) It takes me a really long time to write. I struggle with translating my feelings into words. I always read, edit, reread, edit again and continue until I’m satisfied. This is the reason I don’t offer content writing as a service. (I offer a ton of services, buy copy is not one of them!) I don’t mind blogging because I feel it builds credibility and is worth my time for several reasons. I can be who I am and if I misspell a word, oops, I’m human and I make mistakes. I don’t feel pressured. I am honestly not trying to impress anyone here. I think it is very important for any potential clients to know who I truly am, what I believe in and what I’m knowledgeable about. I feel that being just who I am is valuable to other small business owners. I would hope that someone considering my services would be able to determine if we would be the right fit for each other by reading through my posts. It will save us both a lot of grief! With that being said, yes it is worth the 1-2 hours it takes me per post, per week. LOL

I am a total social butterfly. I make friends everywhere I go. My family finds it annoying  that I’ve befriended the Dunkin Doughnuts worker, the gas station clerk, lifeguards, etc. It’s who I am and who I’ve always been. I really believe that somewhere across my head it says, “tell me your life story” because sometimes strangers will just walk up to me and start telling me their life stories. I am a people magnet. Maybe because I listen, I respond and I care. This is the gift I’ve been blessed with.

After evaluating what I am good at and not so good at, I have discovered which marketing methods are most beneficial for me. Anything “social” is worth my time and I love it! I enjoy talking to other people, learning about them and their lives. I love learning about other cultures and ways of life in distant places. I find great reward in sharing knowledge and experiences. None of it feels like work and I am good at it. So I’m on a marketing pie diet (cheesy joke-sorry. lol). Until I can afford to outsource, I am cutting out the marketing strategies that deeply involve writing (excluding blogging) and focusing on anything that starts with “social”.

MARKETING TIP: If you’re a micro-business owner without a marketing budget, practice marketing tactics that are right for you. Don’t scatter yourself all over the board. Choose marketing stratagies that compliment your talents.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , , , | Leave a comment

Networking Turn Offs

Aggressively advertising on social networking sites, Twitter or at networking events is a total turn off to me. It doesn’t matter how much material is composed on this topic, many people simply don’t seem to care.

Social Networking Sites

I find great value in forums that have a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior. Some forums allow specific days to post announcements which I find to be a happy medium. We all like to share our current news and specials. But I have found too often people abuse direct messaging, especially on Facebook and ning sites.

As you can tell, I am pretty involved in social media networking. I’m a junkie; I’m not ashamed. 🙂  I utilize these portals as a way to establish business relationships, gain exposure and make new friends. If someone can use my services, that’s great. If not, a few good laughs is worth the time I put into it. I belong to numerous social networking sites. Seldom do I send friend requests unless the person intrigues me or is a fellow Virtual Assistant. I am pretty open to accepting new friends and connections unless their business is a Get Rich Quick Scheme. I always screen their profiles and try to determine if they are apparent spammers. If nothing stands out, I accept. But the moment I start getting hit with comments and/or direct messages of blatant advertising, that person is off my list. If I find forums where these activities are acceptable in posts, I rarely go back.

Twitter

Twitter is another example. It can be a good way to gain exposure, post announcements and have a little fun. But I really don’t have any interest in following people that ONLY post ads. If they don’t contribute knowledge, insight or engage in conversation I have no desire to follow their activity. I always prescreen Twitter profiles and their related websites before following. I also do a quick scan of their updates to make sure they are not all ads.

Nowadays, a lot of Virtual Assistants and marketing firms provide Social Media Management as a service (including myself). I totally get that it is very time consuming and see the benefits of outsourcing this aspect of business. But it’s important to make sure that whomever is handling this for you does more than just post ads if you want to reap the benefits. It has to come with a personalized touch. Why would someone want to follow you when it’s obvious your ad company is just posting ads, unless you are Adam Sandler? (I heart Adam Sandler :)) I received a notification today that Many Moore of Gossip Girls is now following me on Twitter. Yeah….OK….delete.

Social Networking Events

Most of us, with the exception of newbies know the etiquette of social networking events. We introduce ourselves, listen, chat, pass everyone a business card and sometimes eat and drink. During conversation we answer questions and offer knowledge on topics we are familiar with. I find networking events very enjoyable and a great excuse to sneak out of the house. What I don’t think is cool is coming across people who are like aggressive car salesmen. They make me feel like I’m on trial bombarding me with questions in their tactics of trying to sell me their product or service. It reminds me of being in my 20s and trying to escape a guy hitting on me at a bar. I look for any excuse to get away. Don’t people realize I have their card and all of their contact information. I heard their elevator pitch. If I need something they offer, I know where to find them. But if they are annoyingly pushy, I will toss their card right in the trash can.

As I mentioned, business cards are distributed to all event attendees. I know that this opens me up to being on marketing lists. It’s part of the deal and there is no way around it if I want to pass my cards out. Everyone has their own marketing methods and I can respect that. I don’t cold call or list build. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for other people. But it is not very nice or legal to spam me with ads without giving me the option to opt out. Nor is it nice to cold call me at 8pm. These type of tactics will ensure no business or referrals will ever come from me.

April 22, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Article Marketing

Recently, I have come across several inquiries regarding article marketing. Here is what I know.

Article marketing is used for building trust, credibility and recognition. Writing valuable and intriguing content will have your readers perceiving you as an expert in your field. Most people prefer to do business with knowledgeable and experienced professionals. Article marketing is a way to expose your brilliance.

At the end of your articles, it is important to always include an author resource box containing a link back to your website. An author resource box is a short 2-3 sentence description about you and/or your business. It should be sharp, professional and powerful.

High quality articles may be read and referenced on several other websites or blogs without you even knowing it. Article marketing generally has a viral effect. Think of it like a virus (but a good one :)) that spreads. Most article submission websites offer a reprint option. If someone reads your article and finds the content valuable, they may use it in their newsletter, e-zine, blog, website, or tweet about it. If they reprint it in a publication or on a website, they are required to include your author resource box, resulting in more back links and more traffic to your website. Quality back links are good for search engine juice.

There is some controversy over Google’s Duplicate Content rules. My theory is don’t spam one article to 20 websites. Submit one article to about no more then 4-5 QUALITY sites. I also suggest article directories with higher rankings such as http://ezinearticles.com/. They have a PageRank of 6, get tons of traffic and only accept quality articles. I think it’s one of the largest reprint article directories out there. http://biznik.com/articles is another good one. Although it is more of a social networking site, there are great articles on there and a lot of professional people. I guess you would have to consider your target market and weigh out where submitting your articles would be the most beneficial.

The bottom line is, you’re wasting your time submitting to disreputable websites that no one visits. If you see an article directory that accepts poorly written content or “adult” articles, chances are business professionals are not going to be looking there for content for their newsletters, blogs or websites.

One last thing before I pass on the Article Directory info, people submit the most unbelievable crap articles so don’t put too much pressure on yourself like I did. Here is the criteria I have for my article directory and any quality directory is pretty much the same:

Articles are denied on my directory if any of the following occur:
Incorrect spelling/grammar errors
Incorrect sentence structure
Keyword stuffing
Multiple article submissions on the same topic submitted at once
Article sounds like an promotional ad
Article contains content not promoted on Nichelister such as adult, gambling, weapons, alcohol or anything at the discretion of the website’s owner
Hyperlinks in the body of the article
More than two hyperlinks in the Author Resource box
404 Page error during website review

I’m not an English major or anything so article submissions do not have to be perfect. But the sentences at least have to make sense and the content informative.

On to the good stuff….Article Directories

Here is a directory with 729 Article Directories http://www.web-directories.ws/Press/Articles/
My article directory http://www.nichelister.com
Lots of wonderful women here at this directory http://www.wahm-articles.com/
Good Quality…http://www.mygreencorner.com/

More:
http://www.articlecity.com
http://www.articledirectory.com
http://www.articlegold.com
http://www.articlepros.com
http://www.articlesfactory.com

UPDATE: February 23rd, 2010

This update is being added as a result of a recent misunderstanding I witnessed (indirectly).
Please understand that when you submit articles to directories, you are generally giving consent for OTHER PEOPLE to publish your article on their blog, website, newsletter, etc… This is pretty much the purpose of these directories. This is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. You are gaining more and more exposure and backlinks every time someone publishes your article. This is the point. It’s free marketing, kind of like a referral. Someone found your information worthy enough to share it with others.

Your content and author resource box is required to remain fully intact without ANY modifications. It is only a violation if these rules are not followed. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE people, read your terms of service when submitting your articles. If you do not wish to grant others permission to use your article, your best bet is not to submit it!

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Marketing | , | 2 Comments

The Twitter Craze

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Every time I turn around I see another article, blog, seminar, teleseminar, webinar and even television news clips about using Twitter for  business. I have heard several success stories so of course I jumped on the bandwagon. I’m all about Web 2.0 and social marketing.

For those of you who are not familiar with Twitter, it is a social networking website where you chat (proper term: micro-blog) with other users that you follow and whom follow you. There is a limit of 140 characters so you have to keep it short and sweet.

I have been on Twitter for roughly 2 months. I think I have finally got the hang of it. I use TweetDeck which is an application that splits up the messages of people you are following, people who are responding to your tweets and direct messages you receive. I find it is easier to manage when the information is broken down.

Now who do you follow?

You follow people who may provide interesting tidbits of knowledge or information.  Just search on a keyword or phrase and there is no doubt you’ll find some interesting characters to follow. As you know I’m an SEO nerd so I follow people like Matt Cutts (a big dog at Google) and other SEO experts. I am a woman entrepreneur and like following other successful women to exchange thoughts and experiences throughout the day. I follow all different types of people mostly related to my professional industry. I do not follow everyone whom follows me. I review their profile and website to determine whether or not I am interested in following them back. If their website appears spammy or is a get rich quick site, I do not follow back.

Who would want to follow you?

I still ask myself that question daily. I don’t know why in the world anyone would care what I do! LOL Especially since I pretty much do the same things daily. But since I have amazingly gained 136 followers, I try to come up with something appealing to say. If I read something interesting, get stuck on a project or eat a bad piece of meat (yikes!) I tweet about it.

PROS of Using Twitter

Stronger Relationships: So far I have not retained any new clients from Twitter. Although, I feel a more personal level developing in the relationships I have built with people I know from forums. I see their regular posts of activities and experiences daily. I tweet back and engage in a chat type conversation. I am building and strengthening my relationships with other small business owners, gaining trust and credibility.

Gained Knowledge: A few weeks ago I was able to hear 1st hand from Matt Cutts the juicy details of what was going on at the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) in California. I would have loved to attend that expo!  Reading up-to-date tweets from an influential attendee gave me a slight feeling of involvement.

Sometimes people post inspirational, goofy or informative messages. I find it enjoyable to interact with interesting people from all over the world throughout my day.

Increased Visibility: Every time I submit a new post via Twitter, it appears to all of my followers who are on Twitter at the time. The more they see my face, the more they will recognize me and get to know who I am and what I do. I often post assignments I’m working on to give people an idea of the type of work I do as a Virtual assistant. Basically, it is a way for me to publicize my services without sounding pushy.

My profile and engagement on Twitter has brought traffic to my website. More traffic is good!

Many social networking sites are now adding a Twitter feed. For example, Facebook has a feed application. Every time I submit a post on Twitter, my status on Facebook gets updated. When status is updated, it appears on my Facebook friends’ profiles, which all of their friends can see. This may sound confusing if you are not familiar with Facebook. But the point is, the more people see your face the more you will be remembered. Especially if your content is memorable!

Cons of Using Twitter

Time Consuming: I find using Twitter to be very time consuming and slightly distracting. I’ve had TweetDeck up while writing this blog and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped to engage in conversation. I obviously wouldn’t have TweetDeck up while on a client’s dollar, therefore when I have a full workload, I do not have time to tweet. I wonder how so many self-employed professionals manage to find so much time to spend on Twitter. I know some VA’s who offer it as a service, but it kind of defeats the purpose of genuineness and building relationships. Of course if a client wanted me to post a number of superficial tweets for them I wouldn’t mind doing it. I personally just don’t see it being as effective.

Safety Issues: This is something I have not seen explored publicly yet. I am sure it has been; I just have not come across any information regarding safety concerns. Perhaps it is my previous law enforcement training in my career as a dispatcher or I just watch the news way too much, but there really should be more attention focused on safety using Twitter.

A majority of Twitter users post personal things such as what they are doing, where they are at, where they are going, who they are doing it with, when and so forth. I’m guilty, I supply the same information. If a serial killer wanted to hack me up, it wouldn’t be too difficult.

There are also a lot of Twitter Meet-Ups including vacations and cruises. I think it’s a really cool and fun idea, but what about the potential risks? I hate to say this and sound negative; the truth is we live in a scary world. I won’t get into the types of things I have seen in training or on the job. Just keep in mind that sick people exist all over the world (especially cyberspace) so be cautious!

For more information on using Twitter for business, check out this informative article written by Zeke Camusio Twitter Marketing – Using Twitter to Promote Your Business

Another Good Resource written by C.G. Lynch: Twitter: How to Get Started Guide for Business People

February 26, 2009 Posted by | Marketing | 3 Comments

Search Engine Optimization 2009

I know I am kind of a dork when it comes to Search engine optimization (SEO). I subscribe to a lot of SEO blogs and newsletters and try to stay up to date on all of the latest SEO news and gossip. I guess I just assume that everyone has the same addiction, so when I make a statement about the Google algorithm changes that began in the beginning of this year and people look at me like I’m crazy, I wonder why no one else seems to know about this??  I want to share my resources and spread the word. I would love to know what other people think about these changes and wonder what types of alterations SEO professionals will be making to their services.

The following video with Bruce Clay: “Ranking is Dead” from the 2008 Pub Con in Las Vegas provides a great overview of what I found to be the most significant changes in search results and Page Rank.

In Conclusion:

I don’t have a full understanding of what’s what in the way of terms. What I do understand is that Google has made a major advancement in technology and the way search results are returned.There is a Universal Search system that blends listings from video, images,  news, books and local listings into their main web search results. Crawlers are now able to convert soundtracks to text, pull text out of flash files and jump into the middle of videos. They are using IP addresses, third party cookies and other things to track search history and provide more relevant results based on past inquiries, causing results to be biased. Demographics also contribute to the bias of our search results.

    What does this mean for me?

    First of all, I think it’s time to invest in a web cam! It sounds to me that video is going to be a standard for SEO.  If I want to get those top results, my chances will be a lot less likely without video(s) on my website. (It’s important to make sure you use keywords in your video titles, descriptions and tags.)

    Being a Virtual Assistant, demographics biasing the results may impact me. I will just have to continue to work on getting traffic to my website from inbound links.

    All in all, I think it will be very interesting to see what 2009 brings us in the way of Search Engine Optimization. Just when we finally think we have a grasp on it, the search engines outsmart us!

    Resources:
    Bruce Clay, INC.
    Web Pro News
    Search Engine Land
    The Forrester Blog

    February 6, 2009 Posted by | Search Engine Optimization (SEO) | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment