social media how toIt’s been said visibility equals opportunity.

No matter how great your product, service or business is, if your prospective customer can’t find you on the web, it’s like you don’t exist.

As you know, anyone who has access to the Internet (at last count, there were 1.8 billion people), uses it to find solutions to their problems.

Here’s a three-step formula to get you started creating a visible presence on the web, resulting in more opportunities for your business: leads, prospects, sales, media queries, speaking gigs and joint ventures.

#1: Use Your Blog to Set the Stage

A blog is your foundation and starting point for strategically getting your message out to the world.  If you don’t have a blog yet, the place to start your planning and preparation is this article: Top 10 Easy Steps to Starting a Business Blog.

Using your blog as your hub, or home base, not only provides a presence on the web where you can go deep and intimate with your prospects and customers, it’s also a money-saving tool.  A blog is far less expensive to build, design and maintain than a traditional static website that may cost thousands of dollars.

Your blog is where you have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, expose your personality and give your audience the chance to get to know, like and finally trust you as you share valuable, useful content that makes their lives better.

Keep in mind that a blog is a search engine magnet. When you post consistently and constantly, the search engines tend to index your content more frequently. Using keywords relevant to what your target audience is looking for gives your content a good chance of being in the top results in searches. You become visible and findable on the web.

To target your message and/or campaign, publish a series of posts directly related to the topic you’re promoting. Whether it’s your new book, a service or a product, post content for several weeks prior to the launch date of your promotion.

If you don’t have a specific promotion, create an editorial calendar and frequently post on the prime topic and/or keywords for which you want to be found. For example, if you have a book being published, start seeding your blog with excerpts and snippets about the launch date, book signings and other events and news.

#2: Next, Use Facebook Strategically

There really shouldn’t be a lot of debate about this. With nearly half a billion users, you’ve got to have a presence on Facebook. As a business, that means you must have a page.

From a visibility perspective, this is essential because the content you post on your page gets indexed by the search engines. (If you’re not convinced your business should be on Facebook, read this article.)

At bare minimum, syndicate your blog content to your page using the Notes application.  This app pulls your blog content to your page wall and ensures your deeper content is front and center for people who land on your page and aren’t familiar with your blog. This one tactic will drive many qualified prospects back to your home base.

facebook notes

Use the Notes app to pull your blog feed to your Facebook page.

But that is just the minimum. The true value of Facebook is the relationships you build that create the desire of your “fans” to take the step and click through to your content.

Make sure you’re constantly growing your page by reminding people to join. Ask and answer questions with your keywords, send updates and let people know what you’re up to between promotions.  The more active your page, the more visible it is because every action taken by a member of your page is posted on his or her own profile with a link back to your page.

#3: Do Not Ignore Twitter

With 40 million Twitter updates every day, you want to make sure your message is on the popular microblogging platform as well. Tweets are showing up in real-time search results and with tools like and Twitter management clients like TweetDeck and HootSuite that enable you to search and follow keywords, it’s critical to have your content show up when your ideal client does a search.

Use plug-ins (Twitter Tools on WordPress) or automation services like twitterfeed and SocialOomph to make sure your blog posts and announcements about your programs are being fed to your Twitter stream on an ongoing basis. Ideally, this should be no more than 20% of your Twitter activity.

You do need to spend some time every week on Twitter, in real time, responding, replying and sharing great resources (that support your objectives). It’s a smart practice to follow your own keywords in a dedicated search column (on HootSuite for example) so you can quickly respond to comments and queries related to your products and services.

facebook notes

Set up columns in HootSuite with each of your keywords searches so you don’t miss opportunities to connect.

This isn’t rocket science but many entrepreneurs, service professionals and small and large businesses don’t integrate these tactics in their marketing plans or they are reluctant to spend the time to build their visibility. A social media marketing industry report recently revealed businesses that spend 10-20 hours a week actively working on a visibility strategy see the most rewards in terms of opportunity—whatever that looks like for your business. Those who work consistently to build an online presence will be profitable.

These are a few tactics you can quickly implement to start building your visibility on the web. Once these are in place, add one or two new tactics every week and soon you’ll be hearing people say, “I see you everywhere!”

This is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many ways to build visibility on the web.

Have you tried any of these tactics? What are your top tips?  Please comment in the box below.

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  • So right it isn’t rocket science, but for many business owners marketing their business is way down the To-Do list and often doesn’t get done at all. Marketing should be part of any good business plan. Doing simple things well can often pay back big.

  • Thanks for the great post. This puts it all together very succinctly. Easy to follow and implement.

  • I think the reason most companies dont do Social Media (or do it badly) is because its hard to quantify the ROI. The elusiveness of “brand value” is bad to begin with and changes with tides; to calculate the effort vs. payoff of blogging, facebooking, twittering, what have you; companies would have to change the way they think and act at their core.

    Also, you cant pay someone to do Social Media well. An employee would have to be passionate about his employer and few employees are diluted enough (I hope) to fall for corporate propaganda.

    The past success of corps in Social Media has always been tied to (from what I’ve observed, I could be wrong) brute force, short-term push using outside consultants.

    Maybe Social Media success (however you define that) doesnt have to be a slow and steady climb, but all evidence points to the contrary. Companies are not willing to invest in something who’s return on that investment cant be calculated on quarterly basis.

    Come to think of it, “corporations in social media” is kind of a perversion of the concept. I realize they feed most of us so we have be be well behaved and play along, but who are we kidding?

  • I relate social media to offline marketing. Instead of meeting someone at a seminar or a trade show, here is an opportunity to connect with people online. The same rules that apply to offline networking have to be applied to social media.

    @Dino the ROI for social media can be quantified at times, the social media examiner has written a great industry report on it, you should search it and perhaps read it. The conversions are way better in social media than through other online media. It’s just a much slower process.

  • Very basic and to the point. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • @vinil

    I’m a huge fan of the report, in fact I’ve shared it with some folks (and companies) that can really use it (not a lot of ROI numbers in it, but I’ll let that slide). However, as any statistical analysis it suffers from the indoctrination bias. Allow me to make my point by example.

    I was watching a commercial on TV last night. In it, they claim that 65% (could be a diff number, I forget what it was exactly) of today’s couples meet online. What is wrong with this picture?

    Did they go to an old folks home and ask people there how they meet their partners? I think not. They asked people who are A) Internet savvy, B) Within a certain age range C) Probably few other favorable criteria, make up your own, did.

    This is a classic example of the snake eating its own tail. Quantifiable (or attempt at quantifying) Social Media works much the same way.

    Who are the biggest bloggers? Those who blog about social media. Snake eating its tail.
    How many top 100 websites are reporting on social media telling us how to use it and how great it is? Snake eating its tail..etc..etc

    The report made by SME is great in a sense that it has a lot of charts, graphs, corporate speak, etc. Snake eating its own tail.

    Im a big fan of snakes, as well as their tails, so dont take this as an accusation of any sort. Im just saying that Social Media efforts cant be quantified the same way offline marketing efforts cant be quantified (even worse perhaps).

    I am sure someone can tell us who once said that 50% of the marketing money is wasted, if only we knew which 50%.

    Also, ROI is only part of the issue here. Social Media is not marketing (tho thats what corps want it to be so we are helping them), its not advertising (tho thats what its turning into), etc etc.

    The indoctrination bias here is simple. Corporations have no place in social media, but if we dont let them in, we cant make a living, so we create strategies to sell to corps, charts to make it look pretty, and so on.

    I duno…every time I see a corporation tied with social media the hair on the back of my neck stands up. It just doesn’t feel right. It doesnt feel right because it lacks sincerity, and it think thats my main problem with the concept. I blog not because I want to, but because I have to, and thats the difference. But what do I know…lol

    In either case, thanks for engaging in a lively debate… 🙂

  • Ann Marie, you’re right. Many businesses seem to put marketing on the back burner. While one could implement dozens of complex visibility tactics, simply setting up a few systems can make a big difference, as you say.

  • Thank you, Lou.

  • @Dino

    I do agree with quite a lot of what you have to say. Yes, the first time I say a major movie chain advertise on their bill boards saying “you can now join us on facebook” I found it quite strange. I have always believed and still believe social media is similar to offline networking – meeting someone at a neighborhood bar, party or through a friend.

    When a major corp says “Join xyz corp on facebook or twitter” I always wonder who are we having a conversation with? Is it the CEO or some intern, nobody walks up to you at a party and says I am microsoft corp. they may say I am Bill Gates – chairman of Microsoft Corp.

    I do feel corps need to give themselves a face, rather than try to spam and send advertising offers through social media.

    I have found social media useful in building relationships. That’s what I enjoy most about it. Today, I can say I have friends all over the world without leaving my house that include some of the most influential people in their field of work. That’s the place for social media I believe.


  • …and there is our common ground…I coudnt agree with you more.

  • Exactly! And if they would consult with industry-specific professionals who could guide them, it is resources well spent.

  • Erken

    You’ve got it all said : Blog, Facebook and Twitter, connect them all, and you’re ready to go if you keep them well fed and alive with interesting articles!

  • deereinhardt

    I just added the blog feed to my company FB fanpage. Now I just need to find out (without writing a new blog post) if a new blog post automatically posts a new FB post just like I can tweet out a new blog post has been posted.

  • Thanks Denise for the great post!

    Straight and to the point. Also, noting the critical aspect of “time well spent” is wonderful!

  • Creating columns in tweetdeck or other tweet feeders is a great way to keep your eye on important keywords associated with your post.

    Quickly you identify trends, the other day I posted on multicultural team work and created a column to follow the keyword multicultural. I saw a lot of people were retweeting another post so I got on there and commented and started to follow the blogger etc etc I bit long winded my comment but you can really spot some opps if ur sharp enough

  • Fantastic tip, Darragh. I do the same with Hootsuite and track many keywords and influential people in my industry + my clients, students and colleagues. It’s a great way to quickly connect in real time, or pretty close to it.

  • Thanks, April!

  • Very nice post. Simple yet very informative. Good job Denise.

  • Well using facebook and twitter to market your business is a great idea. And it can be a real help because you want people to see this as your first impression of you. But the problem is that people are using the internet to find out information about you that you might not want them to find with sites like where people can post ANYTHING about ANYBODY. So you have to be careful what’s going on online and that customers don’t see this about you as your first impression because this can be a real nightmare to people.

  • helenconnor

    Something so basic but so complex for some businesses. Great post – thank you!

  • Hrm, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just Facebook and Twitter. I’m sure there are numerous sites and tools you can use to drive traffic back to your site. My tips: Aim to be on top of the google ranking page. Even if FB is trying to phase out Google. It’s still the #1 search engine. So, read up on SEO tips and tricks. Use LinkedIn, Social bookmarking, ask your real life friends to help promote you by asking them nicely to put up links back to your site. Hrm, never ever spam, that’s the worst you could do. Hrm, I think I have more here:

  • Good solid tips – though you forgot one fairly key one which a LOT of businesses fail on: Integrate these presences with your corporate website. I’ve lost count of the number of times businesses have pushed all their energies on to Twitter or Facebook, yet failed to actually tell any of their EXISTING consumers and clients that they were. A link to these presences (and your blog, obviously) from your corporate homepage should be the first thing you add once they’re up and running…

  • theoolifiers

    Hello from Theo, we are trying out all of these options to drive interest in our Blog, as we are rather new to blogging , this may take time to get visitors, but building content has been fin, and now have a regular set of articles we post, as for icome from this ? that is to be seen, as we grow…
    Make it a great week
    Cheers for now.

  • Tamar, you are absolutely right. Any site you have should have links to your blog and social networks. You want prospects and clients to find you everywhere you are since each will have a different preference for how they like to engage. Thanks for adding that point…blog on!

  • Megan, certainly there are many, many more sites where one can have a presence and I advise that as well. The point of this article is to make sure you’ve got the basics down on the biggest sites and then move to the niche sites. Thanks for adding that point!

  • Hi,

    Are there any security issues with HootSuite? I just wonder where they store your personal login and password information for twitter and facebook etc.?

  • Great post Denise – I would really like to see the next in the series – as I’ve implemented these for myself and others for the last year and would like to make sure I’m going in the right direction with all the other things I’m doing in SM. Or point me toward some places where #4 – 25 are listed! Thanks in advance.

  • My blog has been receiving a downward trend in terms of traffic, am so far proceeding to my second step in monetization and am fearful of the trending. I do fear, in all honesty, using money to advertise my blog because it seems that it’s not advisable. I have 2,800++ fans on Facebook but I get very, very few visits for every post (20-30 visits). Is it time for me to spend money? I do comment on related blogs too and my feed is fed to twitter via Twitterfeed and I do answer tweets on my keywords from Hootsuite. Will appreciate your help

  • Thanks for a no-frills no-nonsense approach to social media. Small businesses with an interest in creating social media visibility should start with your article! Nicely done!!

  • I agree with all points. And remember that social media is just another channel. So use the same principles that you use in other channels like direct mail and online marketing. Meaning, have goals, try different tactics, measure your results and optimize!

  • @Dino: thanks for your hard-hitting comments. I DO think that social media has a place in B2B though, especially when you view social media as “digital word of mouth”.

    If I’m a consultant and have lots of cool videos and infographics about issues CIO’s are facing, it makes sense to share it with them, with the hope that they’ll share it with their peers.

    I think social media is particularly relevant in professional services, namely because prof services is all about relationships. Social media, when viewed as digital word of mouth amplifies and leverages relationships.

  • bellevuedentist

    I just recently signed up for Social Media Examiner and it is an exceptionally informative site. I am having overload problems with the use of Social Media, but it is interesting and exciting. The articles that I have read on SME are very well written and helpful. Keep up the good work.

  • These are not simple, but are still interesting. There are many other smaller and general social networks which can be helpful if used in the proper manner. For bloggers, it is Twitter and for businesses it is Facebook, which seems be great when worked alongside these.

  • I agree with a lot of what’s been said as well. I find it really interesting to see how the issue of businesses neglecting the importance of marketing, comes to the surface on the discussion. What should be done in order to show those entrepreneurs or business owners the importance of developing marketing strategies for their businesses. You have no idea of how many business plans I’ve seen that don’t even include the words: marketing, advertising, etc.
    I believe the interaction between entrepreneurs of different ages, business areas and even geographical areas has helped a lot to the improvement of this. But there is still a lot to do.
    I will recommend this article, for sure!

  • That’s right. Most businesses owners do not consult because we haven’t done a stellar job of showing them the value of our profession or are just plain unaware that we exist. While I say it isn’t rocket science, knowledge and experience of public relations where social media is a tactic is needed to ensure good execution. Sole practicers are a super resource to small business owners due to our low overhead and personal service.

  • briancurrin

    Wow! Perfect … exactly the affirmation I’ve been looking for … so now I can tell my clients “you see I don’t just make this stuff up”!


  • I agree that blogging and social media are powerful platforms to create brand awareness and establish credibility if used properly.

    I’ve found that many businesses shy away from Social Media as a tool in their marketing efforts simply because they lack the knowledge of how to do it and of what to do. Many companies do not embrace social media because they still have the view that only high school kids and college students use social media to network and party. As @dingo said, companies would have to change their way of thinking at the core.

    Social Media, as with Search Engine Optimization should be clearly stated as a long term effort and results may not be available for 6 months to a year or more. Companies need to commit to that understanding before they can ever expect to see any viable results. You can track your social media efforts using Google Analytics, however, the tracking is limited and time is required to compile any results.

    I use the methods and recommendations above daily and find them very beneficial, but like I said, it is a long term effort and that needs to be clearly stated up front.

  • The traffic which I get from Social Media is more than the traffic from SEO and Advertisements.

    In this blog I fully agree with #1 steps that is blogging but never used #2 and #3 to spread the visibility. The strategy which I follow is:
    #1 Blogging: post useful & informative content keeping target audience in mind.
    #2 Participating: Instead of just doing self promotion every time, I alway try to be active in Social Media by commenting, sharing information, etc. in other blogs

  • Phil

    Good solid tips – though you forgot one fairly key one which a LOT of businesses fail on: Integrate these presences with your corporate website.

  • nice post…..I have always believed and still believe social media is similar to offline networking – meeting someone at a neighborhood bar, party or through a friend.

    When a major corp says “Join xyz corp on facebook or twitter” I always wonder who are we having a conversation with? Is it the CEO or some intern, nobody walks up to you at a party and says I am microsoft corp. they may say I am Bill Gates – chairman of Microsoft Corp.

    I do feel corps need to give themselves a face, rather than try to spam and send advertising offers through social media…..

    thanks for blog……

  • Brad

    Nice post Dear, Too many entrepreneurs and businesses start blogs simply because they think “it is the thing to do” or a friend told them to do it. A little planning, as suggested in your post, goes a long way toward a successful blog!

  • Really useful and clear. A straight-to-the-point strategy that can help indeed. Thanks for sharing

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  • You are right it’s very helpful post. Social media gives more exposure opportunity as well as gives us the chance to communicate with other people and expressing our ideas online. 

  • It really isn’t rocket science Ann, I understand why so many businesses aren’t jumping in the social media bandwagon, but if they even tested it for a year to see if it’s worth to them, maybe they wouldn’t have to be so worried about whether it’s a good or bad idea.

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