Diary of a Digi-Queen

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Twitter Tools & Tweat Sheet

TWITTER COMMANDS

  • @username + message – directs a tweet to another person, storing it in their “@replies” tab (not private)
  • D username + message – sends a person a private message (won’t appear in the public timeline)
  • # + keywords – Sets the keyphrase for a trending topic
  • FAV username – marks a person’s last tweet as a favourite and stores the message in your “Favourites” tab
  • SET LOCATION area name – updates the location field in your profile E.g.: set location Newbury
  • WHOIS username – retrieves the profile information for any public user on Twitter
  • GET username – retrieves the latest Twitter update posted by the person
  • NUDGE username – reminds a friend to update by asking what they’re doing on your behalf
  • FOLLOW username – follows that particular person
  • STATS – this command returns your number of followers, how many people you’re following, and your bio information
  • INVITE phone number – will send an SMS invite to a friend’s mobile phone E.g.: Invite 0123 456 789

TWITTER SEARCH

Word Search

  • social -media – will find tweets containing “social” but NOT “media
  • social media – will find tweets containing both “social” and “media
  • “social media” – will find tweets containing the exact phrase “social media
  • social OR media – will find tweets containing “social” OR “media” (or both)
  • #socialmedia – will find tweets containing the hashtag “#socialmedia

People Search

Places Search

Date Search

  • “Google wave” since:2010-01-01 – will find tweets containing the exact phrase “Google wave“, that have been sent since the date “2010-01-01” (year-month-day)
  • “social media” until:2010-04-01 – will find tweets containing the exact phrase “social media“, that have been sent up until the date “2009-10-19” (year-month­-day)

Attitude Search

  • heels :) – will find tweets containing the word “heels”, with a positive attitude
  • flats :( – will find tweets containing the word “flats“, with a negative attitude

Misc. Search

  • highheels filter:links – will find tweets containing the word “highheels“, and linking to URLs
  • Seo source:hootsuite – will find tweets containing the word “seo“, and entered via hootsuite
  • SEO? – will find questions with the word “SEO

TWITTER TERMS

  • DM – direct message
  • RT / ReTweet – repeating a tweet from someone else
  • OH – Overheard Quote
  • Tweeps / Tweeple – people on Twitter
  • Tweet(ing) – the act of posting to Twitter
  • Tweetup – an in-person meet up of Twitter members
  • Twitterverse/Twitterville – the cyberspace area of Twitter

TWITTER TOOLS:

  • Hootsuite – iPhone application, update tweets on the go, schedule tweets.
  • http://twitpic.com/ – post a picture directly to your twitter profile, offers tracking to see how many users have viewed it
  • http://bit.ly/ – URL shortener, in order to include links without using up too much of the 140 character allowance, plus also offers tracking.
  • http://www.twitvid.com/ – as above but for videos

OFFICIAL TWITTER RESOURCES

TWITTER DIRECTORIES

POLLS

PRINT

RETWEET

  • Retweetist - Discovering trends, popular topics and popular people by tracking Retweets across Twitter
  • Retweetit - Twitter Retweet Exchange
  • TweetMyLink - Tweeted links
  • Retweetradar - Finding trends in the mountains of information ‘retweet’ed on Twitter
  • ReTweetability Index – The ReTweetability Index measures and ranks Twitter users based on the infectious power of their tweets

RSS

  • Twitterfeed - Feed your blog’s RSS feed to Twitter
  • PingVine - Pingvine takes RSS feeds from your blog and posts them to Twitter
  • RSS2Twitter - Share any RSS feed on Twitter, and have new RSS items automatically be tweeted
  • RSStoTwitter - RSS feeds to Twitter
  • FeedTweeter - Feed your RSS items to Twitter with some spice
  • TweetWire - List your feed now
  • FlockOTweets - Groups your followers into RSS chunks
  • RSSFriends - Track changes in friends list or followers and unfollowers on Twitter with an RSS Feed

SPAM

TWETIQUETTE

  • Always send a thank you @message to someone if they retweet you
  • If someone starts to follow you say thank you (this can be automatically set up)
  • Always reply to an @message directed at you
  • Where possible limit tweets to 120ish characters rather than the full 140, this allows users the opportunity to Retweet without losing any of your message
  • Use common sense – a Tweet is forever not just for Christmas!

SMM and SEO part 2

Social Media and SEO

So you’ve adopted the all important SEO best practices for website architecture, content and inbound links, but what next? Keeping those top search engine listings is crucial for the success of any website and Social Media now plays a very important role in doing just that.

These social media channels are a haven for key phrase-rich, regularly updated content and links that will all nurture your search rankings, like bees to honey. Often it’s the mechanics of the Search Engine’s that hold the attention of marketers, but with the boom of social media it’s now time to turn some of that attention towards what’s actually appearing more and more often within the first page of those Search Engine results – Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, blogs and videos. Not one of these are static website’s, they’re all powered by human interaction – discussions, opinions, chit chat – anything that speaks ‘hey talk to me, I’m a real live person’!

The growth of these websites offers web marketers a new opportunity for boosting Search Engine listings. By reaching out to those potential customers and engaging with them, it will encourage them to talk about your company and products or services, creating optimised content and inbound linking that will keep your competitors at Search Engine bay.

Top Tips for using social media to boost SEO:

1. Be real

Never, ever ask a third party to speak on your behalf. If you decide to use your company name, or product as your account name make sure you show the face behind it. Show people that you’re a real person. Trust is something that has to be earned, especially when using Social Media.

There are many unspoken rules that come along with using social media, the main one being use your common sense. Don’t say or do anything that wouldn’t say or do in real life. Provide clear contact details, a telephone number or email address to make yourself as approachable as possible.

2. Meet your customers half way

There are hundreds of social media sites to chose from, before you get started look into which ones are appropriate for your business, where your customers are, check the demographics and find out what your competitors are doing. A few of the more popular examples of social networks are:

  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Make sure you include links to each of your accounts on your website, show people just how ready to engage you really are.

3. Tweet!

Twitter provides you with an excellent way to engage in conversation with key influencers, customers, friends and potential customers. As with all the other social media accounts, make sure it’s the voice behind the company that’s promoted the most.

Typical posts should include:

  • Notifications of new blog posts, with a link to the page
  • Notifications of new clients and their successes
  • Engagements with on-going conversations

Use RSS feeds from Twitter monitoring services, such as Tweetscan, to stay updated on any tweets related to your business, look for opportunities to join the conversation with relevant information.

4. Write a blog

Blogs create lots of new content and generate links back to your site that help with search engine promotion. Rather than keeping your focus purely on the company itself, use a blog to highlight interesting customers and the projects or services you’ve helped them work on/supplied them with.

Everyone has at least a small amount of narcissism within them let’s face it, and are excited about their business, their club, their brand – whatever it is they’re promoting, build trust and friendship on this by including blog posts on:

  • Brief stories about the customer
  • Description of their business, brand, blog, etc.
  • Details about how you worked together and the outcome.

By posting about a customer’s project, you increase the chances of that customer linking back to the blog post, and sharing the link with friends.

At the bottom of each blog post, feature icons that let readers share the article on community and social bookmarking sites, such as:

  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

5. Create videos

This will depend greatly on your line of business, but if suitable can be very beneficial – Search engines are increasingly incorporating videos onto search results pages.

Examples of how you can make this work for you include:

  • As with blog posts as mentioned above, use videos to highlight stories about customers and the projects you worked on together – create a weekly or monthly feature.
  • Keep a video camera in your office and record simple, short promotional videos for new products or services.
  • Create instruction videos about who you are and what you do – update them regularly with top tips or online seminars if applicable.
  • Above all use your imagination!

An increase in Search Engine rankings will be down to the interaction you have with people, once you give yourself a voice within social media people will blog about you, tweet about you, talk about you in Facebook profiles. Where ever they’ve laid their social media ‘hat’ they will include you if you include them!

SMM and SEO!

I’ve recently completed a short stint working for a small web company based in Berkshire and one of the most obvious frustrations amongst my fellow employees was the lack of acceptance or understanding of the benefits of social media. It was because of this that I decided to adopt a different approach when selling the idea to those powers that be and push SMM as an added, and highly effective, benefit to all the hard SEO work that was being undertaken. Here are a couple of the articles that I had written in order to try and win round those minds…

Social Bookmarking and SEO:

Anyone who works with Search Engines knows quality link building is essential to improving visibility, but only recently has social media started to be accepted as a link building tactic. Social Bookmarking sites like Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and Delicious are highly authoritative websites and when used correctly can dramatically improve search engine rankings.  

These sites offer users the ability to post links to stories/articles across the internet. The user adds a quirky eye catching title to their nominated story link, in order to encourage a reader to click on it. These readers can then opt to give the bookmarked link a ‘thumbs up’, ‘vote up’ or ‘digg’ to show they approve of what they see. Depending on how many of these positive responses each story gets, it will shift the position reflectivity to achieve the highest goal of a front page listing. Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon and Delicious each harvest a huge, devoted user base so achieving a front page listing would mean your story would be viewed by thousands of users. This of course would generate fantastically huge spikes in traffic to the website where the story resides. The site will also automatically be linked to from a number of other collaborative websites, widening your reach even further and causing the Google spiders to lick their lips in anticipation.

The biggest challenge faced when using social bookmarking sites is to come up with a title that shouts louder than the rest – persuading those readers to click on your link is the main objective. Without going overboard, test a couple of different (related) titles linking to the same article and see which creates the biggest stir, learn what works and what doesn’t and stick with it. Learn from other users too, click on the top rated links on the front page and see what makes a successful post, compare these with the less-successful.

The position of any bookmarked site is entirely dependent on the opinion of the readers who vote for it, for this reason common sense and honesty must be adopted at all times – never post a link with a title that is unrelated in order to attract attention, not unless the aim is to get a link voted down as quickly as possible! Typical buzz words used by rogue link scammers purely to attract attention have included iPhone, Paris Hilton, Britany Spears, Facebook, Twitter and many others all linking to stories which are totally unrelated to the title shown.

If the decision is made to continue to violate policies, Reddit and Digg in particular, will ‘Ghost’ the offending IP address, meaning any new accounts created from that particular location will never been shown to the rest of the world, proving a lonely life for the Reddit or Digg scammer.

The best way to experience any of these sites is to get involved. They are all very simple to use and with a small amount of effort can provide real results… and you might find you learn something new too!

Walking the Foursquare Mile

I feel I’ve let my fellow digi’s down by my prolonged ignorance towards this new social network called ‘Foursquare’. I fully admit I have only come across it earlier this very week and as I’ve always considered myself to be ‘in-the-know’, this disturbs me greatly.

So, this morning I have once again logged into the Foursquare account I created on Monday, in order to give it another go (I have to admit my first attempt had me feeling slightly confused at the concept, it’s not that I didn’t understand it exactly, it was more that I couldn’t understand why). I’ve now spent the past twenty minutes trying to figure out how to ‘check in’. I’ve discovered that by downloading the free app onto my iPhone I can simply hit the provided ‘check in’ button and it should, in theory, do it for me. Do what though I’m not exactly sure as it told me that I wasn’t near anywhere. I’m pretty sure I must be somewhere though otherwise I’m terribly late for work.

Back on the website, after browsing through the majority of the limited number (am I missing something?) of pages I kept being asked if I’d like to leave a tip for my current location, which according to the app on my iPhone is nowhere. Not having a clue what this meant I conducted a bit of research into other people’s far more populated and impressive ‘Foursquare’ profiles (or whatever the appropriate speak is) and it appears that the majority of areas are either bars, pubs or fast food places such as Burger King. Now I can see why this could be handy when arranging a night out with your friends, providing all the friends were on Foursquare that is, especially as maps are displayed, and as a means to ‘demonstrate’ a particularly active social life, I’m still a bit baffled as to what the point actually is.

I have also found the search function to be quite annoying, it automatically searches based on where-ever your ‘home’ location is set, which is unnecessarily restrictive. A site that is fundamentally based around travelling and places you’ve visited etc should be fairly adaptable to movement surely? I for one am more likely to spend an evening at the weekend out in London, rather than my home town of Winchester, purely because I have spent a number of years working up there so consequently it’s where the majority of my friends hang out. But the Foursquare search function will only display areas that match my home location (I have changed this now to say London, but then I’d have the reversed issue when I do fancy a drink in a local bar). It was even a problem when I typed the location immediately after the name of the venue I was hunting for. In fact I got more results for people whose surname’s were ‘Winchester’ than I did for anything else! Having an advanced search function would benefit this site greatly and if it isn’t already, should be at the top of their top-do-lists.

Then I discovered the use of ‘Badges’. Nice idea, gives the users something to aim for (everyone loves a reward). I do feel a few straws are being grasped though, especially when the badges are awarded for things like ‘You’ve found 3 places with a photo booth!’ A couple more were rewarded for the numbers of nights you’ve been out in a row and how many venues you’ve visited in one night – I’m not 100% sure I’d be very proud if I received one of these badges, in fact, I’d be rather concerned about my liver. But then perhaps I’m not the right target market, the sense I got was that it was for a slightly younger audience, I know that back in my late teens/early 20’s I was much more of a party animal and maybe an idea like this would’ve appealed a lot more, which I do find quite depressing. So in conclusion it is because of that very reason that when I meet my friends tonight for the usual dissection of our weeks, I will be attempting to ‘check in’ in order to give this whole foursquare malarkey a proper go and, of course to prove I can still be ‘down with the kids’.

If you haven’t already, please visit http://foursquare.com/ and let me know what you think, feel free to add me as a friend too, especially if you’re as baffled as I am, we can walk the foursquare mile together!

‘Meet the Team’

I’ve spent the past 3 weeks, off and on of course, trying to think of innovate ways to display a ‘meet the team,’ area within a website and I have to say I’m stumped. I keep hitting the same brick wall over and over again and I’m starting to wonder if the reason why I’m finding such a simple task harder than the Winter Olympics comes from the fact I don’t actually see much value in this area of a website… at all!

Is this just me?? I have to say I rarely visit a meet the team page, if there is one available, and when I have done, for what-ever reason (before the likes of FB it was more often than not to be shown a picture of a friends latest Beau than for anything of actual benefit – go on admit it, we’ve all done this before!) I find they do little more than make me cringe! (Especially when some companies go as far to post photos of work Christmas do’s and ‘Team building’ exercises). Perhaps it is just me though. I fully admit, and have been told repeatedly, that I suffer from an over-active ‘cringe’ gland, I quite often find myself curled into a tight ball on the couch, squealing with pain during episodes of ‘Dragons Den’ and the like, so much so my housemates have actually banned me from watching it (why, WHY do they not take the financial information with them??!! Of course the questions are going to be asked!!).

Although, despite the earlier moan, in my recent travels I have come across some pretty funky meet the team ideas that remove the cheesy, cringy, tacky (and other negative) elements and replace them with ones that create interest and make me ‘like’ the people within the company already. Trouble is this means the limited solutions to my dilemma have all gone, and without wanting to plagiarize I truly am left with an idea that has the distinct smell of cheese… or me, reduced to a tightly wound ball on the floor every time I look at it. So what’s the solution? Is there really such a thing as a beneficial ‘Meet the Team’ page? Should we bother? Or is something, no matter how awful, better than nothing at all? 

My contribution to a paper full of news…

Eek! I’ve been asked to contribute to a feature in a regional rag. I have little-to-no experience of how to go about doing this! Writing about what I know, ok so I can do that, maximum of 1100 words, I may struggle slightly with that…

Think of it as writing for a blog someone offered me as their valuable tit-bit of advice, but I’ve never written for a blog before either I said! So here I am, my very own blog. It was only a matter of time really, I have all the other social necessities nowadays, and with the help of my iPhone I have access to them at all times, it’s a wonder I get anything else done really.

I digress, back to the news article… here is my FIRST EVER attempt at writing for a rag. I welcome any feedback (although please go easy on me, I am new remember).

It’s probably worth pointing out, this is for a feature to go in the centre of the paper about top tips for web development and promotion, each of the feature-ers (I know, not a real word, but basically mean me et al) were given a different area to focus on, I was tasked with promotion, mainly SEO.

A Website without promotion is like sending a postcard addressed purely to ‘Brazil’

A Newbury website promotion company is challenging local businesses to get their websites noticed as a good way of increasing turnover.

Web on High says that having a domain name has become as common as owning a mobile phone, whether it be in the form of having one’s own website, or purely an email address. There are millions of websites staking their claim in a piece of world wide web real-estate, but only a select few get the red carpet rolled out for them. So the company is handing out some top tips on how businesses should promote themselves online.

Tips for Effective Online Promotion:

1.) It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, if you have something that’s worth sharing with others it will have enormous value in the information highway, use articles or a blog to demonstrate your knowledge, offer free information on a regular basis in order to keep customers coming back – try not to force registration in order to access it, if what you’ve written is engaging enough, they will be in touch. If they don’t, they probably weren’t that interested anyway.

2.) Use ‘Keyword-phrases’ that not only fit with your business model, but are also terms that the public would be searching for. It’s all too easy to get used to in-house phrases such as ‘an amortization term of…’ but unless you’re a mortgage provider that’s perhaps not what you’d be searching for. Do some research, find out the most commonly used term for what you’re offering and write your content in plain English, leave the office-jargon in the boardroom.

3.) Use a good analytics tool to track what your visitors like and don’t like, expand on the areas that generate the most clicks and phase out the ones that don’t – great content is key.

4.) Social Media – A term that has been thrown around more than a ball in a playground over the past couple of years, only more recently though has it started to actually benefit and be noticed by businesses all over the world. Whether it’s used to broadcast information, establishing yourself as an industry expert, or as a tool to monitor what people are saying about you and your services, when managed correctly it can be a very positive and unstoppable force – the term ‘Word of Mouth’ is rapidly being replaced by ‘Word of Web’!

5.) Email Marketing – is an art form in itself; there must be a fine balance between eye-catching design, brand recognition and grab-it-and-hold-it content. Not only do you have to contend with recipients’ very ‘noisy’ inboxes and short attention spans, but also some very strict rules and regulations. Adhere to these whilst adopting a ‘recipient friendly’ approach and the ROI on email campaigns can be truly astounding.

6.) Find a good, experienced SEO company who can regulate and manage your online promotions, it can be both a time and mentally consuming task and, what’s more good results take time too. Keep working at updating content and searching trends – your eyes should never be taken off the ball, new competition comes in thick and fast all the time and if you’re lucky enough to make it to the top you will need to work hard in order to stay there.

CASE STUDY:

Easy2Name specialises in the printing of personalised name labels which can be ironed, sewn or stuck onto personal belongings. The business had expanded through low key advertising and word of mouth within several markets, particularly school children.

Melanie King, the director of Easy2Name, recognised the enormous potential of the Internet for the promotion of its business and wanted a new simple-to-use website that reflected its bright, cheerful image as well as allow people to either phone or to place an order online. In addition it was vital that the site attracted new enquiries via search engine prominence.

At the time, Melanie King fully admitted that “taking the plunge” into such a major project was a risk for a fairly small business, but now it has more than paid off. Within 12 months, the company had increased their orders 10 fold and had secured a major contract from a highly respected department store.

Some 7 years later, the combined efforts of Web on High and Easy2Name has been a fantastic success. The site has been further improved; back end functionality expanded to make the office functions more efficient and search engine prominence has been substantially expanded to incorporate new and upcoming search terms. The result of all this has increased online sales by over 30%.

“After partnering with Web on High for over 7 years they approached me last year with some design changes based on increasing our websites conversion capability and overall user navigation. What a success a staggering increase in orders this summer by over 30%!” Melanie King – MD Easy2Name

BIG SEARCH FACT:

During December 2009, the total worldwide search market had more than 131 billion searches.

This equates to more than:

  • 4bn searches per day
  • 175m per hour
  • 2.9m per minute

[Source: comScore, January 2010]

5 Things to look for when choosing an SEO Company

  • Experience
  • One who will become a long-term strategic partner
  • Can provide examples of previous successes
  • Honest and adheres to best practice guidelines
  • Uses a structured approach to key-phrase research and is proactive in making recommendations and improvements

Questions to ask when choosing an SEO company:

1.) What strategies and techniques will you use in your approach?

2.) What are your recent results from relevant clients?

3.) How do you work with clients?

4.) Ask for evidence of investment in SEO – How do your staff keep up-to-date with the latest changes to algorithms etc?

5.) How do you analyse keyword-phrases and their performance?

6. ) How do you measure the success of your work?

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