Archive for July, 2009

h1

Social Media? I Don’t Get It!

July 18, 2009

There are two terms that people seem to use interchangeably: social networking and social media. Social networking is the activity of connecting and establishing relationships with people on the internet. You may never meet these people in person and yet, you get to know them quite well due to your conversations with them on the internet. Social media are the tools and websites that you use for social networking Typically, social media are websites with communities of people that you befriend, connect with, follow, etc.

Why

There are many reasons for using social media tools. Individuals use it for personal & professional branding, a source for information & news, to keep in touch with old & new friends, and because it is fun. Businesses use social media because it is a low cost way of marketing their brand. Although they can’t specifically point to a good ROI, they see increased awareness of their products & services, increased traffic to their website, and thus, increased revenue. Recent studies have shown that social media is more popular than email.

The Top Three

The top 3 tools/websites that people use are: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. LinkedIn is still the most popular way for professionals to connect. However, Facebook is edging into that territory and still has the largest number of users worldwide. Facebook allows professionals to create more personal relationships. As a result, the fastest growing group of Facebook users are professionals over the age of 44. Twitter has seen more than a 1000+% increase in users since the beginning of the year. Twitter is only 2 years old and an entire growth industry has sprouted around it. People are now using Twitter to spread news, make announcements, and share knowledge. It is the quickest viral marketing tool.

Note: Yammer is a tool that larger companies are using to allow their employees to tweet between themselves without allowing non-employees to see their tweets.

Must Haves

Just like our March Newsletter, there are 4 tools you need to market your brand on the internet. They are: a LinkedIn Profile, a Facebook Page, a Twitter account, and an interactive website using a wiki or blog. All of these need to be integrated into your website, your business cards, and any other collateral you use to market your company. If you have one of these, each day you need to update your statuses on them. Ping.fm will allow you to do this easily.

Next Steps

The first step in using social media tools is to create a brand strategy. Once you have a brand strategy, you are ready to implement a marketing plan for the internet. Your brand strategy will guide you in determining the content for your profiles, choosing which social media tools to use, and posting your daily updates/statuses.

Start out by creating an account and then watch what what people are saying. As you begin to feel more comfortable, start adding to the conversation by posting updates to your LinkedIn and Facebook pages, connect with people you know, and start tweeting your own bits of knowledge. Soon you will feel more comfortable and you will “get it”. You can also come to our Tech 101 Workshop Series to learn and do.

Remember

There are no experts in social media. It is evolving so quickly that we are all scrambling to keep up. And no one know how will it be affected by the new leap in web technology – web 3.0.

One Warning

Do not be a scammer and do protect your personal information that could be used to steal your identify.

The Tektite Group is here to help you figure out how to use technology to market your brand on the internet and manage your company which will result in increased revenue. Give us a call or send us an email if you need our help.

Advertisements
h1

Website Design Factors

July 16, 2009

With the evolution of Web 2.0, anyone can have a website because it is fairly simple to do it yourself or to use a set of templates from an internet service provider. However, before you jump in to creating or redesigning a website, you need to think about several issues.

First Set of Website Design Questions

  • What is my product or service?
  • What is my message/brand?
  • Do I have a marketing plan?
  • Who do I want to use my website?
  • How do I want them to use it? (i.e. what services, products or information will be on your webside)
  • Do I have a budget & what is it?
  • Do I have the time required?

If you can’t answer the above questions or you responded ‘No’ to the last 2 questions, then you need to pause before moving forward. Once you have answered the questions and can respond ‘Yes’ to the last 2 questions, you are ready for the next set of issues.

Second Set of Website Design Questions

  • What is a good name for my website?
  • Based on my service or product, how many & what pages do I need?
  • What type of website do I need? (e.g. brochure, e-commerce, interactive, community, blog, wiki, etc.)
  • Do I have time to update my website on a regular basis?
  • Do I need to track inventory via my website? (only need to answer if selling something online)
  • Do I need to collect information from my visitors? Can I do it via an email or do I need a form?
  • Do I have any other special needs? (I want people to be able to send/download files, I want to show videos, I want to integrate social media tools, I want online chat, etc.)
  • Is my budget large enough? (time = cost)
  • Do I really have the time required to create and maintain it?

You must be able to answer all of the above questions and respond ‘Yes’ to the last 2 questions. If not, then do not move forward until you can answer all of them.

Third Set of Website Design Questions

  • What do my competitors’ website look like? What do I like/dislike about them?
  • What words will people use in Google to find my website?
  • Can I design the website myself or do I need help?
  • Do I have a logo? If not, how do I get one?
  • Where will I get the content for the pages on my website? (do it myself or hire someone)
  • What is my brand message and can I tell a compelling story?
  • Why will people come to my website & why will they keep coming back to it?
  • What is my budget? (even your time costs $$)
  • Do I have the time to create it & maintain it?

After answering these questions, you are ready to decide if and how you want to proceed.

Final Thoughts about Website Design

Almost anyone can have a website, but you do need to create a plan just like you did for your company. Ultimately, the three bottom line questions are:

  • Do you have the money required to create and maintain a website?
  • Do you have the time required to create and maintain a website?
  • Do you have the skills to do it yourself or do you need help?

As we discussed in a previous article, a website is one of the Four Things you need to make your business credible so if you don’t have the money, you need to find the money. If you don’t have the time, you need to find the time. If you don’t have the knowledge, you need to get the knowledge or help.

If you want to explore this subject more, come to our Website Design & Creation workshop on the 3rd Thursday of each month. In the morning we will discuss more factors you need to consider and we will show you how to create a website. If you stay for the afternoon, you will have a chance to create your own website.

If you need help with any of this, contact us. The Tektite Group has a variety of options that fit multiple budgets and time constraints. We can and will help you figure out the best solution for your business.

//

//

h1

The Four Things Every Business Needs

July 16, 2009

There are four things every business needs to be considered a “real” company.  Those four things are: business cards for all employees, a domain name, company branded email addresses for all employees, and a website.

A business card is an extension of the individual.  As such, you want your business card to be a reflection of your employee and your company.  It should be easy to read so watch the small print and color choices.  It must contain the person’s name, title, work phone number and email address.  It may contain a logo, a tag line for the company, cell phone number, and business address, but watch how much you put on it…more content means small print.  Some people use the back to list a variety of things; i.e. products, services, target clients, current clients, a larger image of their logo, etc..

In order to have branded email addresses and a website, your business needs to have a domain name, sometimes called a URL.  A domain name is a recognizable name for a numerical address on the internet.  It is sort of like your postal address.  It points to your company on the internet.  Choosing a domain name is very important.  Choosing the right domain name is a real science.  I could write an entire article on how to choose the right domain name.  Briefly, a domain name like “XxxLegalServices.com” is better than “XxxLLC.com”.  Xxx Legal Services clearly states what the business does.  Also, get multiple versions of your domain name so that some other company can’t come along and use something which is too close to your name.  There are many companies that register domain names.  Be careful choosing the vendor registering your domain name.  Some are better than others and offer more free services with your domain name.

Each of your employees need a company branded email address.  Having an email ending in “@hotmail”, “@gmail”, “@aol”, etc. just gives the wrong impression.  Your email addresses should always end in your registered domain name.  For instance: companyname@comcast.com says something different than johnsmith@companyname.com.  Company branded email addresses increase the way people view the credibility of your company.  Many domain registrars now offer a free email account with each domain name you register with them.

Finally, your company needs to have a website.  Unless you are selling goods or services on line or you are a graphic designer, it does not have to be flashy.  It needs to be a place where current clients and potential clients can find out who you are as a company.  The first thing potential clients do is check out the business’s website.  Having a website may not increase your business, but not having one will decrease your business.  If you don’t have a website, there is a greater chance they will choose to do business with a competitor that does have a website.

Just a Hint: If you have more than 1 business, do not have a website for each business.  That just dilutes your message, is harder to maintain, and may hurt your ranking by the search engines.  Instead have 1 website with as many sub-areas as the businesses you have.  You can always have domain names which point to each of your sub-areas on your website.  If you do it this way, you should always have a link up to your main website so that you can do cross marketing of your various businesses.

Final Thoughts: You say, but “I can’t afford it right now”.  What you can’t afford is to lose business because you don’t have the basics for your company.  These are just other necessary business expenses.  Now days, you can print your own business cards so the only expense is the business card stock and the ink for your printer.  There are ways to get your domain name, website, and your branded email addresses for under a couple thousand dollars.  Once your website is up, the annual cost goes down.  So even though the economy is rough, you need to take the time now to make sure your company has the basic requirements for every business.  Then when the economy starts to recover, you will be ready for the increase.  During hard times, it is more important than ever to invest in marketing and branding your company.

Contact us and we can show you how to do this on a budget.   Visit our website and learn why we use the economical choice of a wiki for our website.

h1

Wikis: What Are They & Why You Need One

July 16, 2009

The question we get most often is “What is a Wiki?”. Simply stated a wiki is a website which allows people to contribute or modify the content on the website. Wiki is Hawaiian. It means fast. Wiki websites can be created quickly and are easy to maintain. Unlike traditional websites, contributors to a wiki only need to know how to use a word processor like MS Word.

The most famous wiki is Wikipedia which is an online encyclopedia where visitors add to the base of knowledge on various topics. Clubs and organizations have used wikis to create collaborative websites where members of the community can add to the knowledge stored on their website. Businesses have used them for intranets, as a repository for shared documents and/or as Knowledge Management systems.

The Tektite Group looks at wikis as a technology. Used this way, wikis can be used to provide an economical way to augment a current website or to create a new website for a client. Thus, businesses which could not afford the development of a traditional content management website can now afford to have their own website where they can change the content as often as they wish.

Click here to read more about how and why The Tektite Group uses a wiki for their company website.