Tips for Improving Your Online Presence
by Deltina Hay
Few of us have the time to do everything the experts recommend when it comes to improving our online presence. Nor do we have the money to pay them to do it for us. Luckily, we can do almost everything ourselves, a little at a time.
Here are some tactics and tools you can utilize quickly and easily with content you probably already have on hand. I’ll provide others in upcoming issues of the Independent.
Use Document-Sharing Sites
Document-sharing sites are communities where people share, comment on, and review documents of any type. Examples include Scribd.com and SlideShare.net. Scribd is best for sharing full-length documents, while SlideShare is best for sharing presentations.
Scribd also offers an option for selling documents, so you can sell chapters or entire books on that site. And SlideShare gives you the ability to embed YouTube videos within a presentation. Both sites offer a way to share documents on the social Web and code for embedding documents on a Web site or blog.
In addition, these sites give you plenty of ways to protect your documents. Most of them allow you to control a user’s ability to download, print, or embed the documents you’re sharing, and to assign appropriate copyright attributions. And most also allow you to embed clickable links within your documents, making them very effective marketing tools.
To offer ARC excerpts on document-sharing sites, upload PDFs that include a cover page, just as you would when sending an ARC. The PDF should also contain at least one representative chapter, the copyright page, and the TOC. Provide an email address that potential reviewers can use to contact you about receiving a full copy of the book in its physical form or as a PDF, and also provide a link to the book’s main Web site.
For an example, see scribd.com/doc/27334469/For-Review-The-Book-of-Harold-by-Owen-Egerton.
Similarly, to offer book excerpts or teasers after a book has been published, upload PDFs of selected content, including a representative chapter, the copyright page, and the TOC, with a cover page containing links to places where the book can be purchased.
You’ll find an example at scribd.com/doc/26043353/Woman-in-the-Tower-Stories-for-the-Wounded-Child-Excerpt.
Extend the Reach of Your Blog or RSS Feed
You may be losing out on opportunities to gain exposure for your RSS feed or blog. These optimization tips can help.
“Burn” your feed to FeedBurner. Take advantage of the optimization and analytics features that the free FeedBurner service offers. FeedBurner (feedburner.com) not only helps you keep your feed up to present industry standards, it can also help you troubleshoot problems and check your subscriber statistics.
Specifically, you can use FeedBurner’s Email Subscription feature to gain more subscribers to your feed. Many people like the convenience of receiving feeds as email updates instead of having to check a feed reader every day.
“Claim” your blog on Technorati. Don’t assume that your blog is optimized for searches just because it’s listed on the popular blog directory at technorati.com. Only you can optimize your feed in Technorati by claiming your blog.
To claim your blog, first get an account with Technorati. Once you have an account, you will see an option on your profile page that says “Start a blog claim.” Use this feature to claim as many blogs as you like. Be sure to fill out your profile completely, give your blog a good description, and include as many tags as Technorati allows.
Get Your Social Networks Out of a Rut
After a while, we’re likely to forget why we got on Facebook and Twitter in the first place—to network and promote our books. These tips can help you out of a social networking rut and increase your following.
Leverage your Twitter lists. Twitter lists give you a way to organize all the people you follow into manageable lists. But they can also help you get noticed and confirm that you are meeting your goals on Twitter if you take these steps:
• Check out the people who have “listed” you; they may be worth following.
• Use the lists you have been added to as a way of gauging your goals within Twitter.
• See if you are being added to lists that make sense in terms of your message.
• Check on whether the lists you are added to complement your books and/or your business.
• Use lists to get noticed.
• Add infuencers whom you would like to notice you to your lists.
• Provide clear titles and good descriptions with key terms for those influencers so your lists will get
more attention from them.
Make Good Use of Groups
Social networks are growing so fast that it is becoming harder to get noticed. Facebook and LinkedIn groups can help focus your efforts within those networks. Here are some tips for using groups to expand your network and your reach for the benefit of your business.
• Join both industry groups and target-market groups.
• Always read and respect group guidelines.
• Interact within each group.
• Post events and announcements to groups as well as to your status.
• Offer to be an admin of a large group if you have the time.
• Follow or “friend” others in your groups.
• Check out new Facebook groups, and maybe start one or two of your own.
See It Now
All these tips—and those I’ll be offering in future issues—should help you improve your online presence, but you don’t have to use them all to reap benefits, and you certainly don’t have to use them all at once. As you think about implementing these ideas, you may want to check out the videos at my YouTube channel that serve as examples, at youtube.com/deltinahay.
Deltina Hay—an author, publisher, developer, and educator living in Austin, Texas—has been programming in one form or another for more than 25 years. A regular contributor to Technorati and SocialMedia.biz, she is the professor of Drury University’s online graduate social media certificate course. Recently, her book was released in its second edition as The Social Media Survival Guide, and she launched the search, social, semantic, and mobile Web site optimization service PLUMBWebSolutions.com. To learn more, visit Deltina.com.