Reiki Dogs: Evaluating a blog and the use of social media

In my search for a second blog in my area of work that uses social media effectively, I came across Reiki Dogs. Lisa has been blogging regularly since 2008, with an average of 1-2 articles a month, and has had 34,884 views of her blog to date. Clearly people are finding and reading her blog! Her articles can be on the lengthy side, but the content is interesting, informative, and at times thought-provoking. However, I noticed that there is no topic index, and considering the number of posts in the archives it would be really helpful to have a list of tagged topics.

In the right-hand column of her blog, Lisa has links to her main website (which is separate from her blog, possibly because the blog is hosted by Blogger instead of WordPress). There is also a link to her Facebook page where you can “like” her business. Unfortunately, both of these links are rather hidden among photos and advertisements, and I feel it would be better to highlight these more prominently at the top of her blog.

When I did some more searching using Google I discovered that Lisa also has a Linked In profile, a YouTube profile with videos of her work, and a Facebook profile (in addition to her page) with public posts about her work. In addition, she recently published an ebook on Amazon.com, is a regular writer for OmTimes ezine, and was voted as a “Readers Choice Finalist” on About.com for Favourite Reiki Teacher. Wow! These are all amazing achievements, and clearly Lisa has built a great reputation for herself and her healing work online, so why aren’t these things being promoted on her blog? Again, there could be links on her blog to these other social media platforms.

I think it is great that Lisa is using all of these different sites to share her expertise and grow her business, and her blog is a great opportunity to link all of these resources together and really showcase her work. With almost 35,000 views of her page, the blog is definitely an effective social media tool for her, but it could be even more effective in getting the message out with a few small tweaks such as the ones that I have noted.

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Social media: keeping up appearances

From what I am learning in my marketing class, when utilized effectively social media can be a great way to attract consumers, cultivate relationships with customers, and build on successes to create a successful business.  However, what happens when a business suddenly stops engaging in social media? Do customers wonder, “What happened? Where did they go? Can I still rely on this business to stay open and continue to provide the products I like?”

I came across a nice-looking site selling flower essences for animals. The site is visually appealing, simply organized, and easy to navigate. Curiously, there is no “About Us” tab, but there is a link encouraging visitors to check out the company’s “new blog”. Eager to learn more about the company and their products, I clicked to investigate.

The blog turned out to have over 100 detailed posts that explain the uses of flower essences and highlight different products. The blog was regularly active from April 2008 to May 2010 and then for 3 months in 2013. The last blog post is from September 2013.

There is a link to follow the company on Twitter, and I clicked on it to discover that the company has 1,860 followers, with a total of 6,606 tweets that go back to August 2007. Again, the last posts are from September 2013, and interestingly they are about social media marketing!

This leads me back to my questions: “What happened? Where did they go?” If I were a regular customer using these flower essences I might be concerned that the company had shut down or might do so in the near future. Any number of things could have happened that affected this small business owner’s ability to actively market her business and keep up with social media–illness, family issues, personal commitments–and while I of course feel compassion at the thought of these possibilities, I am left wondering.

In your opinion, does having a presence on social media platforms work for or against a business when it is not kept current? On the one hand, we can clearly see that this business is well established, has provided useful content and information to customers in the past, and has knowledge and expertise in their field. On the other, for whatever reason the dialogue with customers has come to a standstill and there is nothing to suggest that the business is actively engaged in development or keeping up with new products and trends.

Is it valuable to leave the blog and Twitter account in place so people can see the archives, or would it be better to take them down and deactivate them until the business has time to keep them current once again? I look forward to your comments.

Animal Healings: great use of social media

I am excited to be taking a course on social media and learning more about how I can use online marketing to promote my budding small business!

As a newbie to social marketing, one of my first assignments is to find and evaluate a blog in my work area that uses social media effectively. I very quickly stumbled across Animal Healings and was impressed by the look of their website.  It has appealing graphics that load quickly, font that is easy to read, and buttons that connect you to their social media platforms.

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This small business has a web presence on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube, FourSquare, Flickr, Tumbler, MySpace, Skype, and Google+, with blogs on both WordPress and Blogger. In fact, their website even features an entire page listing all the ways that you can connect with them online!

The link for their blog in the menu at the top of the website directs you to Blogger where there is an up-to-date blog with current postings. This includes testimonials from their customers, helpful tips, current news of interest to pet owners and animal lovers, as well as links back to various portions of the business website. The background theme and blog colours are well chosen and easy on the eyes.

However, if you don’t use the menu link to the blog and instead click on the WordPress icon on the website, you are taken to an older blog on WordPress that has not been updated in over a year. It appears that Animal Healings decided to switch from WordPress to Blogger towards the end of 2013, but the WordPress icon on their website has not been changed to a Blogger icon.

As a newbie to blogs, I am not sure if there is a mechanism to transfer old blog posts to a new website if you decide to switch social media platforms. Is there some way you can transfer the archives from the old blog to the new one so as not to lose any previous posts and keep the information compiled at one website? It would be a shame to lose 3 years of previous content and not be able to archive it at the new site. I will post this question on Twitter and see if someone can satisfy my curiosity.

I was really inspired by the great use of social media by Animal Healings to market their business online and I wish them great success with it! I hope someday to be able to market myself as effectively as they have!