Recently I realized that I had been rather spoiled by the quality of service that Microwebb Software provided, and because of that I will unabashedly give them a salute. What brought this realization was hearing how many business owners were not really sure about the companies they had hired to do search engine optimization. With MicroWebb Software I learned about the process, and what I was paying for.
Unfortunately search engine optimization is not the only area where otherwise savvy business owners take a leap of faith. This also holds true when it comes to their websites and social media platforms.
A lot of this stems from the fact that computers and the internet can be intimidating, but indispensable. Business owners have been told that both websites, and social media, is now needed for modern marketing, and so the owners, sometimes reluctantly, have a website built. Then, perhaps, they enter the realm of social media.
Of course, with larger companies they can hire someone to handle all of the intricacies, and the rest of the staff can stay focused on the real work. For the small to mid-sized business owners, however, they first tackle the large investment of hiring someone to create their website, and when the site is done they are willing to let it "do its thing." Then they may turn their attention to Facebook and Twitter, but often they cannot see much purpose to the exercise.
And after a while the owners are approached and told that their website needs something called "search engine optimization." It sounds necessary, and much like was done with the original website, the owners hire someone to deal with the mystery.
Where all of this is leading is a suggestion for a checklist that every business owner should keep. The realm of the internet, and web-based marketing, is speeding up, and this information is becoming indispensable.
1. Keep your web designer's name and contact information handy so they can keep your site updated with social media icons, and links for blogs.
2. The name of the company who did your search engine optimization so that you know what their package included. You will end up having more questions, such as, "Does it include handling social media marketing too?
3. Keep a list of your user names and passwords to your social media sites. What once appeared to be frivolous is now becoming a vital part of your marketing strategy.
Take nothing for granted.
Even if you don't really want to deal with it - keep the information at hand!!
The other afternoon I was reminded why so many think of social media as "fluffy."
Sometimes it is hard to remember that social media is a powerful tool when your personal newsfeed is deluged with others' games updates, and photos of home meals. (And I will apologize in advance to all friends who are sending the above in the name of sharing. I do appreciate the spirit of fellowship behind it; even if I don't understand the result).
However, this is not a rant about "fluffiness," because amongst the games and the dinners were other reminders - reminders of the true power of social media. The power to give voice to those who are normally voiceless.
A year ago one of my friends shared a video about a rescued dog named, Patrick.
The video was heart rending as it showed a horrible emaciated young Pit Bull, which had been saved from a trash bin. Fortunately the dog, named Patrick, since he was found near St. Patrick's Day, was taken to a veterinary hospital, and from there the world began to follow the story of his recovery. Later the feed became known as the Patrick Miracle, and this formed the base for other rescue efforts. And from the updated feed I began following Chance's story from Bark N' Rest, which is a wonderful foster home for aged, and disabled, dogs. Chance is a young dog that was born with severe neurological problems, and who continues to be a inspiration as he continues to be a puppy - despite all of his many disabilities.
Over that year I watched a vast weave of connections form - not only in the U. S., but across the globe - as individuals focused on giving voice to the animals that were in need.
I do realize that this type of rescue work was going on long before I came upon Patrick, and that such social media networks are doing similar work for many other causes. However, this is just a tale of when my eyes were opened to those connections, and even though I am in the social media marketing business I want to acknowledge the people who are making use of social media's power to help those without voices.
I am adding links to some sites I have found that offer suggestions for using social media to help animal resuce:
Animal Shelter Tips.
Social Media 101 for Shelters and Rescue Groups
As a professional storyteller I have become used to the standard response to my profession......
"Do you tell in pre-schools?"
At this point I usually give my little elevator history lesson about how storytelling is a very old performing art, which can provide entertainment for all ages. I usually place a particular emphasis how folk stories, from the world's cultures, cover pretty much all of the human condition.
When I started my new business, White Fox Social Media, I made the mistake of assuming that this was an occupation that was fairly self-explanatory. So I was particularly surprised by the bemused reaction of many of my friends. And then I learned that there was also a second, consistent, reaction that came from business associates.
My friends, at the point I've declared, "I've gone into social media marketing," give me a incredulous look. Followed by an, "Oh." And by both look and tone they make it clear that I have said the equivalent of, "I have decided to re-create the Pyramid of Giza out of fluff bunnies."
Reactions are better when I mention this new occupation to business associates, since they are very aware of the power of social media in their marketing strategy. In many cases, though, it is apparent that they view the multiple needs of social media as akin to grappling a giant squid.
So now I am developing two new elevator speeches.
One for my friends about how social media has evolved to play a vital role in marketing.
And one for my business associates to explain that the giant squid can be handled - one tentacle at a time.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.