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.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!

Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner
I read an excellent article this afternoon in the Wall Street Journal by Jessica E. Vascellaro about the declining role of e-mail in our day-to-day communication, as services like Twitter, Facebook and lots of other social networking sites continue to grow in popularity.

According to Ms. Vascellaro, we obviously still use email. However, email was better suited to the way we used the Internet in the past, when we’d go online intermittently to read our messages.

“Now we are always connected, whether we are sitting at a desk or on a mobile phone. The always-on connection, in turn, has created a host of new ways to communicate that are much faster than email, and more fun.”

E-mail MarketingIf more of our attention is being directed toward social media and away from email, is there a future for email marketing?

The success of email marketing depends on our ability to efficiently reach our target markets via their email inboxes. As people increasingly turn to social media, and internet service providers apply more aggressive spam filtering, email marketing becomes less viable.

Just last night, a friend messaged me on Facebook saying that she was “shifting over from an e-newsletter to blogging,” and that she was looking for a little advice.

Email marketers want to know how to react to the trend toward social media and social marketing.

Advice for Email Marketers

Here are seven tips for coping with the decline in email communication:

  1. Act Now - Don’t sit on the sidelines like your old media friends. There are still plenty of newspaper publishers scratching their heads wondering what they’re going to do about their failing businesses.
  2. Diversify - Adopt a variety of new social marketing channels, but do not discontinue your email marketing campaigns. Build on your past successes.
  3. Stay Cool - Don’t overreact. Email communication isn’t going away any time soon. Gradually make adjustments and find the allocation of resources that delivers you the best ROI.
  4. Learn Social Media - There are many social marketing resources and a fairly steep social media learning curve. Either make social media training a priority for yourself and stick with it or find someone to whom you can delegate or outsource all or part of it.
  5. Learn SEO - Learn search engine optimization as well, or again, delegate or outsource it.
  6. Keep Testing - Just as you’d test different lists or advertising copy, test different social media venues and content to determine what works for you, and what doesn’t. Be flexible.
  7. Get Help - Even if you do decide to educate yourself, look to social media and web marketing experts for help along the way. Their guidance will save you much time and money in the long run.

I still use my email autoresponder to communicate with many of my blog subscribers. However, email accounts for only 2% of my total blog traffic. Google, Entrecard and Twitter combined account for about 80%, and all other sources add to the remaining 18%.

I will have more to say on email marketing and on list building in future articles. I suggest meanwhile that you read List Building Paradigm Shift which I wrote at the beginning of the year.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Larry BraunerAnother social media university, social media academy, guru or training program surfaces online nearly every day. Do we need these social media training programs? Are they worth our time and expense?

I’m old enough to remember the data processing boom of the seventies. There were more computer schools back then than social media gurus or social networking sites today.

Computers in those days weren’t as easy to use as they are today, and people were needed in companies that used them to program and operate them. Computer schools collected large sums to train people for potentially lucrative computer programming careers, but in the end, students were very lucky if they even got lower paying computer operator jobs.

Students weren’t aware that businesses much preferred college graduates with relevant degrees to fill programming positions over graduates of year- long programs. Computer schools were able to rake in large profits because they didn’t fully disclose the reality of the job market.

The same was true years later with medical billing. Schools and home study programs nurtured false expectations. The probability of finding assignments after completing a medical billing course was dismally low.

Making an Intelligent Choice

To determine whether a social media training program is worthwhile for you, answer the following questions as thoughtfully and honestly as you can.

  1. What are your needs and expectations? Stop and reflect. What are you looking for? To change careers? Broaden your marketing skills? Build your brand? Have fun? Earn extra money? Getting clear about what it is you’re looking for is a sensible place to start.
  2. Can you partially or fully meet your needs by completing the course? In other words, does the course match your needs?
  3. Do the benefits of the course justify your investment of time and money? Unless your goal is to turn social media into a hobby that pays off emotionally, not financially, your course needs to help you develop money making skills that justify the cost. Please be wary of courses or systems that promise quick or easy results.
  4. How qualified are you to pursue the path you wish to take? Do you have the prerequisites to complete the course and follow through on your plans?
  5. Are you motivated enough? I’ve stated before that the  social media learning curve is steep, and results aren’t quickly obtained. You need the mindset of a marathoner to succeed. Look at your track record. If you can persevere over a long period of time and follow through, you might succeed. Otherwise, resist committing to a long-term social marketing plan.
  6. How qualified and reliable are the instructors? Do they walk the talk? Have they demonstrated the ability to do what you yourself would like to do? Can they provide references?
  7. Can you afford to lose your investment? If the course costs more than you can afford to lose, discuss your options with friends and advisers before making a decision. Listen carefully to their recommendations.

You should be able to apply the same or similar criteria to evaluate affiliate marketing, network marketing, search engine marketing or SEO courses.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

This is my final blog post for 2008. I have enjoyed our interaction this past year.

Thank you. I learned a lot.

I look forward to more give and take in 2009.

Thinking Outside the Box

In 10 Not Simple Success Strategies for 2009 I stated, “What worked in the past may no longer work in the present economy. You may have to make some tough personal or business choices going forward.”

Thinking Outside the BoxTo succeed in 2009 we need to be flexible and to think outside the box. According to Wikipedia, thinking outside the box is “to think differently, unconventionally, from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking“.

I hope to help you think outside the box and navigate through some of the challenges and choices that lie ahead.

If you don’t yet subscribe to this blog, I ask you to subscribe now. Let’s stay “on the same page” as I continue to publish thought-provoking and hopefully outside-the-box articles on a broad range of topics.

Networking Outside the Box

If you are not yet a member of Critical Thinking Outside the Box, my no-spam online social network, please join now. This social networking site is a place where you and I can share ideas and network with each other.

Set up your profile there and add me as a friend. That way you can contact me whenever you wish.

By starting discussions and participating in existing discussions on the forum, you’ll brand yourself as a leader. If you’d like to become a featured leader on the site and have me promote you there, send me a message and we’ll discuss the details.

Marketing Outside the Box

Online social networking and social media marketing are still very much in their infancy. We’ll see plenty of growth and change in 2009 and beyond. To market outside the box you’ll need to keep abreast of online and social marketing changes, and you’ll need to keep learning new skills.

Affiliate University Marketing TrainingOne excellent training and support program that I highly recommend to learn and implement new marketing ideas is Affiliate University.

Founder Bill Hibbler is a successful Internet marketer and an excellent instructor. Bill along with Dr. Joe Vitale is co-author of Meet and Grow Rich: How to Easily Create and Operate Your Own “Mastermind” Group for Health, Wealth, and More.

The Affiliate University training program has ten modules, and more will be added in the future.

Additionally, I’m starting a marketing clinic to complement the Affiliate University curriculum and help you through the rough spots as you put what you learn to use.

Achieving Outside the Box

Setting and following through on goals require ongoing support from peers. Mastermind groups provide that support and have long been known to increase focus and speed movement towards achieving objectives.

Affiliate University will start you on the path to forming a mastermind group. After teaching you the basic concepts and mechanics of mastermind groups, their forum will help you connect with prospective members for your group. I will help too.

If you believe that you can benefit from one-on-one mentoring, I offer special consulting rates for my “inner circle”. See the bio and endorsements on my about page for information about my qualifications.

As usual, feel free to comment on this blog post or ask questions… And let’s have a great year!

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about me and my social media and web marketing services.

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

The Case for Social Media Marketing

It is becoming increasingly more difficult and more expensive to reach potential customers using mass media. That’s one reason why so many marketers are turning to Web 2.0 social media marketing.

Not only do marketers want to reduce their advertising expense, they also want to connect more directly with people and learn how to better serve their target market.

Social media marketing is especially attractive to small business owners operating on modest budgets, since most social networking sites and other social media sites are generally free to use.

Steep Learning Curve

They read a story such as Beyond Blogs in the June 2nd issue of Business Week, and they rush off to embrace Web 2.0 social media unprepared for the steep learning curve that lies ahead.

The social media landscape is uncharted and sprawling. Social media sites are vying for your attention, and searching the Internet for advice turns up sharply conflicting recommendations.

Need for Mentor

Clearly you need a mentor, somebody smart and knowledgeable with especially strong communication skills. You should find somebody with whom you feel comfortable, because you’ll definitely be getting to know each other. Picking a mentor is difficult.

Effective Communication #1 Challenge

Once you find your mentor mastering essential social media marketing skills will be difficult. To get fully up to speed might take a year or even longer.

That is the bad news.

In my opinion, the hardest part of social media marketing training is learning effective communication, i.e., to write, speak, listen and persuade well and in a professional manner.

There are certainly plenty of technical challenges to overcome, but by far communication is the chief obstacle new social media marketers face. If you happen to have the right mix of communication skills, you’re way ahead of most newcomers.

Your mentor can teach you personal and business branding, online social networking, blogging, video marketingsocial bookmarking, SEO and other important skills. He or she can also critique your communication style, but it will be you who will connect directly with your target market and build vital business relationships.

Get Started Now and Learn as You Go

Now the good news.

You don’t have to master every skill, dot every “i” and cross every “t” before getting started.

Find a good mentor to guide you, jump in and get your feet wet. Learn by doing.

As Mike Litman always says: “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.”

Your results will serve as feedback to help you to make the necessary corrections along the way… and that is good news.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

My First Effort

I launched my Online Social Networking blog on November 6, 2007 with my first post, Here We Are.

I was a blogging and search engine optimization newbie.

You might remember my earlier post, “You don’t have to get it right. You just have to get it going!” I made a plan and got started.

My strategy was to attract readers at social networking sites such as MySpace and Yuwie, and at the same time build a strong presence in the search engines.

I chose to write about social networking because of the large amount of experience I had with online social networking and social networking sites, and I selected the name of this blog and its principal keywords accordingly.

My blog took form over a period of several months with a few false starts and reversals. I kept writing week after week and networking and strategizing while waiting for my search engine marketing to kick in.

I joined MyBloglog and Entrecard to connect with other bloggers and entice them to visit my site. At Entrecard I made new friends.

Marcus HochstadtOne, a gentleman named Marcus Hochstadt, has helped me enormously. Not only has Marcus given me lots of encouragement, but through a contest he organized and ran on his Internet Business Guide blog, he also helped me gain more than fifty good inbound links to my blog. This helped my Google Page Rank.

Moving Up in Google

Page rank is Google’s measure of a site’s authority. It’s a major factor in Google’s determination of a site’s position in search results.

Having your site shown by Google and other search engines on page one of the results when people search for your targeted keywords is highly desirable and is the primary goal of search engine optimization.

As my credibility increased, and my page rank went from zero to one and from one to two I moved up in the search engine results and saw large increments in the number of visitors Google was sending my way each day.

I started tracking my blog’s traffic late January using Google Analytics. At that time Google was already providing me with a couple of visitors per day. The following chart shows how my results improved over time. Click on the chart to view a larger much larger version.

Search Engine Visitors 

On a good day now I receive about 30 visitors. This will continue to grow over time, and I’ll keep you posted.

You Can Do It Too

I’m teaching a free course on blogging, search engine optimization and social media marketing. You’ll learn all the techniques I’ve discovered and how you can apply them yourself.

A wide range of social media marketing training courses is available at My Private Classroom for Marketers.

Subscribe to my newsletter at my free social media training site.

If you’re interesed in harnessing the synergy of blogging, social networking sites and search engine optimization, visit my Blog Marketing and SEO Training.

Don’t miss any posts. Register, it’s easy, or subscribe to my RSS feed!

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

Seth Godin’s Web 2.0 Traffic Watch List

My interest in social media has evolved substantially over the past year.

My love for social networking sites is not something new, but my appreciation for blogging and social bookmarking sites certainly are.

As I mentioned in my recent post, Social Networking Site Catalog, “I launched this blog to share my passion for online social networking and my experiences at social networking sites. I never intended to assemble a catalog. There are already too many good ones out there.”

One of the world’s top marketers and author of marketing books, Seth Godin, provides a catalog of 952 top social media sites, Seth Godin’s Web 2.0 Traffic Watch List. It can help you know what’s hot and what’s not.

Here are the top ten from Seth’s list as I write this:

  1. youtube.com
  2. myspace.com
  3. orkut.com
  4. en.wikipedia.org
  5. ebay.com
  6. facebook.com
  7. fotolog.com
  8. flickr.com
  9. friendster.com
  10. photobucket.com

Put content in the right places, and you will attract other users and search engines like a magnet. If you’re into marketing, that’s exactly what you want.

How do you use social media?

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

Dofollow Blogs Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Sharing is Caring!

Bookmark and Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

Tonight Diane Hochman speaking on a free My Private Classroom webinar revealed the top seven Internet screw-ups of the average marketer.

My favorite was following the flock.

Facebook is hot. Very hot. There are scores of top networkers on the Facebook scene.

Is that where you want to be? Do you want to follow the flock to Facebook in the hope of successfully competing with some of the world’s greatest networkers?

You might be successful. But instead, why not carve out a niche for yourself somewhere else? There are hundreds of social networking sites. Why not lead the flock instead of following?

Whenever everybody zigs, be a leader and zag. If they zag, you zig.

Diane made a number of other excellent points. Then she summed up her insightful and inspiring talk with the following advice. Above all, you should use common sense and be yourself.

For an invitation to the next free My Private Classroom webinar, complete the subscription form on my Social Networking Project site devoted to online social networking and social media marketing training.

Don’t miss any posts. Register, it’s easy, or subscribe to my RSS feed!

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Tags: , , , , , ,

Larry Brauner

My Private Classroom for Marketers

For the past two years I have been showing people how to use social networking sites to make new friends and build their permission based marketing lists. Some of my conference calls are recorded and archived on my social media marketing training site.

I have helped many marketers to get started in online social networking and have received positive feedback from them.

In November I started blogging.

As I was optimizing my blog for the search engines, not only did I become interested in seo, I developed equal interest in social bookmarking and social media marketing. There are many hundreds of social media sites. Some of my favorites that include Digg, Qassia, StumbleUpon and Twitter are listed on my blog’s sidebar.

My Private ClassroomI mentioned one morning to my friend Tom Long that I was looking to learn more about social media sites. He suggested that I look into My Private Classroom for Marketers. I followed his advice and became part of My Private Classroom that very day.

My Private Classroom has scores of webinars every month on many different aspects of social media marketing. While most training is for members only, they also offer free social media training which you can read about in My Private Classroom Opens to Public.

What attracted me most to MPC however was their expertise and classes in video marketing. They teach members how to create and edit videos, as well as how to distribute and promote them through YouTube and other video sites.

I made my first video a couple of weeks ago which you can find in my post, Social Networking vs. Advertising. It’s a “quickie” video. There’s no actual video in the video.

In order to become a member of My Private Classroom’s advanced training and leadership program, I needed to join Leaders Club which sells leads, but I personally don’t use leads. I only wanted access to the classes that are free to My Private Classroom’s Leaders Club Team. I joined Leaders Club as a “Training Only” member, and that was my entrée into MPC’s leadership.

I attended about ten webinars since joining and enjoyed them all. The best ones for me were the ones about video. Another favorite was a live demonstration of MySpace networking.

I look forward to conducting webinars for My Private Classroom, perhaps as soon as May. I would like to teach about keywords and keyword research. Perhaps I will also teach about blogging and how to network online with other bloggers.

Several people have joined My Private Classroom through me, and I am personally mentoring them to help accelerate their learning.

New technology is changing the way we market every day, and I believe that leaders at My Private Classroom are acutely aware of this. They are doing an excellent job keeping abreast of the latest developments in the Web 2.0 social media platform and in mobile technology.

Don’t miss any posts. Register, it’s easy, or subscribe to my RSS feed!

You Comment I Follow Online Social Networking Home Online Social Networking Sitemap About Larry Brauner
Tags: , , , , ,