Today’s guest post is by Cheryl Pickett who helps relieve solo-entrepreneurs and small business owners of online marketing overwhelm.
Contrary to popular belief, the main idea behind promoting your business online is not simply to amass huge quantities of friends, followers, links, or pins. While getting people to come to your virtual home on the web is definitely important, just hitting numbers is far from the whole story.
Why? Because numbers don’t like, trust or buy. People do. And people should not be numbers. What you want instead is people who are engaged with you and have or desire some level of relationship with you.
How do you accomplish that with all of the other tasks begging for attention each day? In this case it’s by working smarter not harder. One way to do that is by leveraging the power of online/email alerts which will help you build relationships without creating an insane amount of new work.
What Are Alerts?
For anyone who may not have heard this term before in relationship to online marketing, an alert is simply an automated message which is set to inform or notify you of a particular kind of information.
Why Should You Use Alerts?
There’s no doubt that online marketing strategies take time. They also can involve a lot of information that has to be managed. This is where the working smarter not harder comes in. Let those internet spiders bring the information you want to you, rather than spending your time hopping from site to site to site trying to keep up with everything by yourself.
What Kinds of Alerts Can You Set & How Will They Make Your Life Easier?
Being that we are talking about online marketing here, the alerts we’re going to take a quick look at will all help you manage information related to your website/blog and a few major social media platforms. Once you understand these, you can easily look for similar functions at other platforms.
1. Blog Comments
First, it’s important to understand that your own website/blog needs to be the hub of your online activity. Even though there are those who say you can get by having a Facebook page, to rely on any social media is a pretty scary proposition. Instead, you want a space you control and where there are few limits on what you can do.
The most important alert you’ll want to create for your blog or any other interactive part of your site is for comments. Make sure you get an email whenever there is one.
Why? Because it’s very much like an in person conversation. People aren’t commenting just to see their words in print (well, not usually). In fact, for most, it means they’ve taken a few extra minutes out of their day to “talk” to you. You should reply back. While you don’t necessarily have to say thanks if someone just writes “nice post”, if there’s more to it than that, you should reply. That’s what you would do if you were face to face, right? Remember, people, not numbers or just a list of names are your visitors. Alerts help you keep track and follow up in a timely fashion.
2. Blog Comments Part 2 – Trackbacks & Pingbacks
I won’t even begin to get into the technical part or finer points of how these work. MaAnna has a great post that does that here. What I will talk about is their importance. In a nutshell, trackbacks and pingbacks tell you that someone else has linked to your post. This is good to know for a variety of reasons. One of the more important being that when it’s a legit link, you’ll want to find out more about the blogger and what they may have written about you/your post on their site. Why? It’s an essentially an open door to building those relationships you’re looking for.
Case in point, that’s how this post came about. MaAnna has linked to my blog a couple of times in her roundups and I followed the link, participated and got to know her better. Knowing about such links is pretty difficult without some kind of alert system.
3. Social Media
Whether you use social media platforms for pleasure, business or a bit of both, the possible kinds of alerts (often called notifications) can be overwhelming. The biggest thing to know here is you don’t need all of them. For business/marketing purposes the important ones would be comments for any groups you are in and comments on your own updates..
Without an alert set up, you’d need to manually review all conversations each day/week and most of us don’t have time for that. And if you are serious about participation, you’ll want daily updates rather than the weekly digest that some platforms offer so that conversation is current. Pick one or two groups to follow daily, especially to start. You can always add more later.
4. Google Alerts
Google Alerts have been around for quite a while and unlike the others above, you can set these for almost any searchable topic you want to stay on top of. If nothing else, set one for your name or company name. While the system does not catch everything, it’s still worth setting up especially if you are publishing a lot of posts or articles on sites other than your own.
If you’ve never used alerts before, hopefully you can now see the time saving and stress reducing benefits they offer. If you have been using them, I’d love to hear what they helped you achieve in the comments. MaAnna and I will be waiting for our alerts to start popping!
Cheryl Pickett’s mission is to take the overwhelm out of online marketing for solo-entrepreneurs and small business owners including non-fiction authors. You can check out her blog and find out more at www.cherylpickett.com When she’s not online, she also enjoys going to marching band competitions and has a long list of zoos and aquariums she’d love to visit someday.