Larry BraunerIt’s fairly obvious that I’m not updating this blog very often. I used to write a major article every week, and now I barely write an article a month. I miss it and look forward to getting back to it. However, on the bright side, I’m busier than ever with social media — for others — and therefore have little time right now for personal blogging.

My main occupation is as head of social media and marketing for a high-end watch distributor 20 minutes drive from my home. On December 4, 2010, Ivo Jackson and I launched a “temporary” website for the company which by now is in desperate need of a major redesign and overhaul. To date our website has received 142,000 visits including 20K visits in this it’s sixteenth month, and 269,000 pageviews including 40K pageviews this month.

This effort has required an enormous amount of my time (I’m earnestly looking for a social media assistant to work locally with me in Rockland County, NY on this project) and the time of others including my principal freelance watch writer, John Sealander.

I’m also part-time social media head for American Friends of Retorno on a project that will help returning American soldiers recover from PTSD and drug addiction. Our website is nearly complete. I’ll be asking for your help once it’s fully set up.

While I do my work, I’m online all day, and Facebook or Small Business Network are probably the best places to find me. (I also accept all requests to connect on LinkedIn where I have in excess of 6,000 direct connections.)

I truly love networking and although very busy, I’m still very accessible. :-)

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Larry BraunerWhile building my online presence and working on small client projects over a three year period, I devised, tested and evaluated a wide variety of web-based marketing, branding and communication strategies and techniques, and discussed them on Online Social Networking.

In November 2010, I seized an opportunity that arose to join a major luxury goods company and test my strategies and techniques in a competitive real-world environment. The results were outstanding. Not only was enormous buzz created, the business was able to dramatically increase its authority and credibility within the trade and with the media.

I credit just five very simple ideas with our success:

  1. Building a core group of websites around which the company’s entire web presence was built.
  2. Fully aligning web content with the company’s mission and message.
  3. Creating a great quantity of top quality, expertly edited and search engine optimized content.
  4. Using plenty of images and videos to enhance our written content.
  5. Leveraging numerous online and offline sources, such as SEO, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, email, print ads and word-of-mouth, to generate a flood of targeted traffic to the company’s web content.

Of course the details of implementation were far from trivial. They needed to be worked out along the way, and yours will too.

I shall elaborate on these five web strategies in future articles.

Please subscribe and join me on my Facebook page.

You may also leave me a comment. :-)

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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 BraunerI work at a watch company for which social media and web marketing are key tools for accelerating its business expansion.

As Social Media Director, I flew with our team to Basel, Switzerland in March to attend Baselworld, the grandest and most important watch and jewelry event of the  year.

Social Media Help Wanted

Haurex 1K374UNN INK Collections Featuring Aluminum and Rubber as Announced at Baselworld 2011I explained in My Social Media Mission Abroad that I was visiting at Baselworld 2011 with the dozens of watch brands we represent to discuss social media collaboration and ideas for future projects.

I realized, of course, that I’d need substantial help to carry out the social media plans made in Basel.

Besides freelance writers who can appreciate and blog about luxury, fashion and watches, I’m also looking locally in the Greater New York area for an art director, PR expert and advertising specialist.

New Social Media Profit Centers

For decades, I’ve been intrapreneurial. Now, in addition to leveraging our Internet properties to promote our firm and its many watch brands, it’s my intention, as well, to turn these websites into profit centers and totally new income streams.

So far we have several work-at-home bloggers and a few candidates for the in-house positions. To recommend someone or apply yourself for any of these opportunities, check out my Connect page.

Social Media Watch

I’ll keep you informed about our social media moves and their effectiveness. Please subscribe and join me on Facebook — and don’t hesitate to leave me a comment. ;-)

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Larry BraunerI’m still fatigued from My Social Media Mission Abroad in Basel, Switzerland and bruised from my tumble in the Rolex booth but please, don’t get me wrong. Baselworld 2011 and my meetings with the company’s watch brands were a total blast!

Content in social media is essential. My plan, you may recall, was to ask each of our watch brands to supply me regularly with content for our web site that features and promotes their watches.

My Meetings at Baselworld 2011

Baselworld 2011I’m writing a short blog post this evening to provide you with a tiny bit more information about these meetings at Baselworld.

I had four objectives in meeting with the marketing people from the watch brands:

  1. Build rapport and create a feeling of partnership between us
  2. Discuss the types of content they could provide that would be useful
  3. Request quality links from their sites to ours
  4. Explain my planned social networking site for the watch industry

Building rapport and relationships, were more important than all other objectives combined. The brands and I can now work together throughout the year to make our social media projects successful. That’s what made the Baselworld trip and my meetings with the watch brands such a blast.

Baselworld 2012

Needless to say, I’m hoping to be able to attend Baselworld 2012.

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Larry BraunerI just returned from My Social Media Mission Abroad in Basel, Switzerland, where I discussed social media with our watch brands attending the Baselworld 2011 event.

Is social media strategist a hazardous occupation? I didn’t think that it was until a certain unpleasant incident that occurred at Baselworld. Let me explain.

One afternoon, as I was walking around the fair taking pictures of gorgeous watch brand booths, I neglected an important step up to a raised platform and fell conspicuously face-down upon a booth’s floor. The booth may have been too dimly lit, or I may have been overly engrossed in my endeavor. In either case, I landed on the hardwood surface of the booth and impacted my left knee.

Booth personnel rushed to my aid and, after confirming that I had no broken bones nor life threatening injuries, escorted me to a seat. They encouraged me to expose my bare knees and ascertained that no skin had been broken nor was there a hint of blood. It was only a bruise, and they were relieved.

You see, of all the places to take a tumble, perchance I accorded the honor to the Rolex Watches booth.

The Rolex people were understandably relieved that I was back on my feet before ambulance chasers arrived on the scene.

Now, if my story sounds exaggerated or seems unrelated to social media, please accept my insincere apology, dear reader. Today being April 1st, I’ve exercised my poetic license and enjoyed a bit of fun at your expense.

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Larry BraunerI’m writing from Baselworld 2011, the giant international watch and jewelry expo that takes place yearly in Basel, Switzerland. The watch show, with its grand and intricate exhibits, is very exciting.

I’m wondering how many people, like myself, are in Basel for social media or are even aware of the social web beyond Facebook or their favorite blog – probably no more than fraction of the 80K attendees.

Baselworld 2011

Baselworld 2011I came to  Basel to interview as many of the Baselworld 2011 exhibitors as I could, but I chose instead a more focused and practical mission: to visit the many watch brands our company represents and to discuss social media collaboration with them.

I’ve been asking each of our watch brands to supply me regularly with content for our company blogs that feature and promote them.

In other words, rather than source all content by myself, I’m building partnerships with our watch brands to share the effort. If even half follow through and send me the desired text, photos and videos, I’ll have ample content for our blogs and  web presence.

That’s the game plan. Your thoughts?

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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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