Larry BraunerIn 8 Simple Ways to Penetrate Social Media Clutter, I recommended  that you leverage multiple traffic sources. In Looking for Traffic in All the Wrong Places, I gave you a partial list of the places I look to get more website traffic.

Based upon Google Analytics data pertaining to my recent blog visits, bounce rates and average time on site, I present my top 10 blog traffic sources along with some notes on each:

  1. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing - They account for 35% of my traffic. When my blog was new, I didn’t get any search engine traffic at all. Now, however, I get 5,000 visits from searches per month — including business people seeking precisely the types of services I offer. The credit goes to search engine optimization and to a growing reservoir of content.
  2. Entrecard, a traffic exchange for bloggers - Admittedly, Entrecard provides me with lots of worthless traffic. Fortunately, however, the site provides me with some great traffic too and an opportunity to build key relationships with other bloggers. One of my favorites at Entrecard is Gera from Uruguay, owner of the Sweets Foods blog. He and I are now also connected by email, Facebook and Twitter. As with all other traffic sources, to benefit from Entrecard you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to developing it.
  3. Twitter - I’ve written at length about Twitter. Read Twitter Stats Defy Measurement. I’m happy to have started with Twitter in 2008 when Twitter’s rules didn’t get in the way of building a large following. Today, different tactics are necessary to connect with your target audience. Start by encouraging your website visitors and friends on social networking sites to follow you on Twitter. Then gradually introduce new Twitter tools into your mix. My favorite tool, Tweet Adder, which I use daily, is worth the small investment.
  4. Facebook - I turned my attention to Facebook in June 2009 and experimented with the NetworkedBlogs application, which may have introduced new readers to my blog, but proved to be a poor source of ongoing traffic. On the other hand, profiles, fan pages and events showed themselves to be excellent traffic sources. It seems to me, so far, that Facebook fan pages are very effective as a form of web site subscription.
  5. Ning social network - I’m sorry to report that Ning has morphed into a host of unrelated niche sites. If you have your own Ning site, or a group or lots of friends on someone else’s Ning site, you can use that site to move traffic. As with Twitter, getting started with Ning is harder than it used to be, and the marketing benefits are fewer. I belong to many Ning sites and have several of my own. My primary Ning site is Small Business Network.
  6. Business Exchange - Discovered this social bookmarking site recently and wrote about it in 12 Tips for Using Business Week’s Social Bookmarking Site. I’m hoping that Business Exchange will help me generate a lot of high quality traffic in the year to come.
  7. Blog Catalog - If you have a blog and decide to use BlogCatalog, start your own group there; make many friends on the site and invite them to join your group. Those who join are interested in you and your group’s theme.
  8. StumbleUpon - Planning to learn much more about StumbleUpon and use it much more this year. I’ll keep you posted.
  9. LinkedIn - While well connected on LinkedIn, I’m not using it much at present. Most of my LinkedIn traffic is coming as a result of the Twitter LinkedIn integration.
  10. Ryze - Here I first encountered online social networking back in 2003. I  find Ryze very underwhelming in 2010. The traffic I get from Ryze comes from posting in groups, which are really forums.

I believe that Blogger is sending me websitetraffic because of Google Friend Connect. Also, I heard a rumor that Yahoo! is dumping MyBlogLog. Will let you know about both of them.

You made it all the way down here. Why not scroll down a drop more and leave a comment? ;-)

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Larry BraunerI spoke on December 9 with Rohn Robbins, Vail, Colorado attorney and the host of Community Focus on The Zephyr, True Local Radio, KZYR 97.7FM.

During the hour-long radio show, Rohn and I  discussed social media, online social networking and the most popular social networking sites from social, cultural, political, security and privacy perspectives.

While I continue to analyze the sites posted on my Facebook page during our website promotion event and social media party, pour yourself a drink and listen to the podcast online or download it to your iPod or MP3 player for offline listening.

You can find additional interviews and press coverage on my Media Buzz page.

Please share your thoughts about the world of social media and social networking sites, using the handy comment space provided below for your convenience. ;-)

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Larry BraunerOur website promotion event and social media party was an enormous success. Hundreds actively participated, introducing their web sites, engaging in dialog and making new connections.

Fortunately, the time frame for the networking phase of the event is open-ended, so drop by my Facebook page any time to meet some new people and check out what they’re up to. I’ll be busy working on the page for a few more days, reviewing web sites I haven’t yet visited.

Self PromotionOur four-day event was in part an experiment, as Tom Woolf pointed out. A key takeaway for me is that many people are promoting their products, services, companies interests and causes but not sufficiently promoting them- selves.

Keeping a low profile may occasionally be appropriate. However, in general, self-promotion is integral to social media marketing and public relations.

These are eight reasons why self-promotion and injecting yourself into your content are very important:

  1. You transcend your interests.  No interest or group of interests, no matter how passionate you are about them, can fully define you as a person. Admittedly, this point is too existential, so…
  2. Your subject matter might lose relevance. For example, your product can be discontinued or your company can go out of business. Your content will become irrelevant with no residual benefit from the effort you put into creating and promoting it. However…
  3. You’re always relevant as a person. You have inherent value, and you’re completely portable from one venue to another.
  4. You and I are unique. People aren’t interchangeable, but products, services and organizations tend to be.
  5. You and I are memorable. People will come to remember us and our faces once they see us a few times.
  6. People prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust. It has always been that way, even before Al Gore allegedly invented the Internet. You and I can relate to people and build solid social capital.
  7. Synergy. Our diverse interests and content work to build a bigger and more insightful picture of us.
  8. Social media is uhh, social. You and I are social. Our jewelry and weight loss products merely facilitate social interaction. People relate to people, and their relationships are ongoing.

More about promoting yourself and personal branding in upcoming articles.

At this time, you can probably suggest additional reasons for keeping it social, and I expect that you will. ;-)

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Larry BraunerA few days into 2010, I launched a major publicity event in connection with my upcoming 58th birthday. The event will take place right on my Facebook fan page.

This event’s premise is that each guest will post a link on my Facebook fan page, visible for all to see. They may link to a blog, a website or even a profile on one of the major social networking sites. I agreed to follow their link with the intention of commenting, sharing the link, or submitting it to social bookmarking sites.

When I undertook this unusual event, I was aware that I would be busy with it for weeks. I planned it very carefully with seven key objectives in mind:

  1. Win Win - I wanted each event participant to benefit, not only me.
  2. Interaction - I wanted to interact with each participant and start or nurture relationships. Community engagement is always a challenge.
  3. Meeting People - I wanted to expand my network and connect with new people.
  4. Collaboration - I wanted to share my expertise and influence. I believed that a good number of participants would want to do the same. Collaboration is a primary theme for me in 2010.
  5. Branding - I wanted to demonstrate that I could conceptualize and implement a creative and meaningful social media event as part of my overall walking the walk strategy.
  6. Leverage - In 2009 I reached out to many people. I wanted to do something that would include them and permit them to support me.
  7. Momentum - After a slow 2009 holiday season, I wanted to build new momentum. Last year’s momentum was sustained by the articles I wrote and the growth of my network. This year’s momentum will be sustained by community-oriented projects as well.

The initial reaction to my event on Facebook, Twitter and blogs has been very encouraging.

  • Tom Woolf, author of The PRagmatist, was enthusiastic: “I want to give Larry Brauner a nod for trying a different kind of social media experiment.”
  • W. James Wright in Tweet it Toronto lamented “This is one for the ‘Wish I Woulda Thoughta That File.’”
  • Rachel McAlpine in Contented Blog said “How quickly the shiny- new Facebook became boring-boring same-old same-old. I’m happy to say that Larry’s virtual party has already seeded my brain with other social marketing ideas.”

As I prepare to publish this article, 260 people have indicated that they’re “Attending” and 165 that they’re “Maybe Attending.” Entries will be accepted until the end of the event on January 14. I cover the details in 4+ Day Blog and Website Promotion Event and Social Media Party. It would help greatly if you could tweet that article (using this pre-formatted link).

If you could Digg this article and share it with acquaintances in the media, you’d be doing me an enormous favor.

Before I go, I must not forget to mention that there will be door prizes. The prizes and the winners will be announced some time after the completion of the event. Also, in case you’re new here and wondering, subscribing and commenting are the accepted norms. ;-)

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Larry BraunerTo start off a year of greater collaboration and celebrate my 58th birthday, I’m hosting a unique four-day blog and web site promotion event and social media party on my Facebook fan page.

What’s truly unique about this event is that I plan to check out every link posted on my page and comment, share the link, and submit it to social bookmarking sites, as I deem appropriate.

Over a hundred people have registered so far, and many more are expected to sign up for this free event.

Everybody may participate. It’s not necessary to have a blog or other website.

If you’d like to donate a door prize such as an info product or a coaching session, please connect with me as quickly as possible.

Here are answers to 19 or 20 infrequently asked questions:

  1. How do I register for this event? Visit the event page and click on Attending. If you’re not a Facebook member, join Facebook first.
  2. When does this event take place? From January 11-14 according to the date wherever you are. EXTENDED UNTIL JANUARY 15, NOON EST. NO DEADLINE FOR NETWORKING AND COMMENTING ON POSTS.
  3. Do I have to be awake and online for 96 hours? Not unless you want to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.
  4. Can I click on Maybe? You can, but why would you? The party is four days long. Either you’re going to stop by or you’re not.
  5. In what ways can I participate? You can post a link to your blog or website on my Facebook page along with a brief non-hypey introduction. You can network (see below) with other people and check out their links. You can even be a fly on the wall (no pun intended) and just chill.
  6. What if I don’t have a blog or other website? Post a link to your Facebook page or profile, to your Twitter profile, LinkedIn profile, etc.
  7. What am I not permitted to promote? No porn or hate content. No predominantly religious content. (I was careful not to include them all in the same sentence.)
  8. How many links may I post during the event? One with an exception…
  9. What if you don’t get to me? If I don’t get to acknowledge your post within seven days, you may post a new link or re-post the old one.
  10. Can I network with other participants? You are encouraged to network, but please do so in a professional manner to avoid being cast into the snake and scorpion infested dungeon.
  11. When will you be hosting another event like this one? I don’t know. It depends on how this one goes. If I must hire bouncers, that won’t be a good sign.
  12. What happens if I don’t attend this one? You’ll have to live with a guilty conscience for all eternity.
  13. Will dessert be served? Yes. Chocolate cyber cake and virtual vanilla ice cream. Yum!
  14. This bullet point intentionally left blank.
  15. Do I need to bring a birthday present? No, but you can help promote this event.
  16. How can I help promote this event? You can link to this article, share it on FB, tweet it (using this handy link), Stumble it, Digg it, or print copies and mail them to all your friends, family and colleagues.
  17. Is this some kind of April Fools joke? Only if you’re reading this on April 1st.
  18. What if I think 58 is old? Keep your opinion to yourself.
  19. What if I don’t think any of this is very funny? Get a life.
  20. What if you haven’t answered my question? You can ask your question below in a comment. I’ll answer it, if it makes sense to me.

Note that I reserve the right to modify the rules and conditions of this event arbitrarily and capriciously with or without prior or subsequent notice.

Don’t hesitate to subscribe, leave a comment, or join my Facebook Fan page. ;-)

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Larry BraunerAs we begin 2010, I wish you real success, both online and off, in the year ahead.

In a video I’ve already already shown you, marketing expert Darren Rouse, author of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, explains in detail his blog-centric approach to building a web presence, in which his blogs are his home base, and social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube are his outposts.

Some readers have questioned the necessity of starting a blog, since a blog can consume more time than a business might be prepared to invest in their social media initiative.

I agree that starting a blog is not absolutely necessary.

Businesses can choose among various alternatives when establishing their social media home bases. However, these alternatives are less ideal than a blog for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Inadequate Control - When a site is owned by someone else, they modify the terms or remove users arbitrarily, not caring at all that it’s your home base.
  • Inadequate Communication - The site’s features don’t sufficiently enable two-way communication between you and your community members.
  • Inadequate Flexibility - The structure, linking or other features of the site are too rigid.
  • Too Resource Intensive - The expense far exceeds the alternative cost of starting and maintaining a blog.

These are some major alternatives to the blog-centric approach and the reasons they are problematic:

  • Static Website -Inadequate communication and flexibility.
  • Your Own Ning Network or Facebook Page - Inadequate control and flexibility.
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Squidoo etc. - Inadequate control, communication and flexibility.
  • Self-Hosted Social Networking Site - Too resource intensive.

Note also that search engines are consistently receptive to blogs, and that some social media sites and Facebook apps cater to blogs and bloggers.

If I couldn’t use a blog for whatever reason, a static website (equipped for lead capture) coupled with a Facebook Page or perhaps my own Ning (or SocialGO) social networking sites might be workable, but…

There ain’t nothing like a blog!

Start 2010 off right: Subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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