Facebook began offering this capability last summer, and a number of marketers have been using the capability to make new contacts and drum up new business. Essentially, Facebook allows anyone to categorize a conversation they're having on the social network by using a simple hashtag (#) and keyword in their post.
Sadly, the Web is littered with untold numbers of videos buried deep in search engine results, simply because their creators forgot to take a few minutes to optimize those videos properly for easy searching. "The more you can do under the hood to help search spiders understand your site, the better off you will be," says Cyndie Shaffstall.
Ask Michael Miller, who wrote "YouTube for Business." Miller recommends jumping right in, posting multiple marketing videos on YouTube to get higher on the radar of Google, and not getting overly concerned about video production values. Most people don't expect overly slick production on a YouTube video, he says.
A dark horse in the shadow of titan Facebook, Pinterest has nevertheless quietly grown to become one of the Web's largest social networks. Its secret: Pinterest enables its members to make a graphic splash by putting together collages of their favorite photos online for all to see.
The sheer spectrum of possibilities for inbound marketing and lead generation can be daunting, but you can easily take advantage of the method if you know how to prioritize the tools available.
Originally just a cool way to meet people, Foursquare has quickly evolved into a powerful marketing tool. "One of the key goals for Foursquare in 2014 is to expand our advertising tools to additional markets worldwide," says Steven Rosenblatt, Foursquare's chief revenue officer.
Google has gotten wise to website owners over-stuffing articles with keywords; posting short, useless text; or attempting to appear influential by buying thousands of links from websites that have nothing to do with the subject matter on their own sites.
Online reviews have become such a powerful force on the Web, businesses ignoring them do so at their own peril. Indeed, according to a 2011 study by Cone, 80 percent of people will change their decision to purchase an item or service based on a bad online review.
During the past two decades, the Web has grown from an interesting academic oddity to one of the most powerful platforms for commerce in any era. Through it all, marketers have been playing with the design of the basic website to come up with the ultimate digital sales tool.