Why Social Media Works


What I have found is missing from many businesses today is old fashioned customer service. The kind of service where you connect with your customers and take a moment to chat with them. It was this type of customer service that built long lasting relationships and kept customers in the past coming back to business.

You can have a great product or service … but that can be replicated by your competition. What the competition cannot replicate is your relationship with your customers. Social Media is an excellent tool to build lasting relationships with your customers. Imagine writing a note or posting most anywhere and you get a direct response from the company president or a person within the company? These are the type things that make you go, “wow I can work with this company.”

How can you make this happen within your business and where can you find the time in your busy schedule? First off in today’s market you just have to make the time to get the job done and done right. Your competition is or will be soon … it is as simple as that. Second you are missing out on a great opportunity if you do not take advantage of Social Media.

It is not difficult to create a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages and that is probably the easiest aspect of the whole process. Search on Google for creating a Facebook page or any of the others and you will find step-by-step processes to get that aspect accomplished.

Once the pages are created that is where the work begins. First add links to your website direct to these accounts so that your site visitors can connect to your social media accounts. Then you need to add content to the pages. If you are a reasonably decent writer you can write your own content, though make certain the spelling and grammar is correct before you publish. It is always good to get someone else to edit your content before you publish.

What not to write … blatant advertising. Your readers are looking for help and information not another ad to go to your website to buy this product or that service. For example one of the tweets I will use for this blog is the title, “Why Social Media Works” which will include a link to this blog … which of course at the very bottom has a call to action if you the reader wants to see how OTR can help your company with their social media management. You always want to attract business but the key is to be low-key about it.

A very important aspect of Twitter is the capability to search for specific phrases that people are speaking about. For example OTR’s Twitter name is “otrweb” or @otrweb and I have that term as well as some industry terms in my search grouping. For example if someone is posting a question anywhere about #html5 I can get a notification about it even if it has nothing to do with OTR Web. This gives me the opportunity to answer their question and build a relationship … and maybe a new client over time.

I can hear you saying to yourself, who has the time for that? Searching through Tweets … there are thousands that come through my box every day. That is where Social Media management software comes to play. From a single interface you can have the software select relevant people you wish to follow, schedule Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts and deliver to your desk those people that have made mention of your company. Follow up on those posts and you are building relationships.

Lastly there is the on-line blog … it is from here that you can write relevant information that can help make you a go-to guy in your industry. When you provide information that will help people it is then that you have built some credibility about you and your company. So take the steps to create your pages … get your blog up and providing good information about your industry and see the traffic to your website increase exponentially.

If all of this seems daunting to you still …  then as I stated earlier OTR is here to help manage your social media platforms. We can even write your blogs for you, create and enter your Facebook posts and schedule your tweets at optimum times. If you would like more information then contact OTR.


Web Errors That Will Cause Your Visitors To Bounce Away


I received a notification today from a company via one of the Social Media sites about some tech predictions for 2012. It was an interesting headline so I clicked on the link and waited as the page loaded line by line for this HUGE image to download. At first I thought maybe my connection was acting up so I reloaded the page and the same thing … the image loaded line by line and after 30 seconds I could see that I was only about 5% into the image.

I never did read the article, though I suppose it had loaded below the image. I just bounced away and proceeded to write this blog article. The worst part was these people advertised themselves as web developers and designers! You can expect to see a non-optimized image in a personal website or blog … but from a firm that says they are web designers? As I started to compose my rant it made me think there are other things that make us go hmmm when we get to a website. Following is a short list of things that can make your website visitors go hmmm and inevitably bounce away.

Spelling it boggles my mind to go to a web page and find it full of spelling errors. How is anyone going to trust that you can deliver what you promise if their first impression is hmmm? Spell checkers are available … take the time to use them and then check the results, as you don’t want to just accept the revised corrections or you can end up with some very strange words that are entirely out of place.

Wrong Words – My dear oldest sister, who was a very successful mortgage broker almost always used “loose” instead of “lose” … that one will lose me most every time. Too many times we see “to” used when “too” was the correct word or accept when except was the right choice. There are some things we just cannot accept, except occasionally these word errors can cause us to laugh. The list of incorrect word usage goes on and on and I am sure we could fill an entire blog with just such words.

Grammar – This will be short as my wife (the copywriter) is always correcting my writing and if/when she reads this blog she will ask me politely if I would like for her to “fix” it. Most times I do send through my posts to her first, but today she is out writing for a client so you are getting the raw copy! The bottom line is if you struggle with grammar then make use of someone to edit your writing. Check back here in a few days for the “finished” post. 🙂

Color or Colour Usage the spelling of which depends on whether you are north or south of the 49th Parallel.  We write on our OTR site that anyone can build a website and it is true, today most anyone can build a website. However building a website that works and creates a good first impression is another thing altogether. Glaring colours, movement everywhere, a page that is not balanced and unwanted sound are all things that cause the visitor to your web pages to go hmmm and add to a poor first impression of your business or service.

Images are critical to your website. While it is true that the search bots read words it is also true that the search bots do not buy your products or services. People perform that function. Careful selection, optimization and page placement of relevant images will make the interest of your page increase exponentially. Clip art, irrelevant images, non-optimized images, annoying flash or too much movement will all drive your readers away and cause another hmmm.

Social Media Integration – How many websites even today do you go to and there is no social media integration into their website? Communicating with fresh up to date content and building a relationship with your target markets is vital to your overall web success. A blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all valuable relationship tools and can be managed with Social Media Management Software from your desktop. A workable Social Media plan can be found here that you can integrate into your web presence.

Search Engine Optimization – Often we go to  a website and it looks nice and can even be designed well, but the all important SEO aspects have been left out. Some web designers will throw in a few keywords in the meta tag and think that is what is needed for SEO … there is a LOT more to it. Key phrase research, niche market research, local area search, content marketing, website architecture, copy that incorporates the key phrases in a manner that is readable. Each page having a purpose and a call to action … the list goes on.

We have barely touched what goes into a website that works, and by all means build your website yourself … just take the time to research and do it right. If however you have come to the conclusion that you neither have the time or the necessary skills to create a website that works, then contact OTR Web Solutions and we will work with you to build a site for your business … that works.

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.


Tired Phrases – “Reach Out” How about “Bug Off”


You open up any email or web post or blog article and somewhere soon you will find one of those tired phrases like,we “reached out” to our readers …” Okay folks, I don’t want you to “reach out to me”. It just paints a strange picture in my head as the image of you reaching out through the screen to touch me and make personal contact. It is not likely you would reach out to me if we met in the mall or on the street. Why? Because you do not know me.  I am just a name or email address in a long list of people or non-people that you have acquired through some means or another.

So marketers and copywriters, it is time you “stepped up to the plate” because the goal of readership and contact will only be attained one step at a time. I am reaching out to you in the hope that you will create a new phrase that not only you can believe in but one that clearly portrays my life has never been so good.

Truthfully, (does that mean everything before this was a lie?), if I could leverage this blog to produce a paradigm shift in copy content that is outside the box … well it just doesn’t get any better than this. (That really was bad bad wasn’t it!)

We all desire products of the highest quality and of course we want great value for our money. Furthermore, we expect you to deliver amazing results even extraordinary results all the while showing that you care for me your customer … and of course we expect this 24/7.

I am ” reaching out to you” this one last time to let you know that if copy is not your forte then we, the OTR copywriters, will compose professional, affordable and unique web copy for you that will provide solutions to your business web copy by taking your copy “to the next level!”

OTR Web Solutions Inc.


Your Website Delivers a Message … for Better or Worse.


How often have you searched for a product or service, and the sites you have come upon speak about themselves, their history and their great products or services? You, the potential client are then left to determine the “if” or even “how” this particular website can meet your businesses specific needs.

The reality is that many of your website visitors will then “bounce” away because they are looking for a solution to their problem and really do not care about you or your products … unless you can portray that your site can meet their needs. The question then is how can this be accomplished effectively?

  1. Determine your specific market. When I was in the life insurance business (a lifetime ago) I was told that if you throw enough mud against the wall … some of it will stick. I suppose there was/is some merit to the comment but I did not like it then and I do not like it today. To my way of thinking it made more sense to make 10 targeted calls and close them than to make 100 mud-on-the-wall calls and hope to close 1 or 2! If for example my target market is “trucking web designers” then we need to build the web pages to attract and qualify within that specific market and not dilute the message and impact by attempting to appeal to a broader market.
  2. Resolve a need. To accomplish this you must be knowledgeable about the market and the specific needs of that industry. Sticking with the transportation industry as our example, determine the needs and relate a story of how you can resolve that need in a manner that the reader can relate with and to for their business. Some of the example transportation needs:
    1. Driver Recruitment and Retention
    2. Market penetration to pre-determined segments
      1. Regional Carrier
      2. Over The Road Carrier – National
      3. Dry Freight – LTL, TL
      4. Refrigerated Freight – LTL, TL
      5. Bulk Carrier
      6. Household Mover – local, regional long distance
      7. 3PL
      8. Brokerage
      9. Warehousing and Storage
    3. Social Media Campaigns
      1. Facebook
      2. LinkedIn
      3. Twitter
      4. Blog
      5. Social Media Console Manager
  3. Tell Your Story. Once the specific market has been determined and the needs of the industry established then it is time to relate a story of how your company can resolve those needs. A short story with images that are relative to that story creates a memorable image within the readers mind and will bring about the all important next step … contact. Again using our example of “trucking web design” we could write about how a client called concerned that one of their customers had been looking for 3PL services in a particular city and when doing a search their trucking company came up … but not relative to 3PL services. Can you get that corrected  for us so that our trucking company shows for 3PL within this city when a prospective client searches for that phrase? A few weeks later comes back the response … that is fantastic, we are on the first page. How do you do that!? Or you can tell a story about Driver Recruitment and how with the new web pages, blog and Facebook we actually have drivers calling us and posting to our Facebook telling us that they are applying. You guys took the time to find out about us and delivered our message.
  4. If you caught my interest I might want to know more about your products or services features … but my first impression had better be about the benefits you bring to me because that is what is going to capture my interest. It might be relevant somewhere that you have been doing this for over 12 years as that shows me you will probably still be around when I need you again, but only if you can show it as a benefit to me.

Professional web development is a team project. In the same manner as truck drivers by themselves do not form a transport company; a web designer cannot make a website development company. It takes a professional team to build an effective website that works. If you are looking for a team approach to your website development then take the time to contact OTR. We are here to build for you … a website that works.

OTR Web Solutions Inc.