Name: Charlene

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/charleneburke

Personal Blog: http://blog.burkeresearchservices.com

Bio: Owner, Search by Burke: providing online marketing expertise to small and medium-sized businesses to make sure their websites become an extension of their sales force, working hard to attract visitors and convert them to customers. Customers are looking for your product or service online, we make sure they find you. Our focus is connecting searchers with your website and converting visitors into sales leads. Owner, Burke Research Services: working with a network of information professionals, providing primary and secondary research to the business community, i.e. market research, technical research, sales lead generation, surveying, etc. We sweat the details so you don't have to.

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    A Blog, A Facebook Fan Page and A LinkedIn Account all Met in a Bar…

    April 24th, 2010

    Really. They did. How? By first connecting with one another online, of course.  

    LinkedIn offers account holders, those holding free accounts and those with a  Premium account, the ability to automatically show Twitter messages in their status updates. And, if you use WordPress or TypePad you can have each new post show on your LinkedIn home page.

    A Facebook Fan page can be customized and one of those customized tabs can be an RSS Feed of your blog. Also, an application called Networked Blogs can be added to the Fan page to add your blog feed directly into the Fan page NewsFeed. The same application can be added to your personal profile page as well.

    As of April 21, 2010 Facebook brings in your personal profile to other social platforms and gives you an opportunity to ‘Like’ that page or website, which posts to your personal profile NewsFeed.

    Your blogging platform, free or otherwise, offers you the ability to announce your new blog post to all of your social media accounts.

    Slow Down and Think Before Connecting

    Now that you know this, please don’t go changing each of your accounts to reflect the status updates of the others just yet.

    First you must consider the reason you have each account. Here are some basic reasons most of us have these accounts:

    • LinkedIn – for professional use. To connect with professionals in your industry, learn and participate in groups related to your industry, and meet local connections.
    • Facebook Fan Page – for business use. To connect with your customers and potential customers, separate yourself from your competition and create a space for people interested in your service or product to talk to you and to others.
    • Facebook Personal Profile – for personal use. To connect with family and friends, share personal stories about interesting events in our lives, post photos of our kids and pets.
    • Blog – for business use. To tell visitors interesting things about parts of your business, service or personnel  that they otherwise wouldn’t know.

    If you are using all of these for one use, business or personal, then linking them together makes sense. But think about this; If your Twitter account is connected to your LinkedIn account, then the next time you tweet a message it will show up on your LinkedIn status – is this what you want your professional connections to see? Really? What if your last Tweet was about:

    • Your reaction to a lousy movie?
    • Your spouse’s broken finger episode?
    • Your dog’s reaction to eating brussel sprouts?
    • Your reaction to your dog’s reaction?

    Seriously. Please consider the consequences of your social media sharing and make sure you understand what each platform is being used for – by other people. If you don’t, you will lose business opportunities and personal connections. There are many people on Facebook right now cleaning up their Friends list because their NewsFeeds are filled with product or business ‘advertising’. There are many people on LinkedIn removing contacts because the status updates are ridiculous or offensive (imagine reading a status update from a business contact that includes the F*** bomb).

    Sometimes people get the misconception that social media is all about them. Well, it’s not. Social media is all about the other people reading and chatting with you. If you keep that in mind and apply common sense, basic etiquette (business and personal) you will find yourself connected to fascinating people interested in helping you succeed in your business and in your personal life.

    3 Comments "

    Small Changes = Better Impact

    January 12th, 2010

    There are many reasons people and companies may change their  blogs:  

    • Reader comments for more or different information
    • Reader suggestions for future content
    • Business model has changed
    • Business focus has changed
    • Blog isn’t gaining in readership
    • No measurable increase in business related to blog posts

    If you’re considering changing your blog to something very different from what it is today, I’d suggest doing it over a period of days or weeks rather than overnight.

    Changing the focus, intent, or purpose of a blog isn’t a bad thing. The trouble comes when the change occurs without warning, without reason, or without a plan.

    If a blog is changed overnight, with a new focus and a new look, this may cause readership to drop. Then your focus will be on convincing readers to come back, rather than convincing them that the change is good.

    In general, if a blog has been active for more than a year, making small changes will have the greatest impact.

    After deciding what the new blog will be focused on, there are a couple of things you can do to retain current readership and gain new visitors:

    1. The first thing to do is write a post telling your readers why a change will be happening and what to expect in the next post. Follow this with a news release via PRweb.com combined with submitting the release to as many social bookmarking channels as possible, i.e. Delicious, Technorati, Digg, etc. You may decide to fully disclose what you have planned for the blog to end up looking like. Either way, prepare your readers.
    2. The second thing you do is to begin writing posts that reflect the new focus.

    Why do it this way? Because your readers are people and by giving them respect they will give you loyalty – and what better thing can a blogger ask for?

    Retaining loyal readers and gaining new ones is always a good thing!

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    Social Media and Professional Services

    December 25th, 2009

    Lately there has been in influx of lawyers, CPAs and physicians into the social media arena. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. are now being used by these professionals in an attempt to connect with each other and potential clients. I say attempt because their intentions are good, but their execution leaves much to be desired.   Why Blog

    Professionals in these fields are not marketers, nor are they the ‘average Joe’ on the street. What they have to offer is expertise and insight. It’s a shame their tweets and status updates don’t reflect this expertise.

    Example: An attorney starts a Facebook Fan Page, but can’t figure out why clients aren’t lining up to follow it.  Or this: a client begins to receive Twitter messages from their physician, about things that have nothing to do with health.  This is just plain silly, and somewhat off-putting to the clients and patients.

    There is no better way for a lawyer, accountant, or physician to demonstrate their expertise, establish themselves as a thought leader, and get new clients by word of mouth than through a blog. The blog also offers the highest ROI for online marketing for professional services.

    Why? Because the blog offers the professional an opportunity educate their reader/client/potential client. Insights about Small Business Law with an occasional opinion thrown in can escalate an attorney from #15 in a firm of 30, to #1 because he/she is the only one connecting with that market. A post about the latest diagnostic technology being used successfully by a local physician will guarantee a response from potential patients with the symptoms described in the post.

    My recommendation to these professionals is to not put the cart before the horse. If you want to use Twitter, at least have a good blog post to tweet about. If you want to use Facebook, at least have a good blog to send your Fans to. And, if you’re going to use LinkedIn, then a blog will enhance your professional standing within that business community.

    5 Comments "

    Social Marker: Another Way to Increase Traffic!

    December 2nd, 2009

    Before we go further, this post assumes that the reader has been blogging for at least 3 months, and has a clearly defined reason for blogging.

    So far you’ve been told to:

    • set up a blog in your chosen platform
    • submit your URL to various online directories
    • create an editorial calendar
    • write compelling content that will engage your readers
    • visit other blogs and when appropriate comment on various posts
    • approach website and blog owners in your niche to request that your blog link be added to their site(s)
    • promote your blog via social media, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

    Let’s assume you’re doing these steps. Now, let’s assume your content is consistent, your posting schedule is consistent, you have something to say that others want to read about, and you simply want to increase traffic with quality readers and potential customers. Okay, this all means that you’re on the right track, doing the right things, and simply wondering what else can you do?

    If you made it this far, you’ve accomplished quite a lot. And you’re probably wondering why your traffic isn’t increasing beyond those two faithful readers, or maybe you’re up to 10 per month with one or two comments that encourage you to keep going.

    A nifty tool that I use is called Social Marker.    social marker

    • It helps you get a lot of back-links.
    • It helps you increase your traffic.
    • Your link gets indexed by Google in a matter of minutes.
    • Best of all, it’s free

    Open a free account with Social Marker. Review the 48 sites that the program submits to. Determine which sites will be appropriate for your content. Open an account with each site you want to post regularly to.After publishing a post to your blog, open Social Marker and select the sites you want to submit to. Then, complete the submission information and select ‘submit’.

    Each site you chose will then be opened in front of you, one at a time. You will complete the posting information required, then select ‘submit’ in Social Marker once again to move on to the next site.

    It is a bit time consuming, but worth the effort, and it keeps you honest. There are programs available that will submit your post to ‘hundreds’ of blog and article sites within seconds of pressing a button. I caution against using this method as it does not distinguish between good, bad, indifferent, spam or inappropriate sites to post to.

    By using Social Marker you can change which sites to submit to based on the relevance that site has to your blog post, which in turn encourages the readers that are interested in your topic to visit your blog.

    2 Comments "

    The Editorial Calendar – A Blogger’s Friend

    August 23rd, 2009

    I was ready to start a blog. I had a theme. I had a title. I had an idea of what I wanted to write about. What I didn’t have was a complete editorial calendar.

    During my research of best practices for blogging, virtually every successful blogger made mention of the editorial calendar. It didn’t take me long to realize that by having such a calendar I could develop consistent posts and publish them on a regular basis.

    I went to my Outlook calendar, selected the full month view and printed a copy of each month. Now I had the beginnings of a working calendar.

    I had already decided that I would post new material once per week on Sunday evenings. I have since then moved the publishing date to Monday mid-mornings because it appears that more people respond to my notifications and visit on Monday mornings.

    So, on the printed calendar I wrote a theme for every Sunday. My first posts were about introducing myself and my profession, so that was easy.

    The next few posts were to be about projects I was working on, or had worked on, so those weren’t too difficult. But, once I got three months out I realized that I was running out of ideas.

    After much thought, and a quick phone call to an experienced blogger, I decided to turn each month into a theme, rather than each post. This made the upcoming months much easier to fill in with post ideas.

    Now I had a road map I could follow.  Now I was ready to publish my blog.

    Until I realized that I had only one post written and according to my calendar it was to be published the next day.

    I work well under pressure, but soon learned that having this kind of pressure every. single. week. was going to be annoying. That’s when I was struck smart with the idea of pre-writing posts.

    Following my calendar and themes, I wrote posts for the next 14 weeks and saved them as ‘to be published’ on selected dates.

    This is where the nice part comes in – sometimes I want to write a different post for that week. All I do is go into my blog dashboard and change the publish date of one of the pre-written posts. This leaves me with an extra post that I don’t have to worry about.

    The other nice part is knowing that when the mood to write strikes I can add the piece to my dashboard and put a future publish date on it. Right now I’m about 4 weeks out and need to write a few more posts, just to be sure that something will publish on the date I want it to.

    I recommend to everyone who wants to have a blog to have an editorial calendar and to use it. I can’t tell you how many times it has saved my sanity and kept my blog’s message consistent.

    4 Comments "