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So, You Want to “Do” Social Media!

I believe its a great idea for small businesses to participate in social media. Being on Facebook and a few other social media spots is expected by potential clients, and you can get more business by participating online.

Of course, “social media” is a broad category. When a potential clients asks me if I can help them, my first response is, “Yes!”  And, then my expectation setting and question asking begins.

Woman Looking at Social Media Icons

The major caution I have is that like most other things on the Internet, social media participation offers only incremental benefit to most businesses. It can help, a bit.

But, it’s unlikely that your killer Instagram photograph is going to go viral and prompt 100,000 people to call and want to buy your service.

It could happen, but it’s not likely that you’re going to be an international Internet meme. Rather, if you spend a fair amount of effort, you should expect that a few more people are going to feel like they know/trust/understand/want to engage with your business or buy its products.

Once we’ve discussed the most likely impact of social media, we need to talk about what type and how much social media the business wants to set up. These decisions themselves depend on why you decided to start a social media campaign.

A common basic motivation is business credibility. Clients expect you to be on Facebook and other platforms, and you do not want to disappoint and seem like an amateur outfit. Simply setting up accounts on a social media platform or two or three and populating them with basic information about your business could be enough. Maybe you’d even be content with claiming a stake on Facebook or another site without having a commitment to making regular (or any) updates.

More commonly, businesses want to build brand awareness. They want potential clients to discover them from their posts and because others have commented or mentioned the business in their posts. Brand awareness looks for spreading the business image by word of mouth in targeted online groups. For example, a local groomer might do a series of posts hoping that the local long hair dachshund owner’s group will mention the groomer’s services aimed at fluffier dogs.

The most intense purpose to be on social media is to obtain sales. Click here to buy/subscribe/join!

How Much Energy are You Willing to Spend?

Most businesses are focused on providing their services or products to customers. The owners didn’t going into business to do social media. So, one of the first things an owner has to do is to decide much of themselves are they willing to devote to social media/marketing.

  • What is your time commitment?
    How much time per day/week/month are you willing to give over to social media? How much of your staff’s time are you will to assign to social media?

Social Media Content Planning Chart
  • How long are you willing to sustain your initial social media push?
    Be realistic. Do you just want to get online to say you’re there, or will you commit to posting to your chosen platforms daily? weekly? monthly? how often?!

How Much Money are You Willing to Spend?

If you want more involvement on social media than you’re able or willing to do yourself, then what do you need help with and how much social media support is reasonable for you to pay for?

Be strategic… even cautious! 

The benefit from most marketing initiatives, including social media and search engine optimization for websites, provide incremental benefits. If you are a one-person or small-group organization whose product or service isn’t very social-media friendly (say manufacturing screws) and your average customer spends $50, then you may want only limited social media exposure. Keep the cost of acquiring new clients in proportion to the revenue each new client brings to your business.

Here are somethings to decide as you draw up your social media budget.

Where Do You Want Help?

Here are some questions to guide you on whether you, your regular staff, or consultants should take primary responsibility:

  • Are you managing your own posts?
    That is, are you scheduling the frequency of your posts and the topics in them?

  • Are you writing your own posts?

  • Are you taking your own photographs?
    Do you want a local consultant/photographer to take them?
    Do you want to use stock photographs?

  • Are you identifying which third-party blogs/posts/photos you want to share with your followers?

  • What social media management tools are you willing to buy?
    How about:

    • Hootsuite
    • Clearview

Where Do You Want to Be Social?

How many social media platforms do you want to participate in? Each takes some time to curate, and each has a different networking focus. Over time Ozdachs has participated in the ones below…

Here are spots I now suggest considering:

  • Facebook

  • Instagram

  • Linked-in

  • YouTube

  • Your Own Blog

  • Others
    Tumblr, Flickr, Vimeo, Snapchat, Yelp, etc., etc.!

There’s a final cautionary note for you when you consider a social media campaign. Of the dozen or so clients I have set up with social media accounts and started their campaigns, maybe one or two kept engaging for a year or more.

Even when the others acquired a reasonable number of followers and could point to clients who found them on social media, most all lost focus and stopped posting. The participation on social media stopped being fun for the owners and the incremental benefits just weren’t worth it.

Of course, even coming and going on social media does have some benefit.  Google and other search engines will continue to credit your business for what you did post. A few potential clients will stumble across your old posts online and contact you. And, for some businesses — especially those that typically make a significant amount of money from each like (like CPA’s, equipment sales people, etc.) — there is a more compelling reason to staying social.

Plus, the work you do to establish social media accounts is a one-time effort. Most social media platforms welcome you back whenever you decide you have more time to participate.

So, my bottom line suggestion is to take the plunge into social media. But, do it after you decide why you’re doing it and what resources you’re committing to the effort.

By |2019-05-10T11:51:10-07:00May 10th, 2019|Blogging, Social Media|0 Comments

The Care and Feeding of Your WordPress Site

You can’t just publish your WordPress website and forget about it for weeks, months, or years as you could for HTML-based pages. (See more on how WordPress sites are different in our previous post.)

A WordPress site needs:

  • Updating of its modules to plug security holes that have been discovered.
  • Monitoring of visitor comments.  You’ll want to respond to questions or complaints, and you will want to encourage people’s comments.
  • Watching for fake spam comments that are loaded with links to scammy sites.
  • Regular, intentional back-ups.
Word Press Dashboard

Dashboard Showing 1 Update Pending

Fortunately, regular maintenance is neither difficult nor time consuming.

Here’s what we suggest.

  • Sign on to your site administration account at least once a week. Pick Mondays at noon or another regular time
    • Review the WordPress Dashboard.  Any pressing tasks will be highlighted in red and also the number of tasks will be shown on the header line at the top.  In the example at right, there is 1 Plug-In Update pending.  If there were comments needing review or theme updates waiting, there would be a red number by those menu items.
    • Click on the lines with red numbers showing, and follow the instructions.  This process will bring your site up to the latest version of its software.
    • Click on the “Comments” menu item and see the new comments have been posted site-wide.  Click on ones you want to respond to.
  • If your site allows any comments,  install the Akismet plug-in to block spam comments automatically.  The service is free for personal sites and $5/month for commercial sites.
  • Set up an unattended backup so that you will have access to a copy of your live system in case something unexpected happens to your hosting service or software.
    • We use Updraft for the sites we create.  The full-featured version allows us to stage a site, show it to a client, and then migrate it to the client’s live URL.  For your website, if you don’t need any special functionality, you maybe able to use Updraft’s free version.  Or, buy your own license for $60/year.
    • You, or your web developer, can install the backup program when your site goes live.  Establish a regular schedule for the backups and test the procedures.

Because WordPress sites are dynamic and can be updated from different locations, your maintenance activity is critical, if not terribly time consuming.  Besides,  although this post is written saying that YOU, the website owner, have maintenance tasks waiting for you with a WordPress site, you can delegate your responsibility.  Ozdachs will do regular or ad hoc maintenance on your WordPress site.  Or, you can assign the routine work to a techy in your organization.

Want more information? Leave your questions here, or call us at 415.347.6479 for a private response.

By |2014-02-09T13:35:10-08:00February 9th, 2014|Blogging, Wordpress|0 Comments

When Algorithms Fail

Least you doubt that companies rely too much on technology to provide automated content on the Internet, consider this screen scrape from today’s Daily Beast:

What the Daily Beast Calls Related Stories

Press releases on natural menopause relief and Rebekah Brooks and news stories on Cathie Black and a new Ambassador to Egypt appear to me to have only one thing in common:  photos of women.

Really?  In 2011 it’s okay to lump together any mention of women into a related category?

Obviously, the Daily Beast doesn’t care if the stories it suggests you click on are related. They are simply shoving more material at you in the hopes that you’ll see something — anything — you like and click.  Perhaps their model includes getting money if you click on one of the “Paid Distribution” articles.  I assumed that “paid distribution” meant that the writer published the story through PRWeb or other press release service, but maybe the payment to the Beast is more direct.

Whatever the reason, the Daily Beast sure cheapens its brand in my opinion.  Employing bad algorithms to trick your readers — whether by intention or by sloppy quality control — says bad things about you.  If you cut corners in your content display, how about in your reporting?

Two final snaps:

  • If your refresh the page, you get different related stories, but they are equally awful.  My second visit:
    Related Stories at The Daily Beast my second visit
    The memory-loss woman’s photo is particularly gruesome, IMHO!
  • The “Related Stories” appeared at the bottom of a news article I found through Google news.  The topic and headline of the master story that these women are supposedly related to:  “Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Dies” on the passing of General John Shalikashvili.
By |2011-07-24T07:14:30-07:00July 24th, 2011|Blogging|0 Comments

We’re Joining the Technorati

The blog directory 52XTAUWXSQA9 blog central site Technorati is periodically re-recommended in industry publications as a place you MUST sign up for. Their sign up process is cumbersome, and we haven’t seen any difference in traffic results based on our status. But, we’re trying it again.

We’ll let you know when this blog is accepted and if we see any interesting traffic results.

By |2011-06-07T08:27:45-07:00June 7th, 2011|Blogging|0 Comments

Who’s Reading Your Blog

A client was puzzled because her business was tanking but it seemed like everyone was reading her blogs. She was getting a lot of comments encouraging her to keep up the good work and telling her how valuable her insights were.

Why weren’t those happy readers calling her for her services?

Sad to say, when I looked at her blog I discovered that it was mostly a spam magnet.  She was getting phony comments from automated programs who were carefully linking back to their own site.  Her blog was being used as a way to deceive Google into thinking that the spammers had a popular web site of their own.

If you’re running a blog, you need two tools:

  1. A spam application that catches suspicious comments and holds them for your approval before publishing them
  2. A comment mechanism that instructs Google not to follow links in comments.

The first tool is essential.  This blog uses a spam filter that catches 100’s of attempts by automated bots to link back to their site.

The second tool is now industry standard for blogging programs like WordPress.  It makes your blog less attractive to smart spammers by robbing them of the Google boost IF any of their spammy comments should get through.  This precaution may make you feel better should the anti-spam program slip up and allow a malicious comment to be published.  However, it generally doesn’t lessen the amount of spam on your blog because most spammers use a shotgun approach and don’t investigate to see if their spam is really going to help them.

Your blog can be helpful to your business and your reputation. Blogging is fun, too!

However, practice safe blogging.  It’ll help you collect realistic statistics, and by robbing spammers of their links you’ll be doing your part to fight slimy Internet practices.

 

By |2011-04-28T18:27:21-07:00May 7th, 2011|Blogging|0 Comments