Tag Archives: social media

Your Business: Social Search – How It Influences Your Business Marketing

Social Search

By Andrea Freygang

Here’s another reason why businesses should be online and actively marketing their business: Social Search. As if you needed another one…

What is social search? Social search brings you results based on your network’s recommendation. It also means that items mentioned more in blogs, social media and other online outlets will rank higher. SEO (search engine optimization) is still important but is fading as Google races to keep up with social media which has clearly fascinated the masses over the last couple of years.

SEO works on the premise that more content with targeted words will drive traffic online. While that is true to an extent, if the content is poor quality, Google’s algorithms will pick that up. Google has been working to weed out poor content, and earlier this year, shifted rankings on many sites due to high levels of SEO targeted writing with little value or traffic. SEO is still important in keeping you site up at the top of the rankings for your targeted keywords, but abuse of the system is catching up to people with Google’s changes in the algorithm.

And it was these SEO changes that led to the influence of social media and the social sphere on how Google indexes content. For example, let’s say you own a car dealership and you fill your blog and subdomains up with content on cars. Very keyword heavy, but it doesn’t offer value and even if you post every day, doesn’t improve your rankings in Google search. Now lets say we downgrade the frequency and increase the quality and really begin to have a conversation with your readers, people began sharing your writing on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn and your rankings will increase exponentially.

Why? Because Google now sees the second option as having more value because other people found it had value. This content must be quality or relevant because the social stratosphere is sharing it. You are also more likely to find content written by someone you know because Google has made attempts to track these connections as well.

See all their algorithm changes here in a recent blog post: http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2011/05/social-search-goes-global.html.

You can also see a YouTube video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hAgiIXuNbs&feature=player_embedded.

This is all important because your customers (especially down here in busy South Florida where I am) are going online to find you. They are searchign on their iPhones, iPads, Blackberries and Androids and a multitude of other gadgets for the best places to eat, shop, get their oil changed. And this is a huge opportunity for small businesses, and most can begin to see an influence with only a couple of hours a week of using online marketing tools.

By positioning yourself to be found via social search, you are reaching a whole new market. Even if you haven’t been using these tools because you are still a little weary, it’s time to learn or let someone else you trust manage it for you. Most businesses who actively engage in social media see an increase in sales. By preparing good content and sharing it across your network, you increase the likelihood of your business being found.

As a special thanks to one of the best social media marketing blogs out there for the inspiration for this article, visit this article for some great tips on how to prepare for social search: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/3-ways-to-prepare-your-business-for-social-search/.

Your Business: Making Your Facebook Profile Pop

FB1

By James Stafford

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive in my Facebook class is: “How can I make my profile stand out?” Without a doubt the answer is improve your photography skills! Making your posts standout and get noticed many times comes down the image attached to your content. Taking a couple of extra seconds to think before you take a photo can make all the difference.

Let’s start with a simple portrait.

Here are three photos of my oldest son James. I took the photos in front of our home in full sun with a standard point and shoot camera. The result is photo A:

Your standard camera is going to find an exposure setting that best fits the entire scene.  The solution for getting more color out of your subject is to turn your flash on all the time! Regardless if it is day or night, use the flash. Notice the improvement in the yellow color of the shirt from photo A to B. The next step is to get to eye level with your subject. Most people never do this and it makes a huge difference.  In both photos A and B I’m standing holding the camera at a down angle showing the top of my son’s head. In photo C I got down on one knee so the lens of the camera was at his eye level.

Let’s talk about group photos. Group photos are a great way to get your profile noticed. At every event I photograph I always encourage the organizers to do a group photo.  In the world of social networking, group photos allow participants to share the photo and show off their association with the group and it’s a great tool for getting participants to stay until the end of the event.

Simple Tips for Taking a Group Photo

Cameras see the world in 2D and the focal point will be a flat plane somewhere in the scene.

You want to position people so that their faces are all along the line of the plane; by doing so, everyone’s face will be in focus.

If the group is large and two rows are required, stagger the rows so that the faces in the second row fill the space between the people in the front row.

 

 

Once I’m confident that everyone is in place I always say, “If you can’t see the camera it can’t see you.” Group photos at the end of the day are like trying to herd cats and they’ll never be perfect.

Don’t forget to use a flash!

Below is an example of a group photo of the Greater Lake Worth Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors I took this past month.

I did receive a question this month from a reader who follows me on Facebook about a photo I took and posted on line.  Here is the photo.

The question was simply “how did I do it?” They told me that they had tried to take a photo of the thunderstorms in the past but couldn’t get a similar result.

This technique is for more advanced photographers using an SLR but in no way is it difficult. The trick to photographing lightning and thunderstorms is a tripod! You’re never going to be able to push the trigger and beat the flash – our reaction time is not fast enough. By the time you see the flash and push the button it’s gone. So what you want to do is place the camera on a tripod and set your camera to a shutter speed of 10 to 30 seconds. You will also want to place the ISO to a value of between 100 and 400. I recommend a remote trigger but a 2 second delay would also work. The key is to not allow the camera to move or shake while the shutter is open. You will have to take a few photos and trial and error is part of the process.

If you have a question about social networking or photography email me at or find me on Facebook.com at Facebook.com/JamesStaffordPhotography and I’ll answer your question here.