Interest-Based Advertising

Marketers always want to better target demographics and spend less money in the process. Facebook’s targeting features allow you to narrow your audience to only those who will be most interested in your product, based not only on demographics, but also by interests. This is different from Google AdWords, which is search-based and responds only to the use of keywords without knowing anything about the “clicker.”

PRMG has recently been coordinating and maintaining more complex Facebook ad campaigns for a variety of our clients. I wanted to share with you three interesting cases where our clients have utilized different aspects of Facebook’s targeting options, with varied outcomes.

Case Study 1: Islip Condo Complex
One of our most successful long-running campaigns has been the ad we put together for this condo community back in February. We attempted to target the ad to first-time homebuyers by selecting for adults between the ages of 25 and 40 within a 25-mile radius from the community’s location. We capped the daily budget at only $10 and have seen a very consistent result of 6 or 7 clicks every day, for a total of over 1,000 clicks!

This campaign is a perfect example of consistent diligence paying off. Someone who may have seen the ad back in March, but wasn’t exactly in the market for a new home, might click on the ad in July, when their circumstances have changed. Though this client has paid over $1,700 for these leads over the last six months, that amount is about the cost of a single ad in the three local Pennysavers, which would have nowhere near the lasting impact of this ongoing ad.

Case Study 2: East End Restaurant
One of our clients is an upscale, East End restaurant that serves two distinct demographics: local, year-round residents and seasonal residents and tourists. The owner had decided to run two different ad campaigns to capitalize on the restaurant’s distinct appeal to each group.

We ran a set of four ads advertising Thursday night as Ladies’ Night with Two-for-One drink specials. Each ad had a different picture of one of the bar’s signature summer cocktails. This ad was targeted to female users between the ages of 25 and 35 who live within 10 miles of the restaurant’s location, and were not already connected with the business’ page. We initially bid very close to the suggested bid, but raised the price we were willing to pay when we only received a few clicks in the first two days. We also posted the special on the page’s wall to ensure those connected with the restaurant were made aware of the special. The wall was also the destination of the link in the ad.

Then we set up a set of four more ads to target the summertime visitors – again utilizing different photos, this time of plated entrées. The restaurant had recently received an excellent review from a reputable East End publication. We took the content and photos from that review and created a landing page on the business’ website that featured the positive content. For the Facebook ad copy, we included a brief quote from the review and a call to action to read the rest of the piece on the website. This ad was targeted to 28 to 45 year olds living in New York City. However, because that in itself is such a broad demographic (and we really only wanted to show our ad to those who might travel to eastern Long Island) we used Precise Interest Targeting to narrow down users who had listed “culinary arts,” “fine dining,” “Fine wines,” “French cuisine,” “Hamptons,” “Hamptons restaurant week” or “Montauk” in their profiles. This allowed us to show our ad to most of the 2,700 users we were interested in.

When we assessed the success of the ads after four weeks, we saw that 25 local women had “liked” the restaurant’s page, and over 30 NYC residents had visited the landing page. The 50+ leads cost the business about $65. Considering how competitive the restaurant industry is, we consider this to be a decent result for an ad that ran less than one month.

Case Study 3: Day Camp Program
One of our clients was having a tough time filling the slots in its summer day camp program. Since we only had a short period of time to promote the camp before the program’s commencement, we determined Facebook advertising was likely to give us the most bang for our buck.

We put together a campaign using Broad Category Targeting. The only parameters we used were adults living within a 25-mile radius of the camp. Then we selected three broad categories to narrow the audience further. We selected the “Parents (0-3yrs)” and “Parents (4-12yrs)” from the Family Status heading and “Pets” and “Environment” from the Interests heading, since these were most relevant to the topics of the camp. The ad directed clickers to the portion of the business’ website that gave detailed information about the camp. Over 250 people have been directed to the website in only three weeks, costing less than $350. We considered this to be an excellent response, considering we bid at the very low end of the suggested range.

The introduction of Broad Categories does facilitate a lot more depth in easily targeting your advertisements, but it isn’t necessarily more specific, especially since you cannot combine Broad Category and Precise Interest Targeting in one ad campaign. This means that you can reach users based on qualifications that were not previously available to advertisers (including what kind of smart phone they use to access Facebook and their family status). However, because you are limited to selecting from a seemingly limited list of categories, your ad will likely be shown to persons whom you did not intend to target.

When running campaigns, we suggest creating a few versions of the same ad to experiment with the images and wording to determine what has the biggest effect on your audience. Include a call to action when possible. (“Come on down!” “Check out our page!” “Visit our website for more info.” “See what eveyone’s saying.” “Join us for the event.”) Check in every few days to see if you need to adjust your bid. You can also pause your campaign if your business plans to be closed for vacation, for example, and resume the campaign upon your return. This is better than ending your campaign to create a similar one a few days or weeks later because it saves time and preserves more accurate statistics.

Advertise with The Gazette

The Gazette offers readers stories about kids, community events, stories about kids and local happenings in Suffolk County, New York. This mailed free newspaper provides great advertising opportunities to businesses in the area. Barbers, salons, day care, pre-school, dance, karate, self-defense and many other businesses have special focus this month for the back-to-school market. Also, with the upcoming Labor Day parties, party suppliers and caterers would also benefit from this issue. The next issue of The Gazette will go out August 9 but you may also follow up with the next issue on September 2. You can also buy three months of advertisements with The Gazette and get the fourth month free.

The deadline for this advertising opportunity is Monday, August 1 for the special back-to-school issue. Please contact us at (631) 207-1057 if your company is interested in placing an ad.

No, We Can’t Get You Those Results Overnight

Long-Term Strategies to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking Through Off-Page Optimization

With millions of Web pages flooding the Internet, search engines must sift through the clutter and develop a ranking system that allows the strongest sites to be given optimal exposure by placing them at the top of search engine results. Since the majority of website traffic comes from these major search engines, it is imperative that your site has a high ranking. Off-page SEO includes anything you can do to secure a high page rank for your website in order to reach the ultimate goal of high Web visibility for your organization. In contrast to on-page optimization, the phrase “off-page” refers to the ways to promote your website and enhance your search engine optimization outside of the pages within your own site.

The most important factors of off-page SEO are linking, link value, bookmarking, social media, blogging, press releases, articles and Web directories. These factors will help build quality links back to your website to help improve your site’s rank with search engines.

Linking — The most important off-page optimization factor is gaining inbound links that direct others to your website. The first step in securing inbound links is to produce fresh, interesting and flawless content. Search engines love unique and frequently updated content. Once your site is completed with strong content, a clear navigation scheme and carefully chosen keywords begin to request links from other sources. For example, reach out to bloggers and demonstrate that you read their site and understand their audience. Send them a link to the content you created that you think will be valuable to them. This is important because you are offering them something of value while increasing your own Web presence.

Keep in mind that there is such a thing as overdoing it with backlinking. If you build more than 50 backlinks in one day, search engines may treat you as a spammer, diminishing your site’s ranking. A good goal is to keep within the range of 10-15 backlinks per day. By integrating linking techniques into your Public Relations and Social Media strategy, you shouldn’t have a problem with this. For example, each time you contribute a press release, post the release to the free posting sites cited below. Likewise, each time you publish an article, post it to the article directories also discussed below.

Link Value — When building backlinks on the Web, it is important to understand link value. There are several factors that determine the value of your link:

• The first step is to determine whether the link is a no-follow or do-follow and always strive for the latter. For example, never leave links in the comment sections of blogs. These links will automatically be marked as no-follow, providing no SEO benefit.

• To get SEO authority, get as many backlinks as possible from as many high-authority sites as possible. The higher the authority of the page that your link is on, the more of this authority will transfer to your site. For instance, Google gives high authority to newspaper websites. Having an article published in these online papers with your link is worth a lot more than many other websites.

• A second factor is the number of other links on the page that is linking to you. The more links that are on that page, the less SEO benefit each is given.

• The anchor text of the link is also crucial to its strength. Be sure to use relevant keywords in the anchor text so you will rank higher for those keywords.

You can check your website link’s popularity at http://www.linkpopularity.com/. The higher your link popularity is, the higher your page ranking will be.

Bookmarking — Bookmarking is an effective means of driving traffic to your business’ website. On bookmarking sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon, users can bookmark important Web pages that they visit regularly and would like to organize as favorites. Bookmarking sites are the hubs for one-click marks of approval. It is important to first check if your URL has already been listed on these sites and then, if it hasn’t, submit your link along with a website description, articles and tags. Each bookmarking site offers different features. For example, Delicious lets people bookmark a URL while others let users vote. Once your site is listed, encourage social media users who are on the myriad of social bookmarking sites to bookmark your website and post and vote for your articles. It is important to submit strong quality content to these social bookmarking sites that will attract reader interest and votes.

Popular bookmarking sites:
Digg
Reddit
Mixx
Delicious
StumbleUpon
Tweetmeme
Fark
Slashdot
Friendfeed
Newsvine
Diigo

Social Media — Aside from being a crucial marketing tool for your business, social media also provides great off-page SEO benefits. Social networking sites can improve natural search visibility for your organization. Sharing, commenting and linking are at the core of social media. This shared content can get your website exposure, traffic and possibly a high number of inbound links. Since you can reach a vast amount of people using social media, there is a greater likelihood of gaining more links, which is one element that major search engines look at when ranking sites. Anything that raises awareness of a business or a particular website is good for SEO. Keep in mind that social media sites are also “do not follow,” meaning you won’t get SEO benefits from just posting links to your site on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Each of your social media profiles should link back to your business’ main website in a variety of ways. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the main social networking outlets that your organization should have a presence on, but there are many sites to choose from. Facebook status updates, your profile descriptions and tweets especially should include links to drive traffic to your website.

Popular social media sites:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
YouTube
Flickr
Myspace
MyLife
FourSquare
Vimeo
Photobucket
Avvo (attorneys)
JDSupra (attorneys)

Blogging — The major advantages of having a blog are that you will establish your company as a thought leader in your industry, change your site from an online brochure to a living, breathing hub and give your visitors a way to engage with you. Blogs also provide off-page SEO benefit by driving readers back to your website in order to learn more about your business. It is necessary for blogs to produce fresh, unique content so make sure to update your page at least once a week. Include keywords in the titles of your entries and diversify your posts by adding video and photos. Within the actual text, turn keyword phrases into hyperlinks to point to your website. Once you’ve started your blog, promote your entries by posting your link on social media outlets, bookmarking sites and discussion forums such as Yahoo! Forums and LinkedIn Answers. Also, interact with other bloggers to gain exposure. In order to build a name for yourself in the vast blogosphere, it is important to interact with bloggers who write about your field. Add to the discussion in the comment sections of another blogger’s work. Likewise, make sure that your readers can leave comments on your own blog and subscribe via RSS and email. Maintaining an effective blog is key to maximizing your off-page optimization strategy.

At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we use WordPress to host our blog and would highly recommend using this site. However, there are other popular blogging sites out there such as Blogger, Blogspot and Tumblr. We generally recommend that businesses incorporate their blog into their website versus a separate site. This way, your blogging and link-building will benefit your website and you won’t have to work on SEO for two separate sites. However, doing this does involve a bit more programming when setting up your site.

Press Releases — Publishing professional news and press releases in various online outlets is crucial to your off-page optimization success. Posting press releases, media advisories, media availabilities and events is a great way to generate interest in your organization and drive traffic back to your website. Each time your release is posted on another website, the inbound link from that page to your website helps increase your SEO rank. It is important to write releases that are complete with keyword-rich language used by your audience and to include links that point to a specific offer or landing page on your site.

Consider using a service such as NewsEdge, Dow Jones Factiva, LexisNexis and Marketwire to deliver raw press releases.

Free press release sites:
www.longisland.com (regional)
www.openPR.com
www.prLog.com
www.pressmethod.com
www.pr-usa.net
www.PR.com
www.PR9.net
www.pressabout.com
www.press-base.com
www.prbuzz.com
www.PRUrgent.com

Articles — Publishing articles is a great way to demonstrate your area of expertise and portray yourself as a thought leader in your industry. Strong articles can also lead readers back to your business’ website. At the end of your article, place a link back to your website. Add links back to your site for related articles as well. If the article is thought-provoking and interesting to your audience, readers may feel compelled to share it with others, learn more about your business and click on your backlinks.

Thousands of online article directories will publish your articles for free and enhance your Web visibility by offering backlinks to your website.

Free article directories:
www.bpubs.com
www.articlesnatch.com
www.joinandpost.com
www.articlecube.com
www.articlesbase.com
www.ezinearticles.com
www.isnare.com
www.articlealley.com
www.articledashboard.com
www.businessknowhow.com
www.buzzle.com

Web Directories — Free Web directories are great for listing your website and quickly building your link popularity. These sites can help to boost your website’s rankings on popular search engines such as Google and Yahoo! by categorizing link submissions. Web directories list websites by category and subcategory so that readers can easily find what they’re searching for. There are several paid and unpaid Web directories and it is best to take advantage of the free directories first.

Free Web directories that offer a one-way text link:
www.dmoz.org
www.geniusfind.com
www.busybits.com
www.hotfrog.com
www.somuch.com
www.skoobe.biz
www.gimpsy.com
www.exactseek.com
www.clickey.com
www.canlinks.net
www.zeezo.com
www.surfsafely.com

Track Your Progress — Once you’ve implemented these off-page SEO techniques, it is important to monitor your progress over time. Monitor your keyword ranking with a program such as Web CEO. Website Grader is also an excellent program to monitor the strength of your site and best of all, it’s free. Using Website Grader, you can build a custom report for your website to determine its strengths and weaknesses. It is important to regularly monitor your grade and make changes as needed.

Advertise with 2011 U.S. Open Tennis on Verizon FiOS

Magnificent grounds, world-class entertainment, breakthrough innovations and electrifying action are among the major reasons why fans from all over the world come together in New York and turn the U.S. Open into the center of the sports and entertainment universe. Join the action, as the tournament unfolds on ESPN2 from August 29th to September 11th, and let your message be heard through the most trusted name in sports. Advertising packages are available for those in Suffolk County, South Nassau and North Nassau County.

Two championship packages are offered per zone and each will include a total of eighteen 30 second spots per daytime session on ESPN2, twenty 30 second spots per prime session on ESPN2 and ten 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. mid rotator spots per network on ESPN Classic, ESPN and ESPN News. As a special bonus, each championship package includes two tickets to the 2011 U.S. Open. The total cost is $1,500 for South Nassau, $600 for North Nassau and $1,150 for Suffolk County.

If your company is interested in placing an ad, please contact us at (631) 207-1057.

Getting Started with Reputation Management

Negative publicity on the Internet can cost your business in both revenue and customers. While blogs and social media have transformed the way businesses communicate with the public, it’s also easier than ever for people to post negative, false or scandalous claims about businesses in a public media outlet. By simply posting damaging comments on review sites, blogs and social media sites, people can tarnish your business’ public image and reputation. Implementing an online reputation management strategy is crucial for any organization’s success in today’s business world. Managing your online reputation requires a multi-faceted and integrated approach including monitoring your online reputation, engaging your audience, and by publishing content to help develop your organization’s Web presence. Lastly, in certain necessary circumstances, take legal action.

Monitor

It is essential for businesses to monitor what is being said about them online. In order to succeed in enhancing your company’s online reputation, you must be a good listener. Listen to and address your friends, followers and fans’ comments and concerns. Interaction, communication and awareness are keys to creating a positive image for your business. Your company must implement a listening platform so that you may quickly spot and address any complaints or damaging comments.

Helpful Tools

One helpful tool is Google Alerts. Set up Google Alerts for your business to keep track of keywords, such as your business name or products, and receive updates whenever they are mentioned online. This service will allow you to monitor everything that is being said about these keywords online. Another useful tool is the Twitter search engine. Search and use hashtags (#), followed by the name of your organization, products or services. Twitter will then compile everything that has been said about this subject for you to browse through. The advanced Twitter search engine will provide you with auto updates of key terms. There are also a variety of social media monitoring programs. Another program, Icerocket, allows you to monitor Twitter, blogs, the Web, news, images and more, while offering the ability to bookmark your search results for later reference. Other social media alert tools include Addict-o-matic, Boardtracker, Twazzup, socialmention, Tweetdeck and Radian6. All of these tools report alerts when your keywords are found on social media sites and other online platforms.

Once the negative content is found, some defaming pages can be removed by contacting Web administrators. However, the goal is to prevent negative content from ever appearing, and when it does, to push it to the later pages of search engine results by deploying an integrated and proactive strategy. It is also essential to implement some form of damage control and prevention before the issue gets out of hand. Having good customer relations and engaging your audience is essential in this area.

Engage

Always encourage customer communication and feedback. Reach out to your audience and respond to any criticism in a professional and compassionate manner. Your audience will appreciate superior customer service and the effort you made to address their concern. Don’t limit yourself to responding only to negative feedback. The goal is to reposition your business on the Web as a more customer-oriented organization.

Negative Feedback — Index all negative reviews in one document. Try to match reviewers with past clients and send them all personalized emails or notes at home, addressing each individual concern and specific case. Apologize, if necessary, and offer them a great deal to get them to give your business another shot. If the matter has been resolved, invite reviewers to withdraw their negative review if their next experience has proven to be better than the last. If they cannot withdraw the comment, then invite them to post again. With the high presence of anonymity online, it isn’t always possible to track down the culprits behind damaging material. For reviewers who cannot be identified, respond with an “owner’s reply” online, addressing their concern and promising to do better next time.

Positive Feedback — Responding to praise and gratitude is just as important as addressing negative publicity. Always thank customers for positive comments and reviews. Facilitate positive postings in forms, emails and comment sections by thanking your audience for their time and encouraging feedback so that you may improve their experience.

Improve Customer Relations — Promote your business as a client-friendly organization, with their best interests in mind. Cater your content to what would be most valuable for your target audience. Write educational articles and post helpful videos. Another tip is to create and maintain a blog with a weekly question from a customer, responding in helpful and compassionate terms. This will demonstrate that your business is open to conversation.

Publish

Develop Your Web Presence — Carefully consider all content before you publish it online. When you post on a social media site, or anywhere else online, you are speaking on your business’ behalf. Despite its casual feel, take social networking seriously. All content should be positive, accurate and put you and your organization in a good light. It is important to generate more positive publicity for your business so that the major search engines focus on this to create and maintain a positive online image. By creating lots of favorable online content, published on several online platforms, you will not only nourish your favorable reputation online, but also improve your search engine presence. You want your social media pages, blog, website and any positive media coverage to appear on the first two pages of Google when someone searches for your business. This will help to push negative publicity, if it cannot be removed, to the back and out of sight. Another tip is to create microsites to publish positive content and increase your organization’s Web presence. Microsites tend to rank high when people search for your company, allowing you to have greater visibility in search engine results.

Optimize Content — Using the right keywords is essential to having your site found on Google and the other major search engines. The typical Google search consists of three words so you must choose your keywords wisely. They must be relevant, important, generate sufficient search volume and reach your target audience. Further, always maintain and update your website(s), blog and social media accounts with fresh content to ensure that they rank high in search engines when someone searches for your business. However, in your goal of optimizing positive content and pushing negative content out of sight, you cannot manipulate the search engine’s system. Violating Google’s guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your website’s presence on Google, or even the removal of your site from Google’s index. There is no issue in using positive content to overcome negative content, but it must be done within Google’s guidelines. This area can become tricky and a professional reputation management service will guide your organization through the process.

Social Media — Social media is all about enabling conversations. While you cannot control conversations, you can influence them. Create and maintain accounts on popular social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Actively engage your audience through social media. For example, publish a tweet asking customers if they need help or assistance with anything and when they respond, address their problems accordingly. Upload a valuable how-to video to YouTube to demonstrate to your audience that you have their best interests in mind.

Earned Media — Continue to gain earned media through the development of positive news media stories about your organizations. Send press releases, articles and photos to media sources and participate in community events that may garner positive media coverage for your organization. News outlets generally have a high degree of authority online and rank high with the major search engines.

Free Postings — As press releases and articles are generated for media distribution, your blog or newsletters, post the content on appropriate local and national websites that accept press release and article submissions. Thousands of article directories will publish your content for free, enhancing your online visibility. When you publish an article on one of these directories, that directory will give you a link back to your website, driving traffic there. Some free posting sites include:
www.PRLog.com
www.getyourcontent.com
www.articlesnatch.com
www.joinandpost.com
www.articlecube.com
www.businessknowhow.com
www.bpubs.com
www.articlesbase.com
www.buzzle.com
www.ezinearticles.com
www.isnare.com
www.articlealley.com
www.articledashboard.com

Legal

In appropriate circumstances, businesses should consider legal options to help address damaging content online. For libelous and defaming comments made about your company online, you may want to take legal measures, including filing a lawsuit for defamation, tortuous interference with business relations and even criminal cyber-bullying or harassment.

Advertise with Able’s 20th Anniversary Issue

This special publication will look back at the most important issues of the past 20 years. Since 1991, Able, a monthly newspaper, has been published for, by, and about the disabled. Able features all the news that pertains to people with disabilities, including a calendar of events, columns written by various experts and a variety of informative articles. Able is mailed to a specific population that includes disabled individuals, their families, involved professionals, volunteers and other interested parties. It is also distributed to key locations that are frequented by this population.

There is still time to reserve space for your special greeting ad in this keepsake issue.

The deadline for the August issue is July 15 so if your company is interested in placing an ad or sponsorship, please contact us at (631) 207-1057.

Sponsor the 1st Annual Nassau County Executives Cup

On Saturday, July 23, 2011, Nassau County will be hosting their first annual Executives Cup. This event, hosted at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, will be an opportunity for friends, family, athletes and fans to enjoy the best that Nassau County has to offer at both the high school and professional levels in soccer. Consider sponsoring this event and gain exposure for your business while making the Executive Cup a success. Advertising options include a platinum medal sponsorship, gold medal sponsorship, silver medal sponsorship or sponsoring an athlete. You may also choose to provide a general donation of food or beverages. Depending on which sponsorship you choose, you business can receive game uniform logo space, banner space, a game day PA system announcement, booth space and more.

Please contact us at (631) 207-1057 if your company is interested in sponsoring.

The Patchogue Theatre for Performing Arts Offers 2011-2012 Ad and Sponsorship Packages

Advertisement and sponsorship packages are now available for 2011-2012 at the Patchogue Theatre for Performing Arts (PTPA). Each summer, sponsorships and ads are offered in the theatre program to support PTPA’s mission to serve as a cultural center for Long Island. The program is available at the theatre box office and is given to thousands of theatre patrons from September until June. Long Island businesses and individuals can support the work of the Patchogue Theatre by being part of this publication or by making the commitment of a full season sponsorship. Your business’ contribution will support the not-for-profit PTPA and also get the word out to over 100,000 theatre patrons and their families.

If your company is interested in placing an ad or sponsorship, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057.

Making the Right Connections with LinkedIn

Every business strives to increase profitability and remain relevant and competitive in their industry. In order to stay competitive in today’s business world, you must use some form of social media. Social media marketing and advertising techniques can help increase your revenues, communicate with customers and remain a competitive force in your field. With so many options out there, it is best to focus your attention and time on what is most beneficial to your business. For those interested in making professional connections, networking and reaching out to other businesses, LinkedIn is the site for you.

LinkedIn, the world’s largest business-oriented service, allows members to network and keep in touch with their business contacts. Businesses should think of LinkedIn as a giant networking event. This is especially beneficial for B2B industries. The site allows you to search its database for people at a company to whom you are somehow connected and send a virtual introduction through one or more immediate connections. LinkedIn helps build stronger personal relationships to facilitate more direct contact and business opportunities.

Always make sure that your LinkedIn business profile is as close to 100% complete as possible. Upload a professional photo, add to your network frequently and keep all business information and staff up to date on your business page. This makes it easier for other businesses, potential clients or partners to find your company.

Design your profile with your audience in mind. Don’t write lengthy descriptions of irrelevant jobs that you’ve worked for in the past; your LinkedIn page is not your résumé. (LinkedIn has a separate section for that.) Potential clients and business partners won’t benefit from seeing every minor detail of work experience from years ago. Focus on job titles, major achievements and the names of companies you’ve worked for. You may also add a video from YouTube to your business page.
Here are a few tips to make your LinkedIn page stand out and get your business noticed

Add video — To add a video, go to your company page and click on “Services” at the top. Select “Add a Product or Service,” then scroll down to the bottom of this page to step 10. Here, you may add your video, a title, keywords and the required fields. Another hint is to change your LinkedIn URL. When you create a business profile on LinkedIn, you’re given a random URL. To enhance search engine optimization and boost Google rankings, you can change the URL to something simpler, like your business’ name. You may customize your URL here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/public-profile-settings.

Make connections — The more connections you have, the greater your opportunities become. One tip is to use the LinkedIn toolbar for Outlook to easily invite all of your Outlook contacts to connect with you. You may also export your LinkedIn contacts to Outlook or your Gmail address book by saving the details of your connections as a CSV file. You can then import this file into any other email program.

Advertise — There is also the potential for advertising on LinkedIn. You can target your audience based on company size, industry, gender and geography. (See our Advertising Spotlight for details.)

Use recommendations — Always give recommendations and testimonials to your contacts and request for them in return. These greatly enhance your profile by giving potential clients and business contacts a clear indication of the quality of your company’s work.

Communication and interaction are essential to your LinkedIn success. Update your status whenever there’s an update in your company. Likewise, keep an eye out for others’ statuses for something to start a conversation with or build a connection. Build and join groups and enhance the conversation with your expertise. You may communicate easily with group members by sending emails. This will portray your business to others as an expert and leader in the field. Send emails to group members, post conversations from the group to Twitter and Facebook, interact in the discussion area and pose and respond to questions. Use of the Answers feature spreads your name and profile around to people who otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to it. By answering others’ questions, you show authority in your field and others may then look to you for advice. Answer only questions you can answer well. If you wrote an article, add it to one of the web resources boxes.

LinkedIn Today — A new feature the social media site has launched is “LinkedIn Today,” a program that surfaces the top headlines and stories being shared the most by members. Articles are grouped into different industries and the trending articles for each industry will appear at the top. This feature gives users an organized way to consume the top trending news in a particular industry. Having your company’s article appear on LinkedIn Today is a great way to gain exposure and share your professional insight. Make sure to post exceptional, thought-provoking content in your articles to maximize the chance of showing up at the top of this section.

LinkedIn Application for iPhones and Android Phones — Another LinkedIn breakthrough is that now users have the option of downloading the LinkedIn application for iPhones and Android-powered phones. You don’t have to be sitting in front of a computer screen to use LinkedIn. Professionals can now easily access and share industry news and articles and post headlines more directly from their cellular phone.

Stay active — Maintaining your LinkedIn page and checking for updates may be time-consuming, but it is necessary for success. Instead of logging in every time you want to check your profile, install the Google Chrome LinkedIn toolbar. This toolbar makes it simple to respond to contact invitations, comment on your contacts’ updates and more.

Visit The Public Relations and Marketing Group’s website for examples of social media performed on behalf of its clients.