I am regularly asked by clients what is the next newest, latest & greatest social network to be coming down the pike. They want the jumpstart on the next hot thing so they can beat their competition on getting set up there before everyone else. They feel if they are the first there, they can be an expert and have a leg up on everyone else. Also, they are looking for the “next big thing” or as I call it the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. So, I decided that today I am going to share with you my predictions for 2011 and what I feel is going to be the next greatest things to get your business connected into. Some of you probably have heard of these before, but others of you may not. For those looking to get a leg up on the competition, here’s what I feel will help you to accomplish this in the new year.
Surprisingly this is very simple to answer. I think that what’s hot for 2011 is the same things that were for 2010. Too many times we spend hours and hours searching for the next shiny object instead of figuring out the best ways to optimize the things that are already there. The key is going to be optimizing our efforts better than our competition in each. If half the time we spent looking for new and better ways to get the prize were spent on using the tools we already know are working, we would be so much closer to the actual prize we are pursuing.
Here are three things that you need to strive to perfect for 2011.
1. Fully Optimized Site
Just like the past several years, the absolute most important thing you can focus your time on for 2011 is your site. If you do not have a successful site first and foremost everything else you do online is futile. Make sure this next year you place plenty of time into your schedule to work on your site.
Each week you need to focus on writing high quality blog posts, optimizing your static pages, and focusing on things to increase your SEO. (new pages of content, more back links, etc). This needs to be the main focus of everything you do for your online marketing this next year. Also, do not forget the visual appeal of your site. It’s important too. I am a big believer that WordPress is one of the best options available for your new site. In the middle of this year we switched our site from a standard static website to a Custom WordPress Site and our search engine rankings, traffic to the site, and business all increased exponentially when we did so.
If you set your site and blogging as your main priority in 2011 I can almost guarantee you will see an increase in leads and business this coming year.
As 2010 comes to an end, the reports say that Facebook currently has over 500 million members with half of them logging on daily. They also say that the average person has over 135 friends on Facebook. That being said, every business needs to develop their strategy for using Facebook for business. It’s time to stop fighting Facebook and giving the excuse that it is not a good means of generating business because it is just a bunch of people talking about what they did last night.
A Facebook page that is operated properly can generate a major increase in business and traffic to your site. A good friend of mine has a page with over 12,000 fans and sees almost 45% of all the traffic into his site coming directly from their Facebook page. On average, this site is seeing over 64,000 visitors to their site each month. That means that Facebook is responsible for sending 28,000 people to the site each month. Obviously, it’s no longer just about what you did last night, but instead is a great marketplace to generate new business.
The two big mistakes I see in Facebook pages that most of the content shared on Facebook pages are directing the traffic away from your brand and off to other websites, YouTube videos, and places other than their home base. What this does is pushes all your consumer base off of your Facebook page and to other places that do not help increase your business or drive traffic to you. Instead do what you can to keep the conversation either on your page or drive it over to your website. The second issue I encounter a lot is that the page is about you the business and not about the consumers. If you start asking questions and giving good quality content, the consumers will be more inclined to interact and participate on your site.
3, She’s No Longer Your Red Headed Stepchild.
I’ve heard Twitter called the red headed stepchild too many times over the past year. Too many people do not understand Twitter and due to this lack of knowledge, they never start using it. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. Other businesses and consumers are on Twitter daily looking to make connections and build networks. If you continue to ignore Twitter you are passing up many opportunities for business.
My advice is that you need to just take the time to set up an account and dive right in. The potential inside Twitter is endless. What is missed by so many is that Twitter needs to be used as a means of conversation and engagement. If you focus just 5-10 minutes each day on communicating with others on Twitter, your sphere will grow. If you spend another 5-10 minutes working searching for others to connect with you will be well on your way to success on Twitter. If you are not sure how to use Twitter, I have a few resources for you.
So there’s my predictions for 2011. Simply focus on the things that are proven successes and using each platforms to the best of your ability. If you focus the time you would spend searching for the next shiny object on these three things, I can all but guarantee that 2011 will be your best year ever! Here’s to a great 2011!