Wendy at eMoms at Home did a post recently where she asked her readers “How do you Use Social Media to Promote Your Business?“ I didn’t have time to answer then and I’m sure I missed out on the free books, which is OK because I never seem to have time to read any books these days. I’ve had a few days off from software testing, so I figured I’d do a post about it.
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There are so many aspects to social media that it’s tough for an entrepreneur to keep up. I mean we still have to sleep! Fortunately, I’m fairly social. I mentioned on a post that Liz Strauss did recently called Business and Life: Are You Making the Most of the Conversation? that “I am a Participant, rarely a Lurker, and often a Listener.”
It is fun making friends all over the world and it’s easy to be social from behind your computer when it fits with your schedule. In the past I resisted joining sites like facebook because of the time commitment.
To do a social network right, I figure it means committing significant time to it. When you are launching a start-up, planning to raise funds, taking care of kids, maintaining a house, etc., it’s not easy to be as active as one should be in these networks over time. But so far it’s been fascinating to see how other people interact with the networks. I mean can you believe that facebook has over 55 million users all over the world? That is amazing! So here’s what I’ve done and what I’ve observed:
I started this blog (it had a different name before) with the help of Connie Reece. She gave me the kick start I needed! I think I did my first post back in May 2007. The blog has been fun and I know it has driven some additional traffic to my company site, Babble Soft, but to date I haven’t seen that it’s resulted in more than just a few additional sales. As a result of having a blog, I joined MyBlogLog, FeedBurner, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Digg, and BlogHer. Wendy was also kind enough to invite me to join the Home Business & Entrepreneur FeedBurner Ad Network. I haven’t made much money from these particular ad networks (maybe in total $100) but it has given me exposure to other bloggers and made me aware of other businesses.
I entered some competitions to hopefully win prizes and get additional exposure. I can’t remember all of them but I know I did one at Alpha Moms and I just entered Intuit’s Just Start challenge where I have the potential to win $50K for my business! The ‘vote for me’ widget will be on the right hand side of my blog until shortly after their voting deadline of December 16. After I sent an email to some friends asking if they would vote for me, I found out that people had to log in to do so. Knowing how much I hate to create unnecessary logins, my guess is that I won’t win on votes, but I might win in the unique idea category and because we have jokingly referred to our Baby Insights application as “Quicken for Baby.”
I have participated in some blog memes: 8 Random Things About Me and Blogging Tip Meme. Neena just tagged me again for a My Favorite Words theme. Memes give you exposure but they are time consuming so I think after doing this last meme, I will have to put a notice somewhere to let people know not to tag me unless they let me know first because I would hate to leave a meme go unanswered. I’m answering the Favorite Word meme by bolding my favorite words in this post (in case you were wondering why some of the words are in bold text). Isabella at Change Therapy I hope that’s OK with you! What do these words say about me? I guess that I’m a driven, committed, somewhat zany, looking to learn, searching for connection/peace, sleep deprived, mom-ified, and sometimes creative.
I joined LinkedIn. I’ve found LinkedIn to be useful for business related networking…for answers to specific questions. I haven’t yet established a deal or attempted to look for employees there which I hear is what it’s meant for. I’ve been able to answer a few questions on LinkedIn but I don’t think I’ve contributed to the increase of anyone’s business yet.
I joined facebook. Mostly to learn from the king of social networking sites. I may do some targeted ads there some day when time and money permit. I also set up a company page on facebook for Babble Soft.
I engaged a full service SEO/SEM firm.
I just joined twitter. I even added the little widget to my sidebar, and I integrated it with facebook. I really resisted joining twitter. I had no idea why anyone would be interested in my day to day activities. More importantly I didn’t think I would be interested in anyone else’s day to day activities! I already have about 20 followers. You may be wondering what pushed me over the edge and made me join twitter…well it was the Duran Duran concert I attended earlier this week. I was there and I suddenly thought ‘wouldn’t it be great if I could tell my friends and random strangers about the fact I’m at this cool concert?’ and then all of a sudden I “got” twitter! Will it result in additional business? I’m not sure. Time will tell.
I have not yet joined MySpace or YouTube (but I’ve been to the site many times). If I had to guess, I will probably join YouTube before MySpace, but first I need to create some videos!
Overall, I think I’m still at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building a powerful online network and I’m a little bit afraid of getting in too deep and getting stuck in a networking hole somewhere. I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone, but it’s a fear I face nonetheless. Maybe I’ll find peace there instead.
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, search engine marketing
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After doing some research on hiring an SEO firm, I decided to go with the full service firm option. It wasn’t an easy decision and I was concerned about spending the money, but now it’s done. I just signed the paperwork with SpryDev for our search engine optimization internet marketing campaign!
SpryDev is based in Austin, Texas and I found out about them from a reply their founder, Ben Finklea, left on the Bootstrap Austin email list. I had been thinking that I needed to find someone to help me with SEO and there was his email with his guarantee:
By the end of your contract you will have at least as much additional business from your Web site as you spend on our services… or we’ll work for FREE until you do.
I took it as a sign. Of course I checked out a few others but given that time is of the essence (I will start fundraising in 1Q 2008), he is based in Austin (I can meet with him face to face if any issues arise), and I didn’t have to get anyone else’s approval (I’m still bootstrapping) except for Erin’s (my husband), I made the decision to go with them fairly soon after our initial conversation.
Ben must be pretty darn confident about his services, and based on our few discussions he seems like an honest guy. I have heard stories about bad SEO experiences so I was paying particular attention to what he was saying and how he was saying it. He didn’t act like he knew everything and seemed interested in learning about new things. He said they haven’t worked with a company in the parenting space before, but he did some preliminary research and felt like he and his team would be able to increase our web profits and that he would be able to cover his guarantee.
He was proud of the fact that his firm has never engaged in paid link campaigns to increase their clients’ rankings…especially since Google recently updated PageRanks of several sites. He was also proud of the fact that they didn’t follow a practice of internal linking between different pages within a domain to increase rankings. I didn’t know this but apparently Google announced they would only count links to one domain so if people were linking between “www.companyname.com” to “products.companyname.com” those internal links will no longer be counted when determining search results. Honestly, I don’t know why people would have thought that would work or why Google’s algorithms wouldn’t have already taken that into consideration.
Rose Holston is the project manager for Babble Soft. I’ve already filled out a fairly extensive questionnaire about our market that she will use to help create the internet marketing/SEO plan. I mentioned some of the target markets that Naomi mentioned on her post about ‘monsters and pants.’ Thanks Naomi! Rose has two kids and she could instantly relate to the need for Baby Insights. She is a self-professed anal retentive Excel spreadsheet mama. I wonder what kind of keywords she will come up with to reach that audience.
I told them I would be blogging about my SEO/SEM full service firm experience in order to help other entrepreneurs with their SEO decisions. So check back often and feel free to share your SEO thoughts so others can learn as well. I am looking forward to working with SpryDev and to making significantly more money than what I end up paying them!
| Filed under: entrepreneurship
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, internet marketing
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