Larry BraunerIn case you haven’t heard, “Friend Connect will be retired March 1, 2012,” says Google. This is not pleasant news for those websites that have sizable Google Friend Connect communities and whose community members have opted to receive newsletters from the site.

Google recommends that you join Google+ and invite your community to join with you in order to keep in touch. Compared to Google Friend Connect, Google+ is a rather lame tool for staying in touch. Google Friend Connect newsletters permitted direct community contact.

Google Ploy

Google+Google+ got off to a great start but seems to have lost much of its original momentum and engagement. Google probably hopes to give Google+ a shot in the arm by terminating Google Friend Connect and redirecting members.

If you have a community and wish to stay in touch, here are two approaches for creating email lists, are better than merely joining Google+ as Google advises.

If you have a small budget for an email contact list, I can use Aweber or Green Wave Email Marketing. I’m using both of them. Once you’re set up, ask your community to subscribe to your newsletter.

For a free email list, you can create your own group on a Ning social networking site, such as my Small Business Network. You will be able to email group members and to network with each other.

Invitation

I invite you to subscribe to this Online Social Networking blog and to join Small Business Network, so that we can stay in touch with each other. I’m also on Google+, Facebook , LinkedIn and Twitter.

I love to network, and I’m very accessible. :-)

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Larry Brauner3 Key Social Media and Web Marketing Strategies for 2011 discussed the decline of open networking on Facebook, the revival of Ning networks and the continued relevance of websites and SEO in building your web presence.

Here are several more social media marketing ideas for the new year that can be especially helpful for small business marketers and entrepreneurs.

Bigger Long-Term SEO Objectives

GoogleOne of the most serious social media and web marketing mistakes I’ve ever made was choosing Online Social Networking as the name of this blog.

I considered naming my blog Social Networking Sites but decided not to, because social networking sites seemed too competitive a keyword phrase for the newbie that I was. Online social networking is searched for 12K times monthly compared to 250K for social networking sites. 12K per month seemed like more than enough traffic to me at that time.

Online social networking was a “reasonable” keyword term. Since it was much less popular than the often searched-for term social networking sites, I hoped to rank for it relatively quickly. However, in the long run, I believe that social networking sites would’ve brought me both greater and more profitable traffic.

My blog probably wouldn’t have yet hit the #1 spot in the search engines for the search term social networking sites as it has already for online social networking, but it would’ve ranked much higher for social networking sites than the present #32 and might have still placed close to the top for online social networking.

I should have considered long term potential and selected more ambitious keywords, just as I have for Gevril, for whom I’ve chosen tough keyword phrases, such as luxury watches and mens watches.

In month one, Gevril Group received 150 search visits. I’ll let you know what happens in month two.

Ning Network Groups

Ning Social NetworksNing groups function like Facebook groups with a few welcome exceptions:

  • Your potential emailing list is unlimited. You can broadcast to Ning group members even after their count exceeds 5,000.
  • The content of your Ning group can be indexed by Google and other search engines, and the greater your group membership, the greater your authority with the search engines will tend to be.
  • Group activity is displayed in your Ning network’s activity feed and transmitted to Ning group members who elect to follow you.

I’m ready and able to assist any group owner on my new Small Business Network who’s dedicated to building a large and influential Ning group, and the group need not necessarily be business-oriented.

Connecting One-to-One

SkypeYour personal network will be strong and prosper if you focus on networking one-to-one. Speak on the phone or over Skype even one time to each person, and you’ll surely build solid online relationships.

If you’re growing a Facebook page, a Ning group or a Twitter account, individually adding one-to-one connections can amount to a large number over time — and perhaps these connections will even help you make many more.

Hope you’ll find these social media and web marketing strategies useful.

Wishing you a successful year. :-)

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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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Larry BraunerThis is a quick update on the Ning transition from free Ning networks to all paid networks. The deadline for upgrading free Ning networks had been set to August 20th, but Ning announced today that the deadline for choosing a price plan for your network is now extended until the 30th.

Ning Social NetworksYou might be able to use the additional time to devise a better Plan B. I plan to use the time to migrate more members from my old Ning networks to my new improved Ning network.

This my new Ning network, and I invite you to connect and network with me there:

Small Business Networking (Ning network for entrepreneurs and small businesses wherever they might be. Sign up there for the free social media marketing training.)

    You don’t need your own business to participate in my new Ning network.

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    Larry BraunerAugust 20th is here, and all free Ning networks go dark at midnight. Do you have a Ning network that’s not upgraded or belong to one? Are your Ning networks closing tonight?

    Ning network creators can, depending on quantity, archive all or part of their content from within the moderator area.

    Ning Social NetworksI’m closing a bunch of Ning networks but have recently launched a new Ning network to replace them.

    My new Ning network, for which I have ambitious and exciting plans is Small Business Networking (a Ning network serving entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide). Sign up for the free social media marketing training to be offered on-site.

      You don’t need a business to participate in either network. You can gather business information, share ideas, search for a new job or do whatever else might make sense to you.

      If your Ning network is closing, you’re looking for better ways to brand yourself, or you simply desire to develop new skills, come to Small Business Networking.

      See you there. :)

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      Larry BraunerMembers of my two new business networking sites have started to implement their personal business networking strategies on each site. As a member of both, it’s fascinating to watch each site begin to develop a distinctive identity.

      NY Business Networking is regional in scope and therefore conducive to promoting offline events and arranging face-to-face meetings in the NYC Tri-State Area.

      Small Business Networking doesn’t have a geographical orientation and consequently seems better suited to blogging, on-site special interest groups and web-based instruction. I’m offering a free step-by-step social media training on this site, and you are welcome to enroll.

      Come sign up for either or both of my new business networking sites and join me at the grand opening party.

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      Larry BraunerMy new free open business networking site, containing both offline-online and educational components, has opened using the Ning social and business networking platform. This networking site serves entrepreneurs and small businesses worldwide.

      Business NetworkingA unique aspect of this business site is that they’ll help connect offline networking groups, facilitating communication among group members and attracting new group members online.

      You do not need a business to join.

      Business Networking Site

      This is the new business networking site with its .Co domain name. Click on the links to join:

      Small Business Networking - http://www.SmallBusinessNetwork.Co

      Group owners will be site ambassadors and promote their groups and hopefully conduct business with complete transparency and integrity.

      You too can help spread the word about these new business networking sites, if you like. ;-)

      Most Popular Social and Business Networking Sites

      Also, I’m now frequently updating my blog post on the Most Popular Social and Business Networking Sites that has already been accessed more than 8,000 times since July 2009. If you have any suggestions for that article, please comment there.

      If you own a social or business networking site and would like to sponsor that blog post, you can contact me directly.

      I recommend that you subscribe to Online Social Networking and “Like” me on Facebook, so that we can stay connected. Comments are welcome, as well. :-)

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