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Lisa’s Social Media Tips for Success

After working in social media and marketing for a decade, I’ve learned a lot. But, unlike learning history or literature, social media is constantly evolving, which means every day I learn something new. I know you’ve read countless blogs and books about social media marketing and engagement, and think there’s nothing else to learn, but the best way to learn is from someone else’s mistakes and accomplishments. So, here’s one more blog about social media for success.

How to Build Professional Relationships

  • Share relevant and helpful tips and articles.
  • Don’t go straight for the sale/self promotion.
  • Answer questions/offer insight to industry experts.
  • Answer questions about your industry or product (Note: this requires ‘listening’ and digging).
  • Thank experts/influencers/followers for sharing helpful material.
  • Respond to all (non-spam) messages, mentions and replies.

What Not To Do

  • Don’t start by selling your product or service. Establish a relationship first.
  • Steer clear of automation. A robot isn’t a human, and certainly doesn’t sound like one.
  • Auto DMs are hated by professionals, and result in unfollowing and blocking.
  • Don’t go overboard with “Thank you for the RT!” messages. Choose a few to thank, sincerely. Too much can sound like automation and less genuine.
  • Stop with the hashtags. One or two are okay, but too many take away from the validity of your message, and take up valuable character count.
  • Do not, ever, badmouth a competitor or organization.
  • Don’t post and then ignore comments, questions.

Best Practices

  • Be genuine and sincere.
  • Keep the voice and tone consistent – easiest way to do this is be yourself.
  • Interact! Communicate with your followers.
  • Listen! If someone asks you a question or tweets about a problem, jump in and answer.
  • Be interested in others. People like you better when you ask questions and engage in conversation. Everyone enjoys talking about themselves.
  • Use first names. Use someone’s first name and you’ve sparked their attention.
  • The ratio of promoting others’ content should be about the same as promoting your content.

Tips

  • Research what type of posts best present your content. Is it mostly visual? Blog-based? Video? Infographic? A painter should post in a different format than a plumber, and industries are no different. Run a test to see what works better and track the results. For a month, post different formats (images, text-based, etc.), and see what performs best (most engagement, clicks, shares).
  • Take note of others’ mistakes. Once a week, a brand messes up on social media.
  • Pay attention to your mistakes. Whether it’s posting something that earns no engagement or you post something that accidentally upsets a follower, own up to it and learn from it. Find a mentor or similar organization/brand to follow and learn more. What do they do right? Why are they so popular/successful?
  • Cross promotion – don’t be afraid to share the same material on each of your social channels BUT format it properly for each venue (images for IG, bitly and brief description to Twitter, image and caption for FB, etc.)

The Many Hats of a Community Manager

Many_Hats_of_Community_Manager_infographic_GetSatisfaction

Even though my title is ‘digital media coordinator,’ it’s a community manager position. I particularly love Baer’s blog because he doesn’t just talk about listening and engagement, he delves deeper into critical skills like pattern recognition and statistical analysis. These are skills and everyday activities we all do as community managers, but may not put much emphasis on it. What I mean is, we’re machines. We move fast. We adapt and take things as they come. One minute we’re posting on Facebook, and the next we’re working on a data spreadsheet in Excel without a second thought. I never really stop and think about the skills I’ve developed. Baer’s article made me think, “OMG when did I learn pattern recognition? When did I get good at Excel?”

Claveria’s blog scares me. I know the market is saturated with social media managers – mostly because everyone thinks they can do social. But the idea that my job could become obsolete is silly. I think the good managers are safe – but perhaps new graduates or people looking to make career changes into social have less of a chance than with other jobs. Regardless of my skepticism of his premise, I love his tips. Analytics Academy looks amazing – and I am registering for some as we speak. I agree with Claveria that learning new skills and staying up to date on marketing skills and trends is crucial to securing your job. You want to make yourself irreplaceable. I loved his insight about being a great writer and customer advocate. I’ve used both of those strategies in my work, and hope that it continues to show my organization how valuable my work is.

Who Are Gamers? An Exploration of Uses + Gratifications

What’s fascinating about gamers is their complexity, diversity and motivating factors. Massive open world games like Minecraft, DayZ, and World of Warcraft attract users from every demographic one can imagine. It’s the only place you’ll find a middle-school boy, a middle-aged housewife in another country, and a medical student and her boyfriend working together to achieve the same goal.

womengames

Nick Yee’s research returns a startling 11-69 year-old age range for gamers, with the average being 30. His data destroys the existing stereotype of gamers. No longer can one claim gaming is exclusively for teenage males. This is empirically not the case. People in their 30s make up the highest percentage of console (XBOX, Nintendo, PlayStation) gamers, six times larger than the amount of teenagers. For computer gamers, the average age is 35, with 26% of the players over 50.

In a three-year study of 30,000 gamers, Yee revealed that only 25% of gamers fit the stereotype of teenagers. To the contrary, 50% of players work full-time and 22% were full-time students. 13% of women were homemakers. 33% were married and 31% had kids. Additionally, professional gamers earn upwards of $100,000 in prize money simply for winning. According to Business Insider, the highest paid gamer is Johnathan Wendel (33), who earned $454,544.98 from 35 first person shooter competitions. Gaming is not just for kids. There’s both a cross-generational and cross-gender appeal.

“On screens big and small, they drive cars, fly fighter planes, sail pirate ships, create city plans or act as hockey players, Kung Fu fighters, and medieval priests. They cooperate, meet, join, quit, explore, laugh, cry, and otherwise immerse themselves in social worlds that pique imaginations and redefine self-concepts,” Reeves and Reed

couplegamingGamers dedicate a significant amount of time to interacting and participating in world. Gamers spend roughly half a workweek inside virtual worlds. 8-9% spend more than 40 hours a week in world. Even more astonishingly, nearly 60% admitted to spending a continuous 10 hours interacting in world. Why do people feel so strongly about gaming? The answer is they form emotional attachments through activities that evoke the same reactions as in the physical world.

Studies show that people choose to game for a multitude of reasons, specifically achievement, immersion, exploration, competition, and socialization.

Players who strive for achievement are more interested in gaining power within the context of the game. These types of players like clear rules, hierarchy and recognition.

Those who desire immersion are gamers who are most interested in the fantasy aspect of gaming. These are the characters who try out new avatars, appearances, roles, and personalities. If gaming were high school, these would be the drama kids. They most enjoy complex plots, twists and character development. Simply, these gamers escape reality to engross themselves in the virtual world.

Gamers who are motivated by exploration are those who most appreciate the art, graphics and mechanics behind a virtual world. These players enjoy wandering through the landscapes, galaxies and otherwise infinite virtual worlds. They want to know how things work and why.

Competition certainly is an obvious motivating factor. In virtual gaming worlds, players may engage with each other in a variety of ways, through combat, riddles and duels. These gamers feed off competitive energy and enjoy working against each other.

Finally, socialization is a huge motivating factor for gamers. Social relationships, i.e. establishing friendships, are inevitable because of the cooperative nature of most games. Because these types of games reward players for the more time they spend in world, the activities and goals within these games become much more complex the more experienced the player becomes. Therefore, players benefit from mutual alliances, working through guilds or groups to advance. For more, see the figure on below.

But what does gaming say about people?

In some games, one’s primary enemy is fellow gamers. Assassins, murderers, zombies, and the like controlled by humans threaten gamers on a daily basis. A recent article from Wired poses the query, if these games were real life, those people would be thought of as psychopaths, but they aren’t in the virtual world. Why? What is it about gaming that turns people into psychopaths? It seems that once one’s in the virtual world, all instincts turn to survival, animalistic desires and the mantra better him or me.

cod

Men and women look to gaming for different reasons, but the rewards are the same. Women are typically introduced to gaming later in life through a significant other. Because of this, female players tend to be older. Like modern sociological research implies about females’ real world interactions, women prefer to relate to other players on an emotional level. In contrast, male players begin gaming earlier in life and continue to play into adulthood. Unlike female players who are interested more in relationships and the social aspect, male players prefer to work together for a clear goal. Yee found a high occurrence of men and women in relationships playing together in the same place but on different computer systems, collaborating to the same goal.

“Given the literal reality of “knights in shining armor” and the fact that users can choose to be as attractive as the world allows, users may become more friendly and more sincere with each other because of the heroic attributes their avatars project,” Yee

Some studies suggest that ales under the age of 18 learn leadership skills derived from gaming. This finding further proves the importance of gaming for youths, and the potential virtual environments have for childhood development, education and leadership skills.

Another question raised is the consumption of user data for sociological and psychological research. Gamers more freely make decisions, perform actions and communicate differently in world, perhaps indicating hidden desires, fears and personality traits not noticed in the “real world.”

While the idea of studying someone’s brain and motivating factors seems very much like the plot of Divergent, the idea behind it is intriguing. Society could learn a great deal from studying user data, such as how and why people make decisions, recognize warning signs in troubled individuals, and even to further advance brilliant minds. Whole societies and civilizations exist within virtual environments. How are they successful? What makes them implode? What is the hierarchy? The amount of data living in virtual worlds is infinite. How could one not study it (and learn from it) when it could be beneficial to our society? (okay that sounds like Divergent, for sure).  

 

 

Social Media Strategy

social_media_content_strategy

Strategizing is difficult, especially when you have an overwhelming amount of content and information to post. Likewise, it’s extremely hard to come up with a successful social strategy when you feel like you have nothing to say. There are numerous ways to develop and grow your social strategy.

Have a Little Fun

If you’re not having fun, no one else is. Keep your posts light, energetic and conversational. Pretend that your followers just walked into your office for a meeting. You wouldn’t talk like a robot then would you?

Create Visual Content

What pieces of content do you share the most on your own social channels? If you’re like the majority of social users, it’s most likely photo, graphics or video. Create content that you’d like to see, content that you’d be proud to share with your friends.

Educate Your Audience

As a blood bank, education is incredibly important in my social strategy. There are interesting ways to present information without boring your followers – such as educational videos infographics.

Encourage Employee Sharing

I don’t like fishing for likes or shares, and it seems cheap if the shares all come from employees. BUT if you look at it in terms of reach, then your materials reach a far greater amount of people through sharing. If each employee has 200 Facebook friends, there’s 200 possible chances for your message to be heard, per employee.

Interact with Influencers

Follow your community influencers – news stations, Chamber of Commerce, and other organizations that relate to your cause/product. Like and share their statuses that resonate with your business! Comment and thank them for sharing your own. Brogan’s advice is exactly right – use influencers to your advantage. If you have Twitter followers with thousands of fans, form a relationship with that person.

Listen

Sign up for HootSuite, SproutSocial or just pay attention to what’s being said about you (comments, mentions, etc). Make sure your followers KNOW you’re listening by responding to their messages, comments and questions. Let them know that they matter.

Measurement

Use Google Analytics, FB Insights, HootSuite, Sprout or any of the other SMM tools out there and track your progress. You need to know what’s working and what didn’t in order to fine tune your social strategy and make it the best it can be. Note: it will constantly need changing.

Voice

Find your brand’s voice and stay consistent with your tone and messaging.

The Power of Content Marketing

Content, content, content! While we’re analyzing the importance of connecting with followers on an emotional level, we must also determine what’s worthy content. What makes a story relevant? Who’s your target? What’s your goal? Does the content serve a purpose? Is it merely fluff?

Deciding what to post and when is incredibly overwhelming. While one piece of content may work for Nike, it most certainly wouldn’t work for Hospice. Right now at my organization, everything falls on me. The first year I was able to follow my “calendar” (which really was only in my brain and nothing physical), but now I’m getting social requests from multiple departments and I’m feeling the need for a solid calendar and plan. I love Cohen’s tips for creating quality content, and I’ve learned that creating an editorial calendar is a necessity. It’s too much for me to keep track of everything off the top of my head. However, the idea of a company-wide editorial calendar terrifies me because I want to retain control of everything and I know feelings will get hurt if their content isn’t posted.

We struggle with creating compelling stories for a lot of reasons. It’s really difficult to come up with unique and original content over and over. There are only so many ways you can post the same message. As a content manager, it’s your responsibility to stay current and up to date with what’s going on with your brand. Read through press releases about special events, breakthroughs or compelling stories. Write about interesting and share-worthy content and post on your social channels.  Take advantage of influencers! Utilize their resources and trusted fan base by creating a relationship with them. Influencers can be Chamber members, community leaders, business leaders, radio DJs, news anchors, and more. You need these lasting relationships, because influencers can spread the word when you have important messages to spread.

The Impact of Social Media on Personal Branding

secret-personal-branding

It’s funny how some people are afraid of personal branding and others are very confident about it. I’m guessing both ends of the spectrum could use some help, because personal branding is a slippery slope. Even in our personal lives away from work, we have our own brands to manage…ourselves. I can’t stress this enough to people when they are applying for jobs. Your personal brand is everything and it can make or break you. With or without the “expert” status in your field,  putting yourself out there by having your own domain and subject matter for your content is a solid step in the right direction. People’s eyes go wide whenever the word “expert” gets thrown around, but you’re really only speaking of something you know backwards and forwards and have substantial experience with. All of us have things that we are good at. That’s really all “expert” means. You wouldn’t tackle a subject like shark mating rituals unless you REALLY know about that sort of thing, and who does really?

It’s hard to teach people to use their voice. While it comes naturally through my writing, I have to constantly remind myself that others are more guarded or introverted. It’s a skill you have to teach yourself, and it goes against everything we learned in journalism. When you’re studying journalism, they hammer into you that you should NEVER write in your voice, but instead take an unbiased, robotic tone. I always struggled with that, and it’s most definitely one of the reasons why I hated reporting and would never go into news writing.

Describing what a content manager/social media manager does is so tedious and exhausting. My parents don’t understand what I do, and listening to them explain it to their friends is hilarious. “So Lisa’s working in…internet stuff. I know it’s something to do with websites. Maybe like AOL?” It’s hard to explain because it’s all encompassing of so many things, writing, marketing, reporting, analyzing, sharing, conversing, engaging, influencing.

Organizations struggle with how much to post and when. You never want to be the annoying brand that posts the same type of story/post/image multiple times a day daily (thus getting your brand hidden from feeds), but you also don’t want to be a ghost/troll that is silent. I think 3-4 times a week is ideal, which is what I try to do with my brands.  As far as a personal brand, I wish I could spend more time blogging and developing content for LinkedIn, but I’m slammed with life, work and class right now. If I was looking for a job, I’d definitely be more active with branding myself. As it stands now, I’m very happy with my website, blogs, and LinkedIn, and stay current with who’s posting what, incoming traffic/referrers, and pingbacks.

BUT, the idea of increasing followers and likes for personal brand is incredibly daunting. I had a Facebook page for my side business, and other than asking my friends to “like” it, I completely failed when it came to increasing followers. I tried advertising on Facebook and that didn’t work either. I ended up deleting the page until I could really focus on that business. It was too embarrassing to have a page with so little likes, and I felt like that harmed me from getting new business.

It’s silly because we need a reminder to be ourselves. Think of it like public speaking. The best public speakers are those that seem to be talking right to you. They’re relatable and genuine. To me, that’s what personal branding is all about. You’re putting yourself out there, so of course you’re going to be yourself. Be real!

On Writing a Novel

I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I first picked up one of those fat pencils back in kindergarten. Do you remember those? They were completely impractical, and the eraser never worked. At first I started with one page stories, scribbling on any kind of paper I could get my hands on. Sometimes I’d draw pictures to illustrate the adventures of my weird characters. A family favorite was a story featuring my parents as lions and my brother and me as cubs. We were riding in a car on the way to dinner. To this day, my brother still teases me about that story.  I was seven.

Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.
– Willa Cather

I grew up reading, staying up late at night curled up on the floor by my nightlight, reading Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl,  C.S. Lewis, Beverly Cleary, and Madeline L’Engle.  Once I reached 5th grade, I got really into young adult “horror,” indulging in guilty pleasures like Christopher Pike and Lois Duncan. Embarrassingly enough, my first short story for pleasure was young adult horror. Don’t ask me if you can read it. Let’s just say it involves a babysitter, a psycho killer, and a final twist with the boyfriend turning into a robot. I was 12, and I spent hours writing on a word processor. Of course, I was undeniably proud when I finished it. That story is forever saved on a floppy disc. It’s sad that some of you reading this have no idea what a word processor  or floppy disc are.

You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.
― Madeleine L’Engle

All of that compulsive reading at such an early age provided me with more inspiration than anything I’ve read recently. I can see all of those authors reflected in my own dreams, creating crazy and vivid scenes of alternate worlds, strange creatures and suspense. I owe my writing desire to my overactive, effervescent imagination.  I started writing my first novel when I was 21, in a bold attempt at a survival horror tale inspired by Resident Evil. I got about a quarter of the way through and realized I was forcing it. As much as I loved the horror genre and the world I created on paper, the story was stale. Zombies became mainstream a few years later, so I guess I missed my chance to capitalize on that trend. I definitely won’t be going back to that story.

Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
– William Faulkner

The problem with the horror book was that my heart wasn’t in it. I wasn’t really inspired. I knew I wanted to write a novel, but that story just wasn’t it. Saying you’re a writer is one thing, but actually sitting down to write a novel is something completely different. Yeah, I can write stories and blogs and essays. I don’t need to be inspired for that. By the time I’m out of steam, the story’s over. With a novel, that fire can’t ever go out. You need a story that will not only capture your readers, but inspire the shit out of you too. Something you can’t wait to tell.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
― Maya Angelou

This is the most cliche thing ever. But the story I’m writing came from a dream. I’ve had the most lucid dreams ever since I can remember. I consider myself unbelievably lucky to have the dreams I do, and even more lucky  to remember them. A couple of months ago, I had one of the most real, most intense dreams I’ve ever had. I never wanted to wake up. The world I dreamed up was surreal but beautiful, and the characters were so tangible and tragic. It was heartbreaking, actually. I woke up in tears. I knew I had to write it down. The more I thought about it, the more I felt the characters develop and really understood where the story could go. That night around midnight, I lay in bed and started typing out the dream. Thousands of words poured out of me as the story grew.

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him.
– Ray Bradbury

I’ve read that a good story tells itself, and that’s exactly what’s happened. Sure, I know where the story ends. But I’m right there with the characters as the journey shapes itself on my screen. I’m following the heroine, realizing things as she does, feeling the elation and torment. It’s an amazing process, and I’m so excited every night to see where she goes and what she sees. When I started this thing, I made myself create a schedule for my outline corresponding to word count, just to make sure I didn’t get too caught up in exposition or details. I’m shocked that I haven’t had any issues, and the heroine’s adventure naturally flows, building up towards the climax of the story.  I’m at the precipice now, sharing her heartbreak and struggles as her world crumbles around her.

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
― Robert Frost

I’m terrified of the editing process. As much as I love editing, going back to edit this monster is overwhelming. The idea of ever sharing it with anyone is enough to make me shiver. The amount of time I’ve dedicated to it…every single night for months, spent writing instead of sleeping…writing my dream…it’s truly a part of me.  I couldn’t have found a more emotional and meaningful story to tell, and I pray that I do it justice. And honestly, even if you don’t like it, it doesn’t really matter to me, because I am in love with it. And when this is all over with and I’m finally done, I’m going to continue her story in to another novel.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
― Ernest Hemingway

Social, PR and Professionalism

We can all agree in the social world that a social media manager is a lot of things. We are a public relations manger, marketer, customer service representative, advertiser,  reporter, translator, and so much more.

It’s easy to say, “that’s not in my job description.” But when it comes to social media management, everything falls into your job description. You are marketing AND PR. You are the public voice, the brand advocate, for your organization. It’s up to you to decide how to respond to praise, questions, and negativity.

If you fall under a marketing manager or PR manager, the two of you need to work together and lay out expectations for how certain topics should be handled. For example, the only person above me at work is the Marketing Director. We’ve worked out a system where I handle everything on social media as the first responder. I express thanks, sympathy, or any other sort of response that is required. The second step is to pass the messages needing a follow up discussion on to the correct department. So if there was an issue with a bloodmobile, that goes to that team, if it was an issue with IT, that goes to IT. In this case, I apologize and explain who will contact them and when. On the flip side, I also forward the praise on to the corresponding team/department.

Brand ambassadors are an extension of your brand, and really every employee is a brand ambassador. We created a social media guide for all of our employees to follow. While we do respect all of our employees right to privacy, we do require them to portray themselves – in public and online – professionally. We also encourage employees to promote the brand through their social media channels – by sharing status updates, creating their own, and sharing/posting photos to their social accounts. The best practices guide reminds employees to forward questions to the social media manager and to not assert themselves as an “expert,” but as a lover of our brand.

Social media can really hurt you at work or when searching for a job. Since everything is public and out there, you have to fashion your online brand into a beautiful diamond. That means no sketchy or unprofessional pictures or videos of you anywhere. Just because your friends get you, does not mean that your boss or future boss will. Truthfully, social media could help you get a job if you create an amazing online brand for yourself. Since 1/3 of businesses claim to stalk online prior to hiring or interviewing, you should consider your online profiles an extension of your resume. You must:

  • Look at your profiles objectively. Would you hire you?
  • Tighten up your privacy settings – and test all of your profiles from the public point of view.
  • Brush up your LinkedIn profile and personal website. These two are the most important for your brand – your LinkedIn profile is your most detailed, professional resume and cover letter, while your website is an indicator of how hard you work for your personal brand.

What’s the ROI?

So now that we understand social media is here to stay, we have to learn how to measure it and capture ROI . Thankfully, there are tons of metrics tools and companies out there that do just this. I would never advise a business to hire a marketing firm to do their analytics. With tools like hootsuite and Sprout Social, there is no need to pay an exorbitant amount of money to outsource your social media analytics. It also makes no sense to pay an outsider to do your social media. In my experience, there is no better voice for your business than someone on your team.

Hootsuite and Sprout both offer a great range of tools. Personally, I was hooked on Sprout after Day 1 of my 30 day trial. You can not only publish across Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn, but you can also measure engagement, influence and google analytics. Lastly, you can also integrate your IT help desk within Sprout so customers can contact you easily. I can plan a week’s – or however far in advance as I want – of posts and schedule them into my queue. I can track keywords, hashtags, web activity, etc. The reporting feature is truly amazing. After looking over hootsuite’s sample reports, I’m happy I am with Sprout. Sprout’s reports are clean, brand-able, and full of information and analytics.

Chad Allen, a social media wiz at Adobe, nailed it when he said:

When brands successfully connect with customers around the things they love, advertising ceases to be a commercial endeavor and instead becomes simply useful information. (source: Mashable)

The number of “likes,” “fans,” “followers” isn’t the most important thing (and convincing your boss that may not be easy). What IS important is how well you engage with your followers. When I began my first social media job,  I was introduced to the brand’s virtually silent Twitter account with over 300 followers. Most of them were real people who loved the brand. But guess what?  The Twitter account was not following a single person. My starting point was to follow back all the “real” people (no porn spammers, thank you very much), and began engaging in conversation. I began making thoughtful posts about the brand, our customers and the community, all of which facilitated a huge response immediately. Most importantly, I showed the brand’s appreciation for all of them. I went back months of @replies and responded to every single one. I wanted our brand to have a true, sincere voice. I believe I succeeded.

You almost have to think of your social media presence as your Sims family. You have to pay attention to every piece, every person, and watch their health meters. Feed them. Engage them. Or you will lose them.

 

SEO-OH!

seoDid you know that if you try to trick Google, Google will remove your site from page rankings? Websites designed using Search Engine Optimization methods will rank highly in web search results. Over the past few years, web developers have found loopholes in Google’s algorithms by abusing meta tags and data, resulting in Google ignoring much of this data. SEO has gotten a bad rep for being a bunch of spammers, which is not the case when used properly.

By definition, Search Engine Optimization is:

SEO is the practice of improving and promoting a web site in order to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply a matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand.

Search Engine Optimization isn’t just about “engines.” It’s about making your site better for people too. At SEOmoz we believe these principles go hand in hand.

Forbes has some great tips for improving your SEO. This video (and accompanying article) by Mashable shows modern day startups how to best use SEO.

While everyone who has a website wants to rank highly in Google, some are better than others at achieving the top search results. In an attempt to educate web developers and writers, Google created a set of guidelines to help index and rank you site on Google.  You can rank highly in search engine results by using keywords, stylized text, and the use of inbound and outbound links. For more info, read this.

Once you’ve gotten your SEO sorted, you need to measure your results. Google Analytics is amazing for tracking all sorts of data related to your web traffic. It’s incredible how much data it truly collects.

As a digital media coordinator and entrepreneur, I am constantly optimizing my websites for SEO. WordPress offers an extensive list of plugins to make optimizing your site easier. These plugins provide easy content boxes to add in keywords, tags, descriptions and other information about each page of your website. I have found using this type of plugin has really boosted my sites in the rankings. I’m seeing a lot of inbound traffic from Google and Yahoo keyword searches. Even just changing the names of image files to very specifically what they are boosts your ranking and increases traffic. I’ve received a lot of traffic recently to the project I did on the The Big Bang Theory – and when I check the logs, I see that people have found my site by typing in things like “Sheldon’s apartment” and “Penny’s outfits.” It’s really interesting to see results like that.