August 22, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

WEB 2.0 – How to utilize Blogs for Business

WEB 2.0 and Blogs

Most Web 2.0 platforms will ask you to contribute to the content contained on the site. By having a business blog, you can encourage visitors to add their insights to a page, through ongoing commentary to blog posts. It is possible to interact with these visitors by replying to each comment made on your site. By allowing visitors to post feedback or comments to your blog entries, the blog can serve as a mini community or forum. This is also a way to find out how visitors (prospects) think and what they want.

Popular blogs receive thousands of visitors every month. There are search engines whose sole purpose involves tracking blogs and related sites, including Technorati.com for example.

Most bloggers now include photos and other graphic elements in their web pages, along with text. You can even use MP3 or videos to enhance the quality of content provided in your blog. Online entrepreneurs and marketers are using blogs in many ways, to announce their passions, beliefs, purpose or to pitch their products and services while providing visitors with valuable content and information.

One of the reasons blogs are popular for marketing is they allow users to provide content that is updated frequently. You can post daily, weekly or monthly. The more frequently you post information to your blog, the more likely you are to maintain your page ranking and attract visitors to your blog.  The most successful business blogs have 300 times more content than the average blog.

Blog Strategies

How to utilise blogs for businessFrom Denise Wakeman, ‘The Blog Squad’, you can learn many blog strategies. According to Denise, the key to a successful business blog is frequency (at least 2-3 times per week) and quality. Let me share her 4 E’s strategy with you:

  1. Educate: Write “How to” posts, explain concepts, Questions and Answers etc
  2. Entertain: Tell stories, use video etc
  3. Engage: Do polls, ask for comments and feedback etc
  4. Enrich: Make yourself/your business stand out, differentiate yourself.

In conclusion the WEB 2.0 sites are user-friendly sites that promote socialization, collaboration and community building. These sites are also frequently used as a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services to the public without blatantly advertising them. It gives individuals, like entrepreneurs, the opportunity to communicate with a global community.

Please feel free to comment and let us know how you use blogging for your business!  Also, if you need help with creating a WEB 2.0 social networking strategy for your business, have a look at the social media strategy template that Virtual Project Consulting is giving away for free!

WEB 2.0 – Three Things You Must Know

What is Web 2.0 and why you need it? WEB 2.0 for Newbies

Have you noticed how the terms collaboration and communication crops up everywhere? They are the buzz words that are part of Web 2.0.  The purpose of this article is for you to become crystal clear on what Web 2.0 is, the key features of Web 2.0 and what the implication of Web 2.0 is for your business.

1. Definition of Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a broad term describing many different kinds of websites, websites that provide a platform where end-users have control over the content of sites. Web 2.0 includes social networking sites, wikis, Blogs, RSS Feeds and other sites that emphasize collaboration and sharing among users. Some well-known examples of free Web 2.0 tools are:

  • Facebook and MySpace (social networking)
  • Twitter (micro blogging)
  • Squidoo (community website to create pages, called lenses, for subjects of interest)
  • LinkedIn (professional networking)
  • Craiglist (listing site for classified ads and forums)
  • Skype  (PC to PC calls)
  • del.icio.us (social bookmarking)
  • Technorati (blogging)
  • Flickr  (photo sharing)

2. Web 2.0 Key Features

Most sites, regardless of their platform, share key features if they are WEB 2.0 sites. Here are some of the key features and benefits associated with this new wave in technology:

  1. Web 2.0 encourages greater collaboration among webmasters and visitors, so that interactive communities are created on the Web.
  2. Web 2.0 approaches the Web as a platform for building conversation and communities.
  3. The “new” Web focuses more on social networking and sharing, through various means including through blogs, wikis and more.
  4. The philosophy behind Web 2.0 is one that promotes an “architecture of participation” where all visitors and users have the opportunity to contribute to a site’s development and progress.

The Web no longer serves as an entity in itself, but rather as a platform individuals can use to connect with others. WEB 2.0 is about people connecting with other people.

3. Business Implication of Web 2.0

Companies can now also share information and collaborate with one another in new and interesting ways. This will require business managers to start thinking more horizontally, moving away from a hierarchical model of communicating to one where knowledge is shared freely among employees, suppliers, vendors and even competitors.

Some companies are even encouraging their customers to take advantage of social networks to help them advertise. A company can also help businesses make working more practical and simpler. Rather than have individuals use stand-alone systems only, company’s can now encourage the joint use of software and computers among multiple users. Data can easily be shared from one person to next, meetings can be held online, and problem solving can take place from a much broader perspective.

Business entrepreneurs need to realize that this technology has existed for some time, but offers an interactive approach to marketing and everyday business operations. If companies haven’t done so already, they should examine how they can integrate Web 2.0 into daily operations while still hedging risks. If you decide to use social networking for marketing your business online, you should create a social networking strategy that integrates with your existing marketing efforts.

And to assist you with the creation of your own social networking strategy, I have developed a social media strategy template. It is easy to use and filled with recommended tactics for different social media platforms. It will also let you put measurement and maintenance in place in order to realize value over the longer term.

For more social media tips and articles, please subscribe to my blog, to the right…

Social Networking Communities

Building Smart Communities Through Social Networking

Let’s first look at what is social networking? Social networking is where people develop networks of friends and associates. It forges and creates links between different people. A social network can form a key element of collaborating and networking.

In sequal to the previous posting on how to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts and what ROI categories to use, we will now look at what type of social networking communities to create to gain advantages from free social networking.

The common types of communities created are:

  1. Customer Community
  2. Employee Community
  3. Partner Community

The goals for creating these types of communities are:

Customer Community goals:

  • Better understand customer preferences and profile
  • Increase awareness of your brand
  • Facilitate sharing of best practices
  • Increase adoption of your products and services
  • Improve customer loyalty and retention
  • Receive real time feedback from customers regarding wants and needs
  • Increase persistent traffic to the website
  • Solicit customer-driven innovation
  • Empower power users and experts to find and fill job positions

Employee Community Goals:

  • Create a company culture of sharing and teamwork
  • Increase intra-company communication and collaboration
  • Improve employee retention and the bond between company and employee
  • Discover new ideas and accelerate innovation
  • Encourage cross-functional inputs to drive better decision making
  • Bolster minority and special interest group programs

Partner Community Goals:

  • Enable general communication with partners
  • Facilitate sharing of best practices & creation of a knowledge base
  • Encourage co-innovation to better serve joint customers and markets
  • Increase sales through real-time market intelligence
  • Provide a central repository for partner communication
  • Enable opinion sharing and recommendations

This is an extract from my Social Media Marketing Report.

If you’re interested in related social media articles, read here and please feel free to leave any comments.

Measure Your Effectiveness With Social Media

How Do You Measure Effectiveness Of Social Media?

In order to get faster results from an investment in Social Media Marketing you need to measure your Social Networking efforts in terms of Return On Investment (ROI).

Five proven ways to increase your ROI are:

  1. Have a Business Strategy to increase exposure in support of your products and services and to create new business.
  2. Establish presence in your marketplace and reinforce your credibility.
  3. Expand your reach and create buzz for events you’re hosting.
  4. Nurture relationships and create strategic partnerships.
  5. Properly maintain your presence and be an industry leader.

What ROI categories do you use?

Once you have a Social Media Marketing strategy in place in support of your Business Strategy, the following ROI categories can be used to measure return on investment to create branded online community:

Customer Communities:

  • Increase in customer acquisition
  • Increase in customer retention
  • Reduction in customer service costs
  • Increase in page rank and general site traffic due to additional content on a community
  • Improved product and service allocation based on real time customer feedback and customer driven innovation

Internal Communities (Employees):

  • Increase in productivity due to
    • General knowledge sharing
    • Identification of subject matter experts to shorten ramp up
    • Virtual team environments for distributed teams
    • Increase in employee retention. People like meeting other employees, face to face and virtually. This produces a more enriching work environment.
    • Decreased hiring costs. It’s easier to hire from within. Finding good candidates through internal social networks can provide even more information (both profile based and content creation based) about internal candidates.

This is an extract from my free Social Media Marketing Report.

If you’re interested in related social media articles, read here and please feel free to leave any comments.

Build Your Reputation With Social Networking

Five Ways To Build Your Reputation With Social Networking By Bob Jenkins

Are you using social networks to build your reputation online? Whether you already are or you are just getting started with sites like Twitter and Facebook,  building your online reputation is your biggest responsibility. Here are five ways to make sure you do it right.

#1: Be Proud Of Being You The first thing is, you have to be yourself. You have to be who you are. Because although you can get away with being fake for a little while, as soon as one person realizes that you’re not who you say you are, your reputation is destroyed almost instantly because of the power of social networking. So be yourself. And don’t be afraid of being yourself. Realize that you have some gifts and some knowledge that people need to know about, and those that want to learn from you are going to gravitate towards you. Those that don’t think you’re worth listening to are basically going to ignore you. And it’s at their peril, so don’t worry about them.

#2: Transparency – Never Hide From Your Audience The second thing about your reputation is you should try to be transparent at all times. This means you keep everything real with your audience. For example, I pulled back the curtain to show what it takes to run a product launch. When I did my last product launch, I was Twittering every day what I was doing to get ready for this site. Most of the gurus out there would keep everything under lock and key, and I was being very clear, saying, “This is what I’m doing to get ready for this launch.” It actually helped me have a better launch, even though I told everybody exactly what I was going to be doing. They didn’t think that they had some surprise or whatever like most people teach; they just were excited to be part of it and part of the story. So be transparent. Let people know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, and they’re going to learn how to trust you.

#3: Be Positive For Positive Results The third way to build your reputation is to be positive. There are folks out there who generally can do a good job of being negative. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that to be a very long-term profitable strategy. It may get you some attention at first and spark some controversy, but that’s not the way to go. Be looking forward to the optimistic of your industry, of your business and what the results are going to be. It would be easy for you to go onto Twitter or onto Facebook and talk about how you’re having a bad day or this product sucks or this week sucks or this relationship sucks. But you’re not really there for a support network, per se. You’ll find some of that. If you have something bad happen in your life, sharing it with your followers will be very therapeutic for you and you will get a lot of support back. But when you’re just blasting negative things out, you’re going to get negative things in return, usually. So try to be positive as much as possible and look for the opportunities that are out there and look at them from that positive perspective.

#4: Build Your Reputation And They Will Come The fourth thing you must do is to be patient. This is because, initially, your reputation is going to be built only by yourself and the first initial people who get to know you. But as time goes on and you get more followers and you build a larger network of friends and peers, your reputation will solidify to allow your business to grow. Once it hits a tipping point, your reputation and business accelerates at a very quick pace. So be patient and let it happen. Don’t try this stuff out for a week and then come back to me next week and say, “Well, it didn’t really work. I didn’t really get any results yet.” You’ve got to let social networking play out over a few weeks and then a couple months and so on. A year from now your business is going to be tremendously different compared to where it is right now.

#5: Contribute To The Conversation – Every Day! The fifth thing about your reputation is you need to be someone that people look to as a contributor, not as a leech, not as a mooch, as a contributor. You have to be willing to be involved in the conversation, and you have to be willing to give as much or even more than what you’re going to get in return. The people who do that are growing so fast it makes my head spin. I feel that I’m a pretty giving person but I see some other folks out there that just keep on giving, giving, giving and they just build up a huge following and that social capital is a real asset to your business. So you need to make sure that you’re contributing as much as possible to the conversation. I don’t mean that as just go around randomly and try to help people. Within your specific task, your specific industry, the things you know well, you need to be at the forefront of letting people know how to do what you know how to do without charging them money at first. They’ll come and find your site and your products and they’ll pay you for that as time goes on and their needs grow. With social networking you need to be building your reputation up first. If somebody has a question, you should be one of the first people who answers and you need to answer without reservation not just, “Oh, I answered that in my eBook; go buy it”. They’re going to find your eBook if you just talk to them and give them solutions to the problem they are struggling with at that moment. Give people your input, your encouragement for them to get better at what they are trying to do. Any little quick free advice you can give, give it.

Actively Build Your Reputation With Social Networking And Reap The Rewards You’ve got to be in this for the reason of having fun and really building that relationship. But first, connect with people and really help them out. Understand that they’ll become loyal followers of what you do and see you for who you are. Follow these 5 steps to building your reputation online and you’ll not only beat your competition, you’ll have more fun doing it!

Bob Jenkins teaches business owners how to use internet marketing strategies effectively to attract more customers and get more sales without spending a fortune on advertising. Get more free social networking lessons at www.DiscoverSocialNetworking.com.

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