Andy Green's Blog

A web-workers world…

How to Use Twitter to Enhance Your Website Success

Today it is virtually impossible for any website to have the success it deserves without using social networking. Ask any Internet guru and they will tell you that social networking has numerous benefits to help your online business, especially when it comes to traffic generation. One of the most popular social networking sites is Twitter. I am sure you have heard of it, you may have never used it… based on the recent cell phone commercials talking about how many people tweeted on Twitter though it is time that you take a closer look at it.

Twitter can transmit traffic to your website easily, providing you do it correctly. As with anything else in the world there are rules to using Twitter though. The first and most important rule is that you have to be involved in a community on Twitter. What this means is that you have to take part in the Twitter community. So you have to make posts, comment on other Tweets, help make Twitter a useful community. You cannot get on Twitter and just talk about yourself or your site. In other words you need to build a relationship. Building relationships is very important, not only in social networking but also when it comes to converting a reader to a customer.

A second key rule is that you need to reply to others. This is all a part of involvement. When you participate in conversations with others on Twitter they will reply to you. There is a key feature on Twitter whereby when others reply to you, the persons that follow them are able to connect to your profile. This widens your audience greatly and means that your exposure is increased. It is therefore essential that you make lots of contributions to conversation and keep your involvement on the site high. Really, it isn’t that difficult, it only takes a few minutes and it is free advertising that can really give your traffic the boost it needs.

As they say in all the infomercials “but wait there’s more!” There is also the Twitterfeed site. The Twitterfeed site allows you to send your RSS feed straight to your Twitter page automatically. What does this mean? Simply put it means when you post something new on your website or blog, and update your RSS, that it will post automatically on your Twitter time line. This is an ideal method to ensure that your updates are posted and you don’t have to log on to Twitter and post your update manually. It is also very important that you do not attempt to set up a business profile on Twitter. It is frowned upon and it won’t help your website or you. You really have to make sure that you have a proper balance of updates, promotions and genuine involvement in the community.

Twitter also has a number of badges and widgets that Twitter offers that you can use on your website. This allows the Twitter updates to go to your site and visitors can click on the badge and check out your Twitter profile and even opt to join your following. Twitter is only one of the social networking tools you can use, but it is a good one. The key is to be an active contributing member that helps the Twitter community grow… so that they will help your website grow.

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September 3, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , | Leave a comment

Getting the Best Out of Twitter

In case you haven’t heard of it, Twitter it is a relatively new social networking tool that lets you connect with friends and keep in touch it in real time. People have called it “micro-blogging,” because the messages you send and receive from people you “follow” (and who follow you) is limited to just 140 characters. This is pretty limited, but at these short little “bursts” of messages can also make you pretty creative.

Twitter can also be a time waster, but it’s also become a valuable marketing tool. Why? Because you can basically communicate with people in shorthand without having to plow through lots of words to get your message across. Instead, you can instantly tell someone who’s following you what they want to know.

· Use “micro-blogging” to advertise your business

Most of us know what blogging is by now, but you might not know what “micro-blogging” is. Basically, it’s what Twitter does, with its 140-character limit. Again, being limited to 140 characters with a message requires you to cut to the chase and get your message out. No laboring over perfect sentence structure, no using hyped up text to try to get people to go to your website. Instead, it’s really just a basic, bare-bones communication method that lets those who are interested in you and what you do find out more. And of course, you can use Twitter to help drive people to your blog or website, where they can find out more information about what you sell.

· Network with other like-minded people

In many cases, Twitter can remove some of the heavy-handed formality that comes with so-called “business” meetings. By having a “meeting” in this sort of informal, quick as lightning exchange, people not only get down to business right away, but they also are less constrained by social “niceties,” if you want to put it that way, and can have a little fun, too. In a lot of ways, it’s a good icebreaker that gets business partnerships or a hook up with a potential client off on a really good foot. You might call Twitter the “backyard get-together” version of a business meeting, and it lets people relax and have fun right away, which is really only good for business relationships or for getting your products or services sold.

· Got a niche that you need to keep up on, instantaneously?

Twitter is actually a great way to find out about your particular niche in the marketing or business industry; with Twitter, you can find out from friends of a like mind that something’s happening before any other news sources find out about it. This can give you a leg up on your competition, or at least make you tops with your customers.

· It can save time

Twitter can save you time because keeping up with people this way might mean that you have to use your e-mail, instant messaging, RSS feeds, etc., less often. It’s quicker than any of these methods to send or receive something, and takes less time to use, too.

· It’s just plain fun

Keep up with friends this way, too. It’s as great for casual conversation as it is for business. In fact, it really was meant originally for casual use and has only recently been evolving into a means of actual business communication.

Some caveats:

When you first begin to use Twitter, you’ll likely find yourself overwhelmed by the plethora of pure chatter you encounter that doesn’t mean anything to you. That’s okay; you can learn to ignore these people and screen it out so that you only get what you want to see.

Finally, Twitter can be addicting in a bad way. Make sure you turn it off and reengage with real-life on a regular basis. It’s fun to use, sure, but only if you use it as an asset, not as an addiction.

With that said, why not try Twitter? It can be a blast (both professionally and personally) if you use it right.

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Customize Your MySpace Profile

It seems that everybody who is anybody has a MySpace page so that they can keep in touch with everyone that is important to them. Whether you are an actor, a business professional, or a stay at home mom, MySpace is the tool to use when you want to keep your friends and family up to date on with what is going on in your life. Besides being a communication tool it is also a way for people to express their individual personality through using different profile layouts and custom pages.

Upon first glance at a MySpace profile page you can get a good sense of what that person is into. Whether it is the style of music they like, their favorite basketball team, or their favorite kind of art, the profile is the page to display who you are and what you like to represent yourself as to the world. It is sort of an unspoken message about your personality and that could be the very reason why most of the users on MySpace are so particular about the layouts they use. Some people will literally spend hours selecting and creating what they feel is the perfect MySpace layout.

The great thing about this is that whether you were born with a computer in your hands or you are just getting on one for the first time in sixty years, the MySpace site is one that is extremely easy to use. Step by step directions will walk a person through setting up their profile for the very first time. Entering in all of your personal data is done with ease by clicking on the appropriate tags in the edit profile section. After all of that is said and done you will probably want to add some personality to your page.

By visiting different MySpace layout sites you will be able to pick from a never ending variety of layouts. Customize your own through their navigation system or select from one of their hundreds of choices. Once you have created the MySpace profile page that is to your liking the site will generate what is called HTML code. You simply want to highlight that code and copy it. This code is all of the information that is needed to get that fancy layout on your page so make sure that you do not erase it before setting it up or you will have to start all over again.

Now all you will want to do is head over to your MySpace page and click on the tab that says edit profile. Go directly to the box labeled “About Me” and paste your HTML code right into that box. Click the save button and then you may have to type in a visual verification code to make sure that you are not a robot. After all of that is said and done your MySpace page will have its brand new look. Change it as often as you like or never at all. Since it is your page you can do whatever you want with it.

January 11, 2009 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , | Leave a comment

Unblock Social Websites With Web Proxies

We’ve all experienced it. You’re bored at school or at work, and just want to take a quick peek at our FaceBook page, or watch a quick video or two on YouTube… only to find that those sites have been blocked by your administration or employer. It’s frustrating. It’s a little insulting. And there are ways around it.

Two, in fact. The first way is fairly simple: use a different browser. Many computer networks use Windows and Internet Explorer, so the network administrators only block sites for Internet Explorer. Perhaps you’ve got a particularly clever (or bored) network admin who blocks Firefox too and Safari for the Macintosh users. But there’s always a chance that by simply using a different browser, you can access your favorite social networking sites. There are literally dozens of alternative browsers out there (Netscape, Opera, Avant, and Google Chrome, to name just a very few) that you can download from software sites like Download.com or Softpedia.com free.

On the other hand, schools and workplaces lock down their computers so tightly these days that the average user isn’t allowed to install new software. You’re not out of luck quite yet… when they installed Windows on this computer, did they leave MSN Explorer on it? If so, give that a try. If not… well, there’s always proxy servers.

Which brings us to the second way around a blocked website: proxy servers. A “proxy server” is basically a website that displays another website. So… how exactly does that help you? Well, when you type a web address (URL) into your browser at school or work, the network checks the address entered against a list of banned URLs, such as http://www.facebook.com. However, the URL of the proxy server website is probably not blocked, so the network lets the traffic through. The proxy server simply acts as a transfer point. Your school computer isn’t going to Facebook. Your computer is going to another computer that is going to Facebook!

So where do you find a proxy server? Anywhere. There are literally hundreds of them across the globe. Just type “proxy server” or “web proxy” into Google and take your pick. There are even entire websites devoted to maintaining lists of proxy servers. Actually, if you can find one of those sites, use it. Here’s why: network administrators aren’t stupid. Proxy servers eat up a lot of system resources and bandwidth, and network admins notice such things. When you use the same proxy server day in and day out, they’ll eventually notice all the traffic going to that website, take a look, realize it’s a proxy server, and block that web site, too. To avoid this, use a different proxy server each time-or at the very least, a different one each day. Websites that maintain lists of hundreds of proxy servers are ideal for this. Some even have a button you can click to choose a proxy server at random. That’ll keep the network admins guessing!

I’ll leave you with a little trivia on the nobler side of proxy servers. Although it’s easy think of them as sleazy, sneaky little things that allow you to misbehave and waste your company’s time, but they actually serve a very important purpose. There are many countries in the world, such as China, that try to limit the information their citizens can access by maintaining huge lists of banned URLs. Proxy servers sidestep this and let the people find out what’s really going. Sure, such nations try to block the proxy servers, too, but they’re always one step behind. When anyone can set up a proxy server in their garage, a dozen new proxy servers can (and do) pop up every day-and repressive governments will never be able to keep up with them all.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , , | 1 Comment

Should I Use a Web Proxy to Use MySpace?

We all know that using MySpace is a lot of fun and it can help you learn more about people, more quickly than you ever think that you can, but the truth is there are situations where you simply will not be allowed to access it. For cases like this, you will find that a web proxy can help you out. All it takes is a little bit of web know-how and some basic understanding of how web proxies work to help you out. Of course, then you come to the question of whether or you should do it at all!

A web proxy, at the most basic level, is a mechanism by which you can trick a lot of the security that gets put on computers into thinking that you are not going to the site that you are going to. One way that a web proxy might work is that you may go to a fairly innocuous site that is not banned by the security that your network browsing is under. Then you will type in the address of MySpace or the site that you will want to go to, and as a result, you will be able to go to the banned site while you seem to be browsing on the more innocent site.

Web proxies can get fairly complex and they can also be quite subtle. In some cases, you will find that an add on can be found that will simply run all of your browsing through a proxy! When you are looking for solutions to getting the right kind of web browsing set up, though, there are questions you should ask yourself.

In the first place, why are you using a proxy? If you have a pesky younger brother or sister who is inclined to snoop, it might be a good idea. On the other hand, if you are at work and your workplace strictly prohibits social networking sites while you are on company time, you need to be aware of the consequences of your actions! Take some time to think about why you want to use a web proxy and what the results of it might be.

When you are thinking about using a web proxy to access MySpace, you will find that there are plenty of reasons why you should stop and consider what your options are going to be. When do you want to use it, where do you want to use it, and why? Remember that not all web proxies are created equal, and in some cases, there may be securities put on your computer that will report such activities. Take some time and really weigh the costs and the benefits!

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , | Leave a comment

Grow Your Business With Social Networking

Presently, the Internet is saturated with everyone trying to make money with their particular online business, and there is a lot of competition. Even the savviest of online business owners have to use every resource that is available to generate target leads to their websites.

There really is no shortage of methods and techniques that Internet businesses can use to market their services or products. A few of the methods that are effective and cheap to use are PPC advertising, article marketing, forum marketing, and social network marketing.

“What’s that?” you might ask, “Social network marketing?”

Social network marketing is very powerful stuff. Not enough Internet marketers use this method either. Loosely defined, this method of marketing has everything to do with Web 2.0, which encapsulates a lot of the newer forms of marketing.

Social sites and networks are communities of people, like “Facebook”, “Twitter” or MySpace”. These are very large communities that have communities within communities. These satellite communities within the larger one are made up of likeminded people who share the same interests or activities. There are many different social type groups that people can join and become a part of, within these expansive social networks.

The main point to pay attention to with concern to marketing is the traffic to these social sites is staggering! Millions of people visit these social sites every single day. Joining even one of these social sites and working it to generate traffic, could grow anyone’s online business immensely.

Social network marketing is free. Your only investment is your time, making friends and contacts. Another monumental consideration is all of the major search engines are in love with the social network sites. Because of this, search engines such as Google, will index these social sites several times a day. Depending on your content that you post within one of these social sites, links to your business site will help you gain broader exposure and possibly, a higher ranking in the search engines.

There is usually a downside to everything and the downside for marketers is a lot of these social sites do not like blatant marketing. When you think about this for a moment, it makes a lot of sense. No one really wants to live in an online community that is plastered with nothing but advertising links screaming at everyone to “buy me!”

If you join a social site, like “Facebook”, move right in and begin hitting people up to generate traffic for your business; it could get you banned. Also, you will not really generate any traffic from anyone. Subtlety will go very far, within the social networks. The real irony is that there are more than a few Internet marketers that use these social networks as their main platforms to generate traffic and sales.

Here are a few tips to market the social networks.

1. After joining a social site, immediately set up your complete profile. Personalize your profile as much as you can. Include a recent picture of yourself and don’t be afraid to share information in your bio. People who will resource you want to know about your likes and dislikes along with your interests, such as hobbies, etc. The more personalized your info, the more people will trust you.

2. Join as many of the different groups that will help your business grow. These social network sites have more groups than you can shake a stick at! Join some of these groups and become active within them. Leave helpful posts, videos, and links. Add members to your friend’s list. In time, you will grow within these communities.

3. Adding new useful content on a regular basis is a lot like growing a blog. People will begin to take notice of you. In time, you will become viral and this is a good thing. Keeping your profile and pages fresh and alive, sparks others to visit you and want to be on your active friend’s list.

4. Start your own group. Become that meaningful, social animal. Be that expert in the field your business is in. It is more than important for you to be that person that others come to, for information that surrounds what you market. This will be how you become “viral” and explode your business.

As an expert, you really are only marketing yourself. When others seek you out for information about what you do, then trust has been established. People love to buy from those they trust!

A few things to consider:

Be open and honest with everyone about who you are and what you do. Your whole thrust is to establish trust.

Don’t spam or get involved with any “flaming”. Spamming is blatant hype and will turn everyone off. Getting involved in a “flame” war is to personally attack someone’s character. Don’t even think about this. If anyone flames you, remember that “Silence is golden”. Don’t respond to flaming by flaming back at anyone.

Honestly, if you follow even half of this advice, you will grow your business using social networking. It’s a natural winner. Just be yourself and market your business, by marketing yourself in your social groups, etc.

November 30, 2008 Posted by | Social Networking | , , , , | Leave a comment

Businesses Should Embrace Facebook

More and more businesses are putting themselves on Facebook, and if you have not done this yet, you need to start! Facebook, and other social networking sites like this are proving to be an enormous boon for businesses large and small. If you want to make sure that you are not getting left behind, you need to figure out what it can do. If you are looking at the precedent that other businesses have set, you will find that Facebook can do you a lot of favors. When you want to see what this social networking can do for you, keep a few things in mind!

The first thing that you need to remember is that first and foremost, Facebook is a networking site. It is not meant to be a place to sell things, and if you use your page to try to push products or services down your prospective audience’s throat, you are going to find that you are losing out! Facebook is very good for what it is designed for, and that is making social connections. It is a place to make yourself and what you do known, and if you keep this in mind, you will have a much better shot of using this network to its best advantage.

Facebook is a great tool when it comes to helping people get to know your services more intimately. It helps them put a human face to the service that you are providing. Say, for example, you sell handmade, hand-painted beads. When people see pictures of the beads on your website, they think that it is very pretty, but then they don’t think much more about it. On the other hand, if they know about the funny experiences that you had when you were making the beads, or why you chose the designs that you did, you will find that they now have a personal connection to what you are trying to do.

You will also find that Facebook will be very good for your own company as well. Many businesses are now finding that they don’t really mind when their employees sneak a few moments using this site, especially when there might be better contacts in it for them. What you are looking for when you are thinking about making sure that you get the most out of your Facebook? Remember that it is a way to open yourself up to the world around you, and when you are making contacts in this way, it can help you out a great deal.

Whether you only maintain a cursory presence on Facebook, or you jump into it head first, you will find that it can do you a lot of favors. Take some time to really consider what your options are going to be when it comes to getting the kind of networking presence that you are looking for; this can make a huge difference to the audience that you get and the quality of the attention that you are receiving.

November 6, 2008 Posted by | Social Networking | , , | Leave a comment