Archive for September, 2011
Recently, Netflix announced that its streaming content service would be separating from its extremely popular and successful DVD rentals service, and that the company would be rebranding the DVD service under a new name: Qwikster. Although the change in this case has been so well publicized (and criticized) that it’s difficult to imagine the target market not hearing about the new brand, Netflix is still going to have to deal to some extent with what smaller business owners have to take into heavy consideration when rebranding: continuity of SEO.
This is one of the main reasons that rebranding cannot be taken lightly in the age of page ranking and social media. If, like in the case of Qwikster, your rebranding involves a name change, it also almost certainly involves a domain change, as well. This brings up issues of previous domain name use and protecting brand integrity. If you are lucky enough to be purchasing a domain that hasn’t been used before, you will also need to purchase variations of the name in order to set up a safety net of forwarders to catch potential customers who simply type in what they think your domain name might be.
If you are buying a domain name that was previously used by another business, you have the additional problem of the previous business’ SEO strategy, cleaning up any loose ends they may have left behind, or fixing problems with penalties that search engines may have levied against the previous owners. There’s also the issue of your Facebook page, Twitter profile, and other social media accounts. If you’ve started a new twitter account within the past year or two, you already know how difficult it is to find a username that both reflects your brand and isn’t already taken.
You also have to make sure that anyone using a name similar to yours doesn’t get confused with you and your business. This is a problem that Qwikster is going to have to deal with right away – they failed to secure the Twitter handle @Qwikster, which is the account of a young man named Jason Castillo. Castillo enjoys tweeting about things like smoking marijuana, often using very strong language. In terms of SEO strategy, this is not something Netflix wants to be associated with, and it’s going to take a lot of work for them to separate themselves from it.
Rebranding is a major decision, and if you have come to that junction in the evolution of your business, it’s important to take the appropriate precautions to ensure the best switchover possible. Your SEO strategy is an integral part of your business’ success – make the necessary preparations and do your research ahead of time, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of a smooth transition.
Okay, so you’ve got a Facebook page for your business, you’ve started a Twitter account, and you’re all hooked up on YouTube. Now what? How is all this social networking going to help you get what you ultimately need – sales leads? While having a social media presence is essential for modern businesses, creating accounts is only the beginning of what you need to do. Your social media visitors need to get a sense of your brand, of what kind of company they’re dealing with, and of how your product or service can enrich their lives.
It may sound like a tall order for a little social media account, but as with most things, appearance matters. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and if the first thing a potential customer sees is your Facebook landing page or your Twitter page, you’d better make sure it looks as good as it can. Page design is important, as is brand consistency – you want something that people can recognize no matter where they see your company online. In addition to looking good, you have to walk the walk, as well. This means engaging with your audience and giving them reason to trust you.
Content development is the first step. Make sure that your accounts are updated daily with information that is both interesting and relevant to potential customers. This can cross over into interacting with customers while you are online. Aside from being available to answer questions about your company, you can also do fun things like running contests or asking your audience for their opinion on matters relating to what your company provides.
You can also use your social media as a platform to link to content that your audience might not otherwise find. If you are an expert in your field, for example, you can use your social media accounts to link to articles you have written on the topic, as well as blog posts from your company’s web site. If you have a YouTube account, informative or instructional videos can help connect you with pople who are seeking the information, products, or services you provide.
Keep in mind this is not just about straight-up marketing – it’s about giving your audience valuable content that in turn will help them decide to turn to you when it’s time to make a purchase. Treat your potential customers with that respect, and many will become actual customers before you know it. How have you used good content marketing and a social media presence to engage your users or garner potential customers?
When you are representing your company, you need to appear calm, cool, and collected. Your clients, customers, and prospects will long remember the professional and polished way in which you handled a negative review. Remember, the best defense is a good offense. Ask your customers to leave positive feedback on your review sites or by email where you can post on your website.