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Our Team’s 10 Predictions for 2011

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As the end of 2010 draws closer, our team wanted to share ten predictions for 2011 that you might find interesting.

Websites are here to stay…

Websites are here to stay but the look and feel will change dramatically in 2011. Because of the emerging tablet industry, website owners will request the site become more friendly with the iPad – buttons will be larger and easier to click, text will increase in size, and layout’s will become simple and clean. In addition, Flash video, photo galleries, and animations will drop off the radar and be replaced by HTML5 and jQuery markup – that basically does the same thing, but will download more quickly and not eat away at the processing power.

Since the April launch of the iPad, we will see websites becoming more tablet friendly.Since the April launch of the iPad, we will see websites becoming more tablet friendly.

Mobile websites for every business…

Lately, our team has been investing a lot of time into mobile website development. Everywhere we go, more and more people are connecting through the web on their smartphones. (Don’t forget to sign up for our mobile giveaway at www.wisnet.com/social/!) It’s predicted that by 2013 web access on mobile phones will surpass that of home computers. The difference between a mobile website and today’s normal website is screens are much smaller, download speeds are slower, and mobile users are on the go. This means most small business owners will have a simplified version of their site with just the bare necessities, i.e., a list of services, products, contact information, and a link for mapping the location. And in case you weren’t aware, a recent Forrester study says 49% of small business owners use smartphones. If you’re in B2B, then a mobile website is a must for 2011!

In 2011, many businesses will expand to mobile websites and make it easier for smartphone users to access their content.In 2011, many businesses will expand to mobile websites and make it easier for smartphone users to access their content.

Increase in social marketing campaigns…

In 2011, more and more companies will hire our team to run their social media campaigns and monitor their reputation. We’re not talking about only setting up a Facebook and Twitter profile; we’re talking about full-blown campaigns that run for months at a time. Owners are beginning to understand why Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are important. Other owners will be forced into it when poor reviews and testimonials overlap their marketing efforts. Although it sounds frustrating, social marketing has a good return on investment (ROI) and makes your company more transparent. In other words, it can be fun!

Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Places, and Groupon are one of many social networks used for social marketing campaigns.Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Places, and Groupon are one of many social networks used for social marketing campaigns.

SEO becomes complex, local search becomes relevant with geolocation…

Everyone wants to be ranked #1 on Google for this, that, and everything in between. For small local businesses the expense makes it impossible. In the past, ranking #1 meant competing against your competition. Today, in addition to competition, you have to compete with microformats, reviews, social snippets, blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook Likes, Tweets, and other material. It’s not the same anymore and it’s complex! Good news is, in the past year, Google has made many advancements towards localizing search results. They are well aware of the move to mobile phone devices and the need for geolocation. All new and modern browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) can detect your location, resulting in Google displaying local businesses near you. Keeping your listing optimized, offering exclusive discounts, responding to poor reviews, and cross promoting them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare will become the norm.

With microformats, images, and reviews, it is more difficult to have your website appear on the first page of Google.With microformats, images, and reviews, it is more difficult to have your website appear on the first page of Google.

Optimizing communities…

Although communities are nothing new, business owners will start to understand the importance of building and maintaining them. All your company’s followers on Facebook are a community. Your email subscribers would be another community. Exclusive offers will be given to cross-promote communities. Most businesses rely on word-of-mouth advertising and fostering communities allows your clients to help spread the word for you. In 2011, some businesses will champion new communities while others reduce them so more effort can be focused on the ones that return with the best results.

Building, maintaining, and optimizing social outlets are goals for many businesses in 2011. Building, maintaining, and optimizing social outlets are goals for many businesses in 2011.

Monitoring reputations (reviews)…

Since local search will dominate the scene in 2011 you will want to make sure poor reviews get an appropriate response, and if needed, hide them (with good reviews) so they are barely noticeable. It’s a difficult task for those new to the scene. Prevention is the best method but when all else fails we expect to see more companies request our services to monitor their reputation and provide consultation.

Having no reviews isn’t any better than having poor reviews. 2011 will be the year businesses give attention to reviews on local listings.Having no reviews isn’t any better than having poor reviews. 2011 will be the year businesses give attention to reviews on local listings.

Geolocation exclusive offers…

Geolocation is new for most businesses. Using a mobile phone with built-in GPS, services such as Foursquare allow clients to ‘check-in’ to your location. When checked-in, their friends become aware of where they shop and dine – and that can be considered word-of-mouth advertising. In return, business owners provide incentives and discounts for check-ins.

Foursquare adds geotagging to a local business owner’s marketing arsenal.  Foursquare adds geotagging to a local business owner’s marketing arsenal.

QR codes…

QR codes will be found everywhere! If it’s not Foursquare check-in clings, it will be QR clings stuck to windows, embedded on websites, and advertised on TV. A QR code is a barcode such as the ones found on a cereal box…well not really, but close. Smartphone users can easily scan a QR code with the built-in camera. Instantly, clients will be taken to a website or landing page. QR codes are easy to scan, compared to typing a long web address on the small mobile keyboard. Oh, and you can hold a smartphone up to a TV and scan a QR code – it’s that cool!

Google Places provides a printable QR code to hang at your location. QR codes can be added to the contact page of your website where visitors can easily grab directions.Google Places provides a printable QR code to hang at your location. QR codes can be added to the contact page of your website where visitors can easily grab directions.

Online marketing…

Spending for online marketing will dramatically increase. It’s not clear if Google Pay-Per-Click (PPC) produces better ROI (return on investment) compared to that of Facebook yet. Lately, we have seen many local companies advertise on Facebook. Demographics for the advertisement can be broken down to the city, age, gender, relationship status, education, workplace and more – WOW! You can run a campaign for all 25-55 single women, who graduated college, live in Fond du Lac (WI), and are working at Charter Communications! Now, that’s amazing! Of course, 2011 will be the year to find out what works and what doesn’t – Facebook users might not be in the mood to shop compared to those who are searching via Google.

Demographic targeting can easily be accomplished through Facebook. Demographic targeting can easily be accomplished through Facebook.

Email marketing is not going away…

For some odd reason everyone seems to have a grudge against email. It’s not interactive and most of the time it feels impersonal. To counter the animosity email will become more social, personalized, and owners will start incorporating team photographs and video. There will always be clients that despise Facebook – email might be the only way to communicate with them. By offering email-only exclusive offers a community can be built that can rival your fan base on Facebook. Email, along with Facebook and Twitter, are the few marketing channels where promotions can be created and sent within hours – and we have seen this done with smart business owners who use these channels just as the weather turns sour, e.g., ‘Mountain’s Flower Shoppe will be closed for the massive snow storm tomorrow. All online orders are 20% off!’ Now that’s quick thinking!

Our December email campaign had Holiday email tips and pictures of our account executives.Our December email campaign had Holiday email tips and pictures of our account executives.

To the cloud and beyond…

If you’re out of the loop you might not have heard about the cloud. Traditionally, company’s purchased software programs and spent a great deal of time installing and configuring them on their computers and network. When disaster struck, a quick call on the bat phone usually turned into a long wait for the technician to appear. Today, companies are using software on the cloud, e.g., Google Docs, Hosted Exchange, SalesForce, and our very own project management program called PM. At first, the monthly charge makes a business owner quiver. Once they realize they won’t need to pay the IT guy $125 an hour to upgrade software, fix glitches, and drive to the location, it becomes very affordable.

Here at wisnet.com, we offer our clients POP3/IMAP webmail and hosted Microsoft Exchange services. It’s fast, secure, and never needs maintenance. Plus, it feels like a desktop application! We predict that in 2011 many of our clients will be moving away from traditional desktop applications, such as Outlook and Entourage, and move to the cloud (wisnet.com webmail and Hosted Exchange).

Moving to the cloud will reduce unnecessary time managing and maintaining software and local networks.Moving to the cloud will reduce unnecessary time managing and maintaining software and local networks.

Wow, amazing changes are happening in 2011! From all the research we accumulated this past year we have great confidence our ten predictions will come true. Well, then again, we never saw the iPad coming in April of 10’ and word is Apple recently patented holographic technology. Next thing we know, we will be developing 3d holographic advertisements to view while clients are waiting to be teleported into a conference meeting…in Antarctica. Your guess is as good as ours. (:

How To Remove Personal Profiles from Facebook Pages Permanently

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Changing ownership on Facebook was a real hassle back in the days – actually, it wasn’t possible for a while. Usually, an employee would create the Page under their personal profile. When they left the company the page went with them, leaving business owners with the hassle of rebuilding their fan base. Then Facebook provided the option to transfer ownership from one personal profile to the next – and this was a major improvement. Still, there were issues and not all the features were available for Pages. To remedy the problems we are going to explain how to transfer a page to it’s own login and password… making personal account access history! Stick around as we walk you through the process.

Messages, favorites, and Insights…

When a Facebook Page was created using a personal profile a few issues transpired. Sometimes, administrators would accidently send messages to Fans using the personal account. Most didn’t realize this until after the message was sent.

Then there was a problem where it was not possible to ‘Favorite Pages’ for a Page – it would end up in the personal account. What was even weirder was that some how a few were ‘favorited’ on the Page but there was no way to remove them.

Lastly, we found that adding Facebook Insights to your website was impossible unless the original creator of the Page was involved in the process. Well, to tell the truth, we haven’t tested it to see if setting up Insights is any easier, but we’re assuming it will be when the primary personal account has been removed.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Create an email…

First, create (or find) a new email account that hasn’t been used with any other Facebook profiles or pages. Test the email to make sure it works before proceeding!

Step 2: Create a business account…

Go to How-to Guide to Create a Facebook Fan Page and follow steps 1 through 11 to create a business profile. For now, create a fictitious company (we will delete it later). Then proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Before it gets confusing…

Okay, before we get to far ahead, open up two different browsers. It can be IE and Firefox, Chrome and Safari; mix-and-match – you’re choice. Log into the personal account with one browser and the business profile with the other.

Step 4: Adding an administrator…

After logging into the personal profile go to the Facebook Page and click Edit Page.

Click Edit Page to log into the control panel.Click Edit Page to log into the control panel.

Step 5: Basic Information…

This will lead you to the Basic Information tab, click Manage Admins.

In the Page control panel click Manage Admins.In the Page control panel click Manage Admins.

Step 6: Add the new email address…

On step 1 we had you create a new email address, enter it here to create a new administrator.

Add a new Facebook Page administrator with the new email address we created in Step 1.Add a new Facebook Page administrator with the new email address we created in Step 1.

Step 7: Save changes…

A modal box will appear. Click the blue button that says Save Changes.

Click Save Changes on the modal box that appears.Click Save Changes on the modal box that appears.

Step 8: Let’s double-check our work…

Open up the other browser and log into the business profile that we created on Step 2.

Log into the business profile within a different browser.Log into the business profile within a different browser.

Step 9: What do you see?

If you see the Facebook Page along, with the fictitious account, you are on track!

If the Facebook Page appears you now have admin rights.If the Facebook Page appears you now have admin rights.

Alright, it’s clean up time!

The next steps will include removing the fictitious account and personal administrators.

Step 10: Removing the fictitious business profile…

We’ve seen many profiles disabled because of glitches or content violating Facebook’s policies. I would believe it’s in your best interest to remove this profile. Click Edit Page next to the bogus profile.

Click Edit Page to remove the fictitious profile.Click Edit Page to remove the fictitious profile.

Step 11: Manage permissions…

Then click Manage Permissions from the control panel.

Click Manage Permissions to proceed.Click Manage Permissions to proceed.

Step 12: Permanently delete the page…

From the Manage Permissions page click Permanently delete this Page.

Permanently delete the page to remove it.

Step 13: Delete Page?

Double-check! Make sure you’re not deleting the official Page! When ready, click Delete.

Click Delete to remove the Page.Click Delete to remove the Page.

Great job! What’s next?

Now it’s time to delete the other administrators. Remember, we’re removing the personal accounts. Go back to the other browser, the one where you are logged into the personal account.

Step 14: Remove admins…

If you’re not already there, go to Manage Admins. Once there, click Remove to the right of the personal profiles.

Remove the personal profiles.Remove the personal profiles.

Step 15: Save changes…

After clicking remove you will notice that the personal profiles lighten up. It is indicating these are the items that will be removed. Click Save Changes.

Click Save Changes to remove the personal profiles.Click Save Changes to remove the personal profiles.

That’s it! CONGRATULATIONS!

Now that the Facebook Page is not connected to any personal accounts you do not have to fret about employees walking away with your fan base. In addition, there will be less confusion between a personal profile and business Page.

Congratulations, you have successfully removed all personal profiles from your Facebook Page.

Now, when adding a page to our Favorites…

Add to My Page’s Favorite’ appearing under the logo on the Facebook Page.

…it appears on our Facebook Page.

A favorite has been added to our business page.A favorite has been added to our business page.

Good luck with your social media campaign! Share your comments below.

A Profile for Today’s Social Savvy Professional

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In today’s social marketplace consumers want to know who you are before making any purchasing decisions. Unlike LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook; about.me takes it one step further – instead of the 99% to 1% ratio of content versus your photograph, they flip it entirely, showcasing one LARGE photograph of you with a just enough room for a bio. Plus, it’s a grandiose introduction to you (physically) while visitors can quickly scan your networks to see more social activity. Our beloved photographer Brian was our first guinea pig. After viewing his profile you can see why this will work with other professionals such as speakers, business owners, account executives, and staff members who interact with clients. Keep reading to find out a little more about.me.

A business card for a social savvy professional…

About.me was created to pool together multiple online profiles, scattered across various services, including Facebook, Linkedin, Flickr and Twitter; into a single on-line identity. The only other option would be to google the person – which is time-consuming. The about.me profile can be considered an attractive virtual business card for professionals. Below is Brian’s profile and a few others found on about.me.

Brian Kolstads profile on about.me.Brian Kolstad’s profile on about.me.
Colleen Hoopers about.me profile.Colleen Hooper’s about.me profile.
Ryan Freitas, co-founder of about.me.Ryan Freitas, co-founder of about.me.
Maggie Masons profile on about.me.Maggie Mason’s profile on about.me.

Go ahead and reserve your username on about.me today!

To get started, go to about.me, and reserve your desired username. Once the account is ready (which might take a month) you will be notified via email. It takes approximately two hours to perfect a profile when adding a bio and connecting to social networks. Plus, spend some time and make sure to have a good photograph!

Creating a profile on about.me is fairly simple.Creating a profile on about.me is fairly simple.

Conclusion

Professionals looking to ‘introduce’ themselves (with a mugshot!) will be interested in about.me. Our only recommendation is to hire a professional photographer for the colossus photograph that is needed. Brian would be a good choice!

Marketing this Holiday Season – Newsletter – Issue 2

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Here’s our latest newsletter from our Holiday campaign. The newsletter provided tips on local listings and Pay-Per-Click advertising. Plus, with less than a month before the holidays are off the radar we wanted to give you some ideas on what is possible. If you missed out on the email go to wisnet.com Newsletter – Holiday Issue #2. If you are interested in subscribing, scroll to the bottom of this article and subscribe to the rocket ship. Have a Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Screenshot of the wisnet.com Holiday Newsletter sent out early December. Have a look!Screenshot of the wisnet.com Holiday Newsletter sent out recently. Have a look!

Google Webmaster Tools – Improving Inbound Linkage

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To improve your ranking on search engines it is good practice to find other websites to link to your website. Then, it’s about using the right keyword phrase (also called anchor text) in the link. Google Webmaster Tools has added a new feature that shows external websites linking to your site and a sampling of the anchor text they use. With this valuable information you can see what Google thinks about your website. Let’s dig a little deeper to get a better understanding of anchor text along with more details about the new feature in Google Webmaster Tools.

What is Google thinking?

Google continuously crawls websites to find out what they are about. In addition, it analyses the data to see what these websites are saying about your site. That means other websites help Google determine how your site is ranked! Let’s hope they are ranked with words that are related to your industry.

Perusing websites you might have seen links that say ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. This is unhelpful to Google. If your company specializes in cheese, use ‘Read More About our Award Winning Wisconsin Cheese’ as an alternative.

Example of detailed anchor text being used.Example of detailed anchor text being used.

Note: Sometimes, the way the site was designed; there isn’t enough room to add more than one or two words. Ask your website developer to add Title Attributes and ALT tags to the links.

When mousing over the ‘Read more’ text the Title Attribute will appear.When mousing over the ‘Read more’ text the Title Attribute will appear.

Let’s take a peak at the new features in Google Webmaster Tools…

Within Google Webmaster Tools you can see an overview of the sites that link to your site. In addition, it will tell you how many times they link back.

Overview of links to your site within Google Webmaster Tools.Overview of links to your site within Google Webmaster Tools.

Top domains that have links to pages on your website…

Under ‘All domains’ is a list of the external sites, number of links, linked pages, and which pages they link too. In this example it looks like the website is linking to an interior page about webmail; and this is good news. If every website linked to the homepage, Google would think the rest of the site does not have worthwhile content.

Under ‘All domains’ it will list the top domains that link to pages on your website.Under ‘All domains’ it will list the top domains that link to pages on your website.

Linking with anchor text…

Here is the most important part; anchor text. This report will provide words (or phrases) that are used as anchor links. In the example below, it is indicating ‘wisnet.com llc’ as the most popular phrase while ‘read more’ is not far behind. We would like to see ‘award winning website designs’ or ‘application development experts’ up there. That means we have a lot of work ahead of us!

Anchor text used to link to wisnet.com. Anchor text used to link to wisnet.com.

In the above example item 55 (seite) is German for ‘page’. With the potential of thousands of websites linking to your site, (and in many different languages) it might not be possible to get all of them to link back using quality anchor text. Start with local organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and visitors bureau.

Summary:

  • Remember that ‘click here’ and ‘read more’ is not helpful anchor text.
  • If room is not available, have your website developer add Title Attributes.
  • Link to other pages besides the homepage. (Spread the wealth.)
  • Start with your local Chamber of Commerce, visitor’s bureau, vendors, etc.

Conclusion

With the new features built into Google Webmaster Tools we now have a better idea what Google thinks about a website. Besides finding out who is linking to your website, you can see the keyword-enriched words being used as anchor text. When the opportunity arises take advantage of using quality anchor texts to tell Google what your website clearly is about.