Larry BraunerThe four-day International Watch Fair on Facebook, which begins Tuesday,  is a free Facebook page event that’s open to the watch industry, the media and the public. Several hundred will attend this unique event at which luxury, fashion and sporty watchmakers will display a wide variety of timepiece collections. You’re welcome to join me there.

The objective of this Facebook watch fair is to increase Gevril Group page membership and member engagement. Importantly, however, the fair is just one of many web-based strategies and techniques I’m using to build the company’s brand. My strategies include search engine optimization, social bookmarking, business networking and email campaigns, as well. It’s the synthesis and synergy of all these strategies that create an ever-growing buzz around the brand.

Since launching the Gevril Group website this past December, the company’s online presence has grown considerably. During the nine-month period since the launch, there were 53,128 visitors to the site and a healthy number of inquiries from consumers, job applicants, the trade and the media. At the same time, I’ve drawn conclusions I shall share with you.

Overall monthly visits grew from 2,221 in December to 8,572 in August as illustrated below:

Gevril Group Website Visits Months 1-9 - All Traffic
Gevril Group<br /> Website Visits Months 1-9 - All Traffic
Click to Enlarge


Initially, there was substantial traffic from social media, particularly StumbleUpon. However, during the nine month period, social media traffic failed to increase:

Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Social Media vs. Non-Social Media Traffic
Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Social Media vs. Non-Social Media Traffic
Click to Enlarge


Facebook traffic grew from 113 to 338 monthly, but while a remarkably useful networking tool, Facebook hasn’t yet become an important traffic source for Gevril Group:

Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Facebook vs. Search StumbleUpon Traffic
Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Facebook vs. Search StumbleUpon Traffic
Click to Enlarge


Unlike social media traffic, SEO traffic grew exponentially from 119 to 4,979 monthly and now accounts for 58% of all monthly visits:

Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Search vs. Non-Search Traffic
Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Search vs. Non-Search Traffic
Click to Enlarge


Search traffic for Gevril Group related keywords grew from 51 to 343 monthly as the company became better known. However, search traffic for other keywords grew much faster from 68 to 4,636 thanks to the ongoing addition of rich content to the website:

Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Gevril Group vs. Non-Gevril Group Search Traffic
Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Gevril Group vs. Non-Gevril Group Search Traffic
Click to Enlarge


Since the inception of the Gevril Group website, 19,591 visits were from SEO; 16,894 from social media; 8,548 from browser bookmarks, links in emails, typed in URLs and untraceable social media; 8,095 from referrals from other non-social websites:

Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Traffic Types
Gevril Group Months 1-9 - Traffic Types
Click to Enlarge


These data are consistent with something I’ve known for a long time. The greatest source of website traffic is search engines, and if a site’s pages are optimized for relevant keywords, search visitors will find those pages’ content relevant. Social media helps to build and solidify relationships, but SEO will attract more traffic in the long run.

Hope you’ll join me at the International Watch Fair on Facebook this week. :)

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Larry BraunerI would love to spend my entire workday blogging, social bookmarking and business networking. However, long ago I discovered that combining these activities with other outreach is both more efficient and more far reaching than relying on social media alone to build a web presence.

Not only social media but search engine optimization, press releases, email marketing — and even advertising — all figure in my web strategy.

Salvatore Ferragamo WatchesOur company represents luxury watch brand Ferragamo Timepieces in the US and Caribbean markets. Industry leader Paul Ziff was appointed US and Caribbean Ferragamo President, and I was responsible as Social Media Director for spreading the word about the appointment and about Ferragamo.

I had about a week to implement a plan and capitalize on the news before it became stale and irrelevant. Our company was ready to host numerous sales meetings in Las Vegas, and I needed to create adequate buzz before the start of the meetings.

The effort consisted of writing and publishing web content related to Paul Ziff and Ferragamo, distributing press releases about Paul’s appointment, and emailing the news to a very large list. We were able to impact several thousand people, thanks to excellent resources and superb teamwork:

  • Marketing expert, blogger and watch enthusiast, John Sealander, did a marvelous job writing all the web content. I merely added a few links and images.
  • Paul Ziff wrote the press release, which was effectively distributed by eRealeases — via PR Newswire — and through their own channels. Our story was picked up by several hundred news websites.
  • Our huge quantity of email messages were delivered and tracked by Green Wave Email Marketing, under the direction of software guru, David Alexander, my good friend of more than 40 years. I use Aweber to manage my blog subscribers, but I prefer Green Wave for my email marketing because David’s service provides greater flexibility and more personalized attention. In my opinion, Green Wave is more geared to mainstream business than Aweber.
  • I leveraged search and social strategies and techniques to drive additional traffic to John’s content on our company website and blogs.

Please subscribe to my blog and share ways in which you’re going beyond social media. :-)

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Larry BraunerMy top social media sites aren’t particularly the social sites that receive the greatest number of visitors. They’re social media sites I find the most pleasurable to use and that fit in some way into my search and social strategy.

My top 10 social media sites nicely complement all of my blogging and search engine optimization efforts. Your list of top social media sites will likely differ from mine, since it’s highly improbable that you and I will share identical search and social strategies.

For the record, here are the Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Websites, the Top 15 Most Popular Web 2.0 Websites, and the Top 15 Most Popular Social Bookmarking Websites according to eBizMBA, from which you can pick and choose.

My Top Social Media Sites

Social Media SitesThe following are my top 10 social media sites at present, and while Facebook is my favorite social media site by far, the rest of the social media sites are listed only very approximately in order of my personal preference.

  1. Facebook - I spend more time on Facebook than on all other social media sites combined. I use my Facebook profile for networking and my Facebook page, as well as those of my place of business and my clients, for marketing and for community building. I also participate in quite a few of the new Facebook groups.
  2. Ning - I use Ning for marketing and for community building. My favorite Ning social networking websites are the Small Business Network and My Linking Power Forum. I plan to launch more Ning sites in the future.
  3. LinkedIn - I use LinkedIn strictly for business networking and have more than 4,000 direct connections. You may add me to your network using the email address in my LinkedIn profile.
  4. Twitter - I manage a number of Twitter business accounts using my Tweet Adder software. My main account is @larrybrauner. I share lots of links on Twitter and monitor each account for mentions and replies.
  5. StumbleUpon - Of all the social media sites listed, StumbleUpon is the one that generates the most web traffic. I’ve already shared more than 700 web pages through my StumbleUpon account. Share as many good web pages as you can and categorize them well.
  6. Business Exchange - I use my account at Business Exchange to share business content and to rub elbows with the information elite. Occasionally, I receive large bursts of traffic from this bookmarking site.
  7. Amplify - I share content as often as I can on Amplify, partly for the Amplify community and partly for the dofollow links this micro-blogging site provides.
  8. Posterous - Ditto for my micro-blog on Posterous.
  9. Delicious - Content on Delicious is often picked up and linked-to by other sites. Use tags correctly, with hyphens or underscores between the words in your keyword phrases for best results. I believe that it also helps content to get indexed quickly by the search engines.
  10. Digg - I use Digg for pretty much the same benefits as Delicious.

Now it’s your turn. Which social media sites do you like and why? :-)

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Larry BraunerIn the past year, “findability” has become something of a buzzword, yet findability is much more than a buzzword.

Findability is people’s ability locate and engage with your web content through a combination of search and social mechanisms. And findability convergence is interaction you create and synergy you foster between search and social strategies and techniques.

Findability Trumps Quantity and Quality

Your web presence is at least as much governed by the findability of your content as it is by its quantity and quality. Findability activities need to be fully integrated with your web content production to permit your intended audience to find and interact with that content.

As I stated in Why Bad Things Happen to Good Content, “Sadly, very many potentially useful web sites languish in obscurity like proverbial trees falling in forests with no one around to hear them. While these web sites have excellent content, they have few readers to use or enjoy that content [i.e., they lack findability].

“Good content needs to be consumed. I would rather publish marginally good material that is highly consumed than top-notch content that merely gathers dust.”

Focus on Search and Social

Findability is necessary if your content is to be consumed and discussed. So if you’re content is good but isn’t getting enough reaction, your search and social initiatives are probably falling short.

Weekly Website Traffic from All SourcesThe New Website Traffic Case Study — Watch Company — Weeks 1-13 that I presented two weeks ago was an example of using search and social to increase content findability.

Focus as much on search and social as you do on content, and your web presence will grow.

Please subscribe to my blog, “like” my Facebook page, and leave me a comment or feedback. :-)

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Larry BraunerI wrote back in November that I was launching a website and building a web presence for a small business that makes luxury watches and that also handles distribution for other upscale watch brands.

Generating website traffic is a key aspect of any online initiative, and I devised a four-part plan for attracting website visitors:

  1. Company Contact Lists - Mailing to existing lists of company business contacts.
  2. SEO - Posting search optimized web content six or more times per week on the company blogs.
  3. Social Media Sites - Reaching out on Facebook, Twitter, Small Business Network, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Amplify, Business Exchange, Posterous, etc.
  4. Community Building - Using website widgets and TweetAdder to grow a following on Facebook and Twitter, as well as an RSS and email subscriber base.

After 13 weeks of effort, I’m pretty satisfied with the growth of website traffic. However, I am very subjective, so I welcome your feedback.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources

Website traffic started to explode around week 9 or 10, and reached 1,741 website visits in the 13th week.

Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from All Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from StumbleUpon

Website traffic from StumbleUpon has been fairly flat all along, averaging around 400 visits per week. I don’t know how to quantify the benefit from StumbleUpon traffic, but I’m hoping that such traffic, weak as it is, still contributes something to added awareness of the company’s watches and their brands.

Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Weekly Website Traffic from Stumble Upon
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Search Engines

Targeted website traffic from search engines is, according to my thinking, the most important form of web traffic. The effect of search engine optimized content can be both far reaching and long lasting.

Weekly website traffic from search engines to the company domain has been growing all along, but it really took off in the 9th week and exceeded 500 visits in week 13.

Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Weekly Search Traffic from Search Engines
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources

Website traffic from other sources including direct traffic and email traffic was substantial.

On the other hand, with the exception of StumbleUpon, none of the social media sites are yet providing large numbers of visitors, although several are providing high quality inbound links that help off-page search engine optimization.

Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Weekly Website Traffic from Other Sources
Click to View Enlarged Chart

Additional Website Traffic Strategies and Techniques

Phase two, which begins tomorrow, will feature additional website traffic strategies and techniques that will accelerate website traffic growth and increase website stickiness. I look forward to presenting the results of this phase three months from now.

Please subscribe to my blog, “like” my Facebook page, and leave me a comment or feedback. :-)

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Larry BraunerSocial networking sites have each a unique protocol and don’t usually provide members with practical how-to advice to help use their sites effectively. They let us figure out the how-tos on our own.

I share in this article my basic LinkedIn how-tos that may shorten your learning curve and save you time and frustration. They are merely suggestions, not rigid guidelines. If you have an idea or advice you find helpful, please share it with us in a comment.

LinkedInHere are ten tips for maximizing your LinkedIn social networking success:

  1. Your LinkedIn profile is your resume. Put at least as much effort into creating and perfecting your profile as you would your resume.
  2. SEO can help you to be findable on LinkedIn, as well as other social networking sites. Employ keywords that are relevant to your work when crafting your profile, so that you and your profile can appear in search results.
  3. LinkedIn permits members to view profiles of other members within three degrees of separation from each other or who share common LinkedIn groups. Increasing your visibility increases your reach.
  4. To increase your vertical reach (in your areas of interest), join every relevant LinkedIn group. To increase your horizontal (i.e. overall) reach, increase your number of LinkedIn connections. I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn!
  5. To increase your number of connections, connect directly to as many other members as you can, especially well connected members. You can send direct connections messages or emails whenever you wish.
  6. Don’t invite people to connect haphazardly, as LinkedIn will restrict you if people you invite complain that they don’t know you (as they sometimes do). Instead, join LinkedIn open networker groups, such as Top Linked, for people who welcome (but don’t necessarily accept) all connection requests. Reach out to fellow group members, and be receptive to members who reach out to you.
  7. Join discussions in groups by posting or commenting when you have something valuable to add, but don’t spam the discussion board or post anything inappropriate.
  8. Tell new connections you’re on Facebook (if you are) when thanking them for connecting. Facebook has made it hard to add friends, so this tactic is useful. (See 3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011: Good-Bye Facebook Open Networking.)
  9. Provide your Twitter handle (if you have one) where requested by LinkedIn to appear in your LinkedIn profile.
  10. Keep at it. It takes a very substantial amount of time to build a strong presence on LinkedIn or any of the other social networking sites.

Happy linking!

Please subscribe and leave me a comment. :)

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Mastering social media one bite at a time the past few years was an effective strategy for me, as the needs of my small number of clients were modest enough.

That’s changing, as I’ve been engaged as social media and web strategist by the Gevril Group in Valley Cottage, NY, luxury watch distributor, a forward-thinking business with ambitious marketing goals.

A one-bite-at-a-time social media marketing approach for Gevril would be way too laid-back and totally unrealistic.

Gevril’s Social Media and Web Marketing Plan

Gevril Group Luxury WatchesI’ve crafted for Gevril a multi-faceted web marketing plan that matches the company’s far-reaching objectives.

All parts of my plan are to be managed and executed concurrently:

  • Community and List Building - Developing a community and building a subscriber base are impacted by nearly all social media and web marketing functions.
  • Content Creation - The story of each Gevril Group brand needs to be told, and articles, newsletters and press releases need to be written, as well.
  • Web Sites - Ivo Jackson and I are designing GevrilGroup.com. The Gevril Group website will be the hub of the Gevril web presence and a key resource for contact list building.
  • Blogging - Blogs will be used to post fresh content, such as news and product information. We’ve launched several Gevril Group blogs: Watch Brands and Luxury Watches and Men’s Watches.
  • Search Engine Optimization - SEO and social media complement each other very nicely. About 50% of my blog’s traffic comes from searches. Whenever new content is created, SEO needs to be applied. The free Google Keyword Tool is my favorite SEO resource.
  • Email Marketing - We’ll email press releases, and news about products and events to our email marketing lists.
  • Facebook - I’ve set up a facebook.com/GevrilGroup on Facebook, a social networking site I’m quite comfortable with. I hope to build an active community of watch enthusiasts around Gevril’s Facebook page.
  • Twitter - I’ve set up @GevrilGroup on Twitter and will use Tweet Adder to manage the Gevril account and build a targeted following.
  • LinkedIn - While still working on a strategy for LinkedIn, I’ve already joined many relevant LinkedIn groups. I will next create a Gevril company page.
  • Social Bookmarking Sites - I’ve lately received a lot of quality blog traffic from Business Exchange, so I created a Business Exchange topic for the watch industry. I’ll also use Digg, StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites.
  • Niche Social Networks - Social networking sites and forums catering to watches or luxury will help Gevril connect with watch enthusiasts.
  • Group Buying - I’ve ruled out Groupon and similar sites as potential marketing channels, but very much like GroupGain, a new website with a new group buying concept that has yet to launch.

Gevril Men's 5101 Rose Gold Avenue of Americas Automatic Date WatchThe ultimate goal of Gevril’s marketing initiatives is to increase sales by enlisting vendors and by creating more consumer demand.

Therefore, every aspect of Gevril’s social media and web marketing plan must contribute directly or indirectly to an increase in Gevril’s sales.

Please visit and follow the Gevril Group on Facebook and Twitter. I hope to see you there. ;-)

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Larry BraunerTwitter and LinkedIn partnered last fall enabling you to automatically tweet your LinkedIn status and to post your Twitter tweets on LinkedIn.

However, I envisioned a much more significant integration of the two social media sites than merely enabling users to cross-post with ease.

I predicted in Top 10 Reasons Why the Twitter LinkedIn Partnership is Big News that the integration of Twitter and LinkedIn would reduce an enormous amount of content by functioning more or less like a Twitter list containing members of your LinkedIn network.

LinkedIn Signal Beta

With the recent release of LinkedIn Signal Beta, unveiled at TechCrunch Disrupt, a fuller integration of Twitter and LinkedIn is already at hand.

LinkedIn users will be able to search Twitter using keywords and filter the results by degree of connection, industry, company, time posted, region, school and hashtags.

To increase its integration with Twitter, LinkedIn needed the Twitter handles of its users, in order to identify relevant tweets within Twitter’s database. LinkedIn obtained the needed Twitter handles by encouraging users to avail themselves of the initial integration and by letting them display a Twitter link on their LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Signal New Twitter Search Engine for Business


Uses for LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal will make LinkedIn the Twitter search engine of choice for business users. At the same time, LinkedIn Signal becomes a powerful online networking tool. You’ll easily see what your connections are tweeting, and you’ll more readily find new people with whom to connect.

LinkedIn is already the business networking site of business networking sites. Now, as a powerful Twitter search engine for business too, LinkedIn is the go-to social website for all hoping to transact business on the web. You’re welcome to connect with me there: www.LinkedIn.com/in/brauner

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Larry BraunerSeven years ago in November 2003, I began my online networking exploration on Ryze, a new social web site which was, along with LinkedIn, one of the first social networking and business networking sites.

It wasn’t until 2006, after I’d already joined a number of additional social networking websites, that I learned that these sites were the precursors of a much larger social media phenomenon. I also learned about the importance of blogs, explained by Darren Rouse in his video which I embedded in Not Ready for Social Media Marketing.

Third BlogiversaryI launched this blog, Online Social Networking, in November 2007, and yes, I am celebrating my third blogiversary. :-D

In Social Media One Bite at a Time and 7 Tips for Winning the Social Media Marathon, I discuss the social media mindset and some of the social media strategies I’ve found very helpful.

Building My Social Media and Web Presence

Here is a list of my 10 top strategies for building my social media and web presence:

  1. Partnership - Building relationships though blogging, online social networking and social bookmarking sites.
  2. Content - Writing and publishing well thought-out and occasionally useful articles on my two blogs.
  3. Search Engine Optimization - Ongoing keyword research and SEO. 50% of all my web site traffic comes directly from search engines.
  4. Diversification - Creating a presence on diverse social media sites and cultivating diverse web site traffic sources.
  5. Innovation - Experimenting with many ideas, some work out and others flop, while resisting any urges to follow the crowd.
  6. Boldness - Haven’t been afraid to test the limits of social websites and social media strategies. Twitter removed @larrybrauner from their search results, Sphinn terminated my account, and Facebook sends me sweet little love messages when I become more ambitious than they like. All I can say is, “C’est la vie.” Meekness isn’t a good quality in a marketer.
  7. Planning - Always researching and frequently reevaluating and refining my web marketing and branding plan. Flexibility must accompany social media and web marketing planning.
  8. Attitude - Persevering, staying upbeat and focusing, even when I didn’t feel like it, such as when my Dad passed away last year, or when my search engine traffic dipped during this past summer.
  9. Tools - Taking advantage of a variety of social media, SEO and web analytics tools.
  10. Widgets - Integrating social media with my blogs through using website widgets.

Thank you for partnering with me and helping me all these years with my social media and web marketing efforts. :-D

Share Your Social Media Strategies

What are your most successful strategies for building your social media and web presence?

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Larry Brauner

In Social Media vs. Search Engine Optimization, worth a read, I discussed the synergy between social media and search engine optimization.

Today, thanks to heated competition between Facebook and Google, the connection between social media and SEO may become much tighter than a mere relationship of loose synergy.

A More Natural Form of Search

According to the Wired.com article which I referenced in Most Popular Social Networking Sites for Business, “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg envisions a more personalized, humanized Web, where our network of friends, colleagues, peers, and family is our primary source of information, just as it is offline.”

In other words, the endorsements of both web pages and their authors by people in our personal networks will influence the outcomes of online searches we perform as much as or more than the current system which analyzes external links to determine a site’s authority and relevance.

New Role of Social Media in SEO

Facebook intends to leverage the vast amount of member data stored in its global network to facilitate this type of search.

Facebook is adding tons of new data by the second through its site, as well as via its Facebook Connect API that opens a window into a growing number of other sites such as Digg.com.

Google is pursuing initiatives to develop its own proprietary data through Google Friend Connect and the anticipated releases of Google Wave and Google Chrome OS.

Furthermore, all search providers can mine public web data to monitor additional social media buzz about web pages and their authors.

Let’s consider how big this SEO paradigm shift will be.

Social Media Presence

In the new SEO, your online reputation is an integral part of your overall web presence and influences your search results. Social media enables you to nurture the relationships and shape the opinions that underlie your online reputation and social capital.

So important is social capital today that new products and services such as Sumbaa, by Paden Noble Consulting and Morpholytics, LLC, are emerging to meet a fast-growing need in the marketplace.

Webmasters work to build external links to their company’s web pages. Savvy companies are already beginning to dedicate additional staff to build and manage social capital as well.

High Cost of Complacency

Companies that neglect their social media presence will suffer in several ways:

  • They’ll have no influence over their online reputation.
  • Their customers will view them as backward.
  • They won’t receive traffic from social media sites.
  • They’ll receive less search engine traffic too.

Be Proactive

Build your social media presence right away. Pay special attention to Facebook and Google. I intend to write much more about Facebook and Google in future articles.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, please take a minute to join my Facebook and Google networks using the widgets on my right sidebar.

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