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In SEO: Search Engine Optimization Getting Started, author Jill Whalen explains the importance of site rankings and why search engine optimization is necessary for increasing web site traffic. The course covers choosing the best keywords, performing keyword research, augmenting keywords with search-friendly site architecture, creating social media networking strategies, and measuring the success of an SEO campaign.
Like many things in business, sometimes the hardest part of learning and doing something is simply the getting started part. Let's go over some of the ways you can get over that hump when it comes to getting started with social media marketing. First you want to research what already exists in your market. Can you join in? Look for blogs, articles, videos, tweets, and forums. Start by doing searches on your topic at Google, then branch out to specific blog engines such as Technorati and Google's blog search.
Twitter and Facebook also have their own search engines, which are great places to start finding where people in your target market are hanging out. Once you've found some places, you start creating social media profiles. You will have a few decisions to make along the way such as should you use your own name, or that of your brand. The answer to that depends on whether you need a more personal face or if you are trying to brand your company. You might also consider having multiple profiles within your organization if it's large enough to support them. For the most part though, you'lll want to start off with just a few of the major social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
When you're ready to branch out further, there is a great site called knowem.com that lists hundreds of social media sites where you can create a profile and participate. You want to be sure to customize your profiles as much as you can with your logo, brand colors, and the like. As an aside, even if you don't participate in tons of communities, because who really has that much time, some social media profiles allow you to link back to your site which can give you a quick link popularity help. It's also good for reputation management, as your profiles should start to show up when people search for your name at regular search engines.
Now you're ready to start making some social media friends. Start by following people you know, then follow their friends, then begin observing conversations of interest to you and follow the interesting people are participating. Most web 2.0 communities also allow you to upload your contact list to see if any of them are already participating, so you can follow them too. One thing to remember with social media is that while you can set up profiles on numerous sites, if you are not participating in the conversation it won't do much for you.
When you first get started, you may not get it, as nothing will seem to be happening but when you really start to participate, assuming you found the right communities, it will eventually start making sense.
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