Every Wednesday morning, from 7:30-8:00 a.m., I attend the North Central Referral Group (NCRG) meeting to represent inConcert Web Solutions and spread the word about our services. Each week, there are in-depth presentations from one or two members of the group lasting about ten to fifteen minutes. These speaking opportunities give group members the perfect chance to educate each other about their services, which makes for more discerning referrals between members.

This morning, it was my turn to speak to the group about inConcert Web Solutions. During my presentation, I answered some of the questions that my fellow group members had previously asked. I’ve posted the questions and answers below for anyone who missed out! 

1.     How many types of social media are there?

Consider the different methods of basic communication: text, photos, audio, video, and various combinations of these options. Social media is, at its core, just a channel for communication, so it makes sense that there are separate networks that use these communication methods differently. For example, Twitter updates must be 140 characters of text. Pins on Pinterest must include a photograph. YouTube is a video platform. Facebook and Google+ are much more flexible and offer all of these media formatting options. At inConcert, we recommend maintaining a presence on all of these sites and more, and we can provide training on these networks for any business. Some of the networks that I represent on behalf of inConcert and our clients include: blogs (yes, blogs count as social media), Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Klout, Yelp, YouTube, and more.

2.     Of all the options, what is the most effective marketing option? Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter? What are the new trends in social media?

The answer to this question depends on the demographic to which you want to appeal. In general, I would recommend Facebook, especially for members of this group, due to the flexible media posting options I just mentioned in addition to its popularity with several different demographics and different age brackets for adults. You may think Facebook is a site for young people, but teens today are not so interested in joining Facebook as they perceive it as belonging to their parents’ generation. Instagram is much more effective in connecting with the youngest online generation, so if that is who you need to market to, that’s going to be the most effective marketing option for your company.

3.     Do you think website maintenance is OK on a quarterly basis? What options for maintenance do you offer?

We recommend modifying your existing content or adding a new webpage or blog article at least once per month. Google is like the Santa Claus of websites – they know if you’ve been sleeping… they know if you’re awake… so get your web maintenance on, for goodness’ sake! If you’re thinking “ain’t nobody got time for that”, we offer a selection of maintenance plans so that you can focus on your specialties while we focus on ours.

4.     Let’s talk about domain names and prices for starting a website?

Pricing a website is a lot like pricing a car. You have to pick out the kind of car you want first. The typical costs of a website are going to be registering your domain name annually (which means picking out your URL, like designsbygia.net or platinumproductionsma.com) and paying for your monthly hosting fees as well as the labor to get it all put together. Small, simple websites can be designed and created from start to finish in a matter of  a month or so. Huge, customized websites will take a significantly longer amount of time for the design, development and quality assurance phases, before the site can be released and appear live on the web. For more details about this, please read my blog article “What does a website cost?”

5.     Please talk about SEO.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the art of getting your website to appear in search engine results that will result in increased relevant traffic. Where do most people look for solutions to their problems today? Online. When someone types in a Google search for services that you offer, you want to be the number one result delivered to that potential customer. People trust Google to deliver the best, most relevant results. If someone searches “hair stylist Gardner MA”, Diane wants New Image By Us to show up at the top of the search results. If someone searches “school dance dj”, Mikey wants Platinum Productions to be there. If someone searches “home security system installation in Gardner” I bet Mary would love to have Wachusett Alarms be that number one result.

One simple SEO trick that you can do on your own is to register your company on Google Places if it does not already have a listing. Google often shows a localized map in its search results, marking all the local places relevant to the search phrase. So if someone searches for “gardner ma plumber”, part of the page is going to look like this:

If, after reading this article, you still have unanswered questions or if you would like to find out how we can help YOU, please contact us today! What are you waiting for?

In addition, NCRG is always looking for new members and we encourage guests to drop in. If you are interested in visiting or joining the group, let us know!