Larry BraunerThe social media and web marketing space is evolving, and we must therefore continually revise our social media and web marketing strategies and techniques.

Here are several cases in point that affect social media and web marketing practice, especially for small business.

Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking

FacebookFor years, Facebook was an open social networking site that permitted members to befriend people whom they didn’t know despite mounting privacy concerns.

However, in 2010, Facebook tightened its friending policies in order to combat phishing and spamming practices.

It appears that Facebook now evaluates friend requests based on degrees of separation and profiles users who repeatedly go out-of-bounds, restricting their friending capabilities.

Consequently, we must regard Facebook as a closed networking site going forward, despite the Facebook Freedom to Share and Connect principle, and find approaches to building our Facebook networks that don’t raise red flags.

Hello Ning Open Networking

Ning Social NetworksSince the Ning shift earlier this year from free or paid networks to paid-only networks, protest from disgruntled free-site creators has subsided and, as promised, Ning has come through with improved functionality upgraded periodically.

While Ning cannot compete with Facebook based neither on popularity nor functionality, Ning is nevertheless a great platform for creating niche social networking sites and for open networking.

I’ve dedicated the Small Business Network, my own Ning networking site, to the pursuit of open social and business networking, and I would be delighted if you would join me there.

You can still share via broadcast any of your Ning content, like blog posts or pictures, with all your Ning friends, a feature not found on the Facebook or LinkedIn social networks.

Search Engine Optimization Still Pays Big

GoogleNotwithstanding my remarks in The NEW Search Engine Optimization, search engines are still the mightiest source of website traffic, and SEO is still the most vital web marketing activity.

Social media sites send thousands of visitors per month to Online Social Networking. However, Google and other search engines send much more. Having a website or blog site and optimizing it for search engines and humans is of paramount importance if you want to market successfully on the web.

Put website development and optimization at the very top of your to-do list for 2011.

Please accept my sincere wishes for a healthy, fulfilling and peaceful New Year. I look forward to growing and sharing with you in the years to come.

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A Facebook friend inquired about my top website traffic sources for 2010. I looked, and my sources for website traffic haven’t really changed much since I published My Top 10+ Blog and Website Traffic Sources in January.

My list of traffic sources is a good start for most web marketing endeavors, but it’s only that — a good start.

Hitting the Right Mix of Website Traffic Sources

Get More Web Site TrafficEach marketing initiative is different and needs its own mix of resources. Exploration is necessary to determine an appropriate mix of traffic sources for each project.

For example, StumbleUpon sent this blog 281 visitors in the past 30 days, but in the past 17 days alone, it sent the new Gevril Group web domain I’m building 991 visitors!

So far it appears that StumbleUpon may be more responsive to my luxury watches and watch brands content than it has been to my social media and web marketing content, an observation I would not have gleaned had I written off StumbleUpon based on past disappointing results.

Lists of traffic sources are easy enough to find, so too few traffic sources can’t be the cause for not hitting the right mix of traffic sources. A lack of proper experimentation, adequate traffic diversification and perseverance is a more likely cause for disappointing website traffic.

Too Little for Too Short a Time

Most new marketers do too little for too short a time to hit their mix of website traffic sources, especially with regard to SEO, a major website traffic source that requires substantial time to grow.

Check out my increase website traffic articles for many more tips and, by the way, in case you’re new, this is a good time for you to subscribe and leave a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerFacebook is starting to look like other social networking sites. The once popular minimalist Facebook user interface has morphed into a collage of random images, notifications and advertisements.

Introducing the new In-Your-Facebook. The new Facebook could merge with MySpace, and we might not even notice. :-P

Facebook Personal Profiles not Great for Business

FacebookI listed 7 Issues to Consider About Doing Business on Facebook. Let me add another issue to my list: Facebook personal profiles aren’t professional looking any longer.

If you’re using your personal Facebook profile for business, my advice is to diversify your online social networking, so that you will be able to get along well enough without it.

Don’t abandon your personal profile yet, and certainly don’t stop building up your Facebook business or fan page. Facebook fan pages are still cool.

Facebook Networking Alternatives

LinkedIn, niche Ning networks and Twitter are all viable business networking alternatives to Facebook. I invite you to connect with me on each these platforms:

What do you think of the direction in which Facebook personal profiles are headed?

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Larry BraunerWCBS Radio 880 reported, based upon a source I have not been able to find, that personal blogs had peaked, and that people find the time commitment necessary for blogging to be excessive.

In other words, bloggers are experiencing burn-out, because they have difficulty justifying the investment of time and energy in their personal blogs.

Perhaps you’ve heard this story too. In any case, I’m asking, what will you do with this information? Will it will be a justification for quitting blogging? Will it be an excuse for not starting? I’ll share with you my perspective.

How Often Must You Blog?

Many believe that you must blog daily to grow an audience. I do not. While blogging daily might be optimal, less frequent but consistent blogging can lead to success. My personal strategy is to post here at least once per week, usually Sunday evening. I post a second time if a need arises. Applying the 80/20 rule, I’ve achieved a substantial result from ongoing moderate effort.

Craft a blogging plan based on your own situation and objectives. Blogging isn’t one size fits all.

Can Less Competition for Blog Readers Hurt?

Readers' EyeballsSuppose that personal blogs really are waning. Why should you become just another statistic? Less competition for readers’ eyeballs will help, not hurt. Some people want to quit blogging or not start, but you and I don’t have to follow their lead. People who blog intelligently will thrive. I prefer to be one of those people. How about you? :-)

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