The truth of it is that many people who run a small or medium-sized business know that they should be engaged with social media (gotta have a Facebook page!), but aren’t sure what to do with it after that. Social media outlets can be an effective way to engage with your audience and allow them to talk back to you.
From a local business standpoint, it can be a great way to let faithful customers know about a recent product arrival, a special sale or something happening on a personal note that makes them feel that they are a part of the family.
So enjoy the article and consider your social media-ing ways. Do you need to re-think, re-do or re-get-off-your-butt-and-just-do-it anything?
Social media includes elements that allow us to be social – to talk to one another.
Using your website, you can ‘talk’ to clients and potential clients 24/7. Allowing them to talk back to you in a public way is both risky and rewarding. Are you ready to monitor the conversation and step in when needed? Do you like to hear from your customers, both positive and negative?
The great side of incorporating social media into your website is the ability for people to say great things about your business and let others know. For example, if someone likes using your product or service, why not make it easy for them to tell others via a Facebook page?
The downside is that people are far more likely to go on a public tirade when they feel they have been unfairly treated.
So what to do?
Many business owners feel they want to engage in this new way with their market, but don’t have any more time in the day to make it happen. Perhaps a Twitter feed is the way to go for this person. It allows short updates/blurts of information without the commitment of a blog or Facebook, where you might also need to deal with adding photos.
Whatever way you decided to engage in any type of social media should authentically reflect your brand and the message that you want to communicate with your customers. It is a new world of personal engagement and you have the opportunity to create your own path.
I love launching new websites and today was a great day for that!
For the past month, I’ve been working with an intern on loan from Loyalist College in Belleville. It has been different having someone else around to talk to and bounce ideas off of, and I’m going to miss Emma!
Emma’s job was to take a website project from start to finish in a little under one month.
I should really get her to write this post, but as she is no longer under my evil spell working for me, my power to influence her to do my work is significantly reduced.
Suffice to say, the website pleases the eye, pleases the client and gets the job done!
I was at my workout class this afternoon and had a little epiphany about linking text and how valuable it is to give clear instructions and use it wisely.
Did I mention I was at a workout class? 🙂 It was one of those where you are lifting weights to the beat of the music, which takes your mind off the hideous torture that it is to lift weights (but I digress…).
Every time we had to change what we were doing, the instructor would call out instructions. Sometimes she would say something like ‘here we go!’ and sometimes she would say ‘Let’s take that up for a clean and press’. Now – which do you think was easier to follow?
Let’s assume that I was on this website at this workout for the first time. Would I know what to do with ‘here we go’? Not necessarily. It is non-specific, non-directional and non…well, anything, except I knew I was suppose to do something.
But when the instructor calls out ‘Dead row – let’s do 4!’, I know exactly what my next step should be.
And that’s what good linking text does for your website user. Good linking text says ‘find out more about what our clients are saying’, instead of ‘click here’.
How about this – if they haven’t read the paragraph of text in front of the linking text, would a user still know where it was going to take them? Linking text should be a call to action. ‘Click here’ makes me want to say ‘Oh yeah? Make me’.
What does your linking text say to your users?
(BTW – if you are in the Kingston area and want to know what kind of exercise class made me think about this, check out Omega Fit Club – Group Power. Love it!)
The Rearrangements website was a great opportunity to redesign a well-functioning website and take it up a notch. The overall goals included not only making the site look professional, but re-organizing the material to make it easier to find. A common problem with websites, this one had been added onto over the months since its first creation and had become a little disjointed.
One thing that this website owner understands is that content is king on the web. The site is well-indexed by Google and shows up well in organic search results because the of excellent, keyword-rich, readable content that has been prepared and installed on the site. While Google had no problem with the content, the key became re-organizing things so that humans were better able to find what they were looking for.
The result is a clean-looking, easy-to-navigate site that presents a great face for the business of home staging for this owner.
I came across this little gem today while doing some research for something else (isn’t that how it always goes?) and couldn’t resist the opportunity to share.
In case you are wondering, I’m not against the use of all things Flash. I love Flash for moving things, galleries, adding the ‘wow’ factor, etc – but not for entire sites. In fact, I get a little ticked off sometimes when I see a site entirely built in Flash that could easily be rendered in HTML/CSS with little or no loss of …well…flash-i-ness.
You can read the entire (short) article that holds as true today as when it was written in 2006. In fact, you can see in the comments that it has continually shown up in conversations over the years, because people are still asking the question.
The simple bottom line is that plug-ins, such as Flash, require the user to actually have the plug-in before they view your site – how rude!
Some people prefer to browse the web without plug-ins or with plug-ins disabled to avoid the longer download time or the annoying moving graphics that distract them from the real content on the site.
Others are using devices on which plug-ins have been disabled (think iPhone…) or blocked.
Whatever the reason, consider the user of your site when planning your platform. Unless the majority of your site’s users are going to be creative-types (we love Flash and always have it enabled because it does such cool stuff!), think about dialing it back a bit.
Update April 6/10 – I was reading a blog called Nine by Blue where I read a great example of why a website shouldn’t be built entirely in Flash. Here’s the tell-all paragraph:
The individual pages don’t have corresponding unique URLs. All content loads on a single URL — www.heartlandcafeseattle.com. This means that search engines can’t index the content as they don’t have URLs to associate with that content. In addition, the content can’t be shared on social media. The site has an events calendar, but if I saw a cool event there and I wanted to post on Facebook about it and invite my friends, I’d have to tell them to go to the home page, then click events in the sidebar, then click… Why is this? Well, the site is entirely in Flash. It absolutely doesn’t need to be in Flash. The site could keep the exact look and feel it currently has and be in HTML.
(from Nine By Blue “Should Restaurants Care About Local Search, accessed April 6, 2010)
Hopefully the restaurant in question sees the blog and changes the site, but if nothing else, it is a great example for the rest of us of what happens when you choose ‘flashy’ over ‘web-savvy’.