Facebook for Business


Facebook for Business – Top 10 Uses

The age of social media has arrived for the world of business. There are over 1 billion people currently on Facebook alone, for example, so it only stands to reason that this would be a good place to be when you want to gain attention for your enterprise, or organization. But what exactly should you be doing?

Understanding the uses of Facebook for business is something that requires developing a systematic approach for exactly how it can help move you toward the goals you’ve set for growing your company. Let’s look at 10 ways you can leverage the astounding reach of this leader in social media to position your business to take the lead in this new commercial landscape.

1> Increase traffic to your website – getting people to where the action is builds your bottom line. Posting material with a sprinkling of links back to your company website is a great way to use facebook for business growth.

2> Create brand awareness – photos are worth a thousand words, and those showing your products, services, and views of your business operation in action, help establish you as a distinct – and memorable – entity amongst all the choices out there.

3> Build a Community – and as your brand awareness grows, so does the number of people regularly visiting your site to find more of what they enjoyed on their first visit. Your neighborhood is expanding. And since clients want to believe they found you, not that you found them, this is an excellent way to establish such a relationship.

4> Educate your market – the primary reason people go anywhere online is to accesseducation actionable information. As the old saying goes – Knowledge is power – and one of the best ways to use facebook for business is to regularly deliver important information that educates your audience about issues related to your business.

5> Staying in focus – people remember where they obtained valuable information, so the more of it you provide, the more you become a focal point of their cyber-world. This has the added advance of building online ‘word of mouth’ as your community informs people in theirs about you as a good source of data.

6> Demonstrate your expertise – a big part of using facebook for business involves making it evident that you are a skilled professional in your field. The cumulative impact of all of your postings, photos, and links is how this is accomplished – and it keeps paying dividends for your operation.

7> Expand your reach – with over a billion set of eyes looking in, getting access to the broadest possible audience is one of the chief advantages of adopting facebook for business and commercial purposes. Suddenly, your reach is worldwide in a manner businesses of the past could only dream about.

8> Developing new affiliations – you never know where cooperative alliances will come from, and adopting facebook for business has been the start of many such partnerships.

9> Provide customer service – with its chat, message, and pinned post features, facebook enables small businesses to expand their customer service while minimizing costs. Always a nice combination.

10> Increase sales – while this feature is certainly uppermost in your mind, it takes all of the features of facebook for business working together to get to this one. But once you grasp how the facebook world works, this is the natural outcome.

The bottom line is that having a presence in this burgeoning new informational universe is essential for any commercial enterprise. Today people want to believe they found you and not that you found them. Facebook is another excellent vehicle for prospective customers to find you and interact with you.

And with the above in-mind, you can see that there is a lot to like about Facebook for business. Our eBook on Facebook can help you Take the Lead with your business.

Ian Conklin

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

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.


For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Brand Marketing Strategy


Brand Marketing Strategy

Expand Your Brand Content

After you’ve envisioned your brand marketing strategy by plotting a series of newsworthy stories on your calendar, you can move a step further by expanding yourbrand marketing strategy web content in various directions to give your sitemap much more depth. Search engines love sites with hundreds of pages of deep valuable content. They keep updating their algorithms to favor such sites while pushing thin content sites down the rankings. Avoid expanding too quickly for the sake of quantity so that the search engines don’t write you off as a spammer. Instead, grow productively and thoughtfully with quality content.

Provide Detail

One way to expand your web content is to provide deeper details of items you’ve already written about. Let your sitemap guide you as an overall outline for your website. Not every page needs to be linked to the “master sitemap,” which can provide links to sections that have more thorough indexes. The architecture of your website should be set up so that each broad section has its own folder. Within these folders are subfolders for deep links to pages that house more detailed content. Think of your website as a tree that never dies. Its root is the main directory, which encompasses different sections, including a sitemap, which also links to various sections, which lead to deeper links.

Try not to get too scientific about SEO since it’s never been an exact science and its guidelines keep changing through search engine updates. One thing that has been consistent through all these changes has been search engines reward high quantity sites with high quality pages while almost every other type of website has been punished somewhere along the way. High quantity/low quality doesn’t work and neither will a five page website of any quality compete well with a high quantity/high quality site. Quality is measured by the information you provide that can be objectively determined as useful information to online users. Sites like Google know exactly what types of information are in demand.

Ideas for Unique Content

Unique content can be easily created through uniqueness on perspectives, exclusive data, product demonstration tips, historical facts and customer reviews. Videos have become very important to many industries now that YouTube has become a vast library of free video content. By creating educational videos, even with bare minimum quality video equipment, you can engage viewers and offer transcriptions at the same time that double the impact in search engines. Make a point to capture footage of any public events or interviews that you do and then use them to link with various angles of the same topic in your blogs and articles.

Your brand marketing strategy will naturally manifest from expanded content that’s meaningful to your followers. Focus some of your videos, blogs and articles on company personalities who can share the brand narrative to the online community. Let people become familiar with humans who work for your company by offering details to their backgrounds, which fosters familiarity, giving customers a more personalized feel of your business.

Give Industry Commentary

Let your most knowledgeable and articulate experts have a voice on your site. If you’re a one person company don’t be afraid to share your personality with the world, which can make your brand more human and memorable. Comment about your industry’s past, present and future. Discuss the industry’s strengths and weaknesses. By providing a timeline of your industry’s development, you can educate your customers and gain trust in many ways, especially if no one else is doing it. Crystalize your brand marketing strategy by researching unanswered questions in your industry and offer new ideas.

Take the Lead – Download our eBook On How To Use Pinterest for Business

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

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Brand Strategy :Testing Your Brand


Brand Strategy : Testing Your Brand

Test Your Brand Against Your Competitors

Your brand needs to outshine the competition, maybe not in every way, but in enough ways to connect with the people you target with your narrative. A winning branding Brand Strategystrategy includes studying your competition and figuring out why your brand is better and in what ways it can be better. Keep in mind that consumer reviews keep everything in check, so part of your research needs to include finding out how consumers compare your brand with competitors.

Brand Strategy : Comparing Brands

Even though you may not have access to your competitors’ Analytics for every metric, you can still look at your own statistics and make estimates about your competitors. Sometimes you can get access to their data when they brag about it in the media. Your Analytics will tell you where your traffic is coming from, how much you are getting and what people do when they visit your website and social media profile. One thing competitors may not be able to hide from is how they rank in audience measurement sites such as Alexa and Quantcast. Both sites reveal interesting statistics about traffic for websites.
You can create your own estimates about your competitors’ social media activity by being friends with them and seeing how their users respond to them. You can also check their website to see if they publish online reviews. Another way to compare brands is to see who has higher rankings for keywords in various search engines. An element of your branding strategy should be to prioritize your most important keywords and phrases and then see if you’re winning those battles in online search.
You can also find out who is getting the most media coverage by going to Google and searching for news articles on your competitors.

Brand Strategy : Declaring Leadership

Once you have compiled a comparative analysis report of your brand versus competitors, create a list of goals that allow you to beat competitors. You can declare leadership in many areas, just like you will inevitably do with keywords if you use enough imagination and determination. The art of declaring leadership in anything is more up to you than your competitors. Don’t bother attacking them in areas that you cannot win. If they have a much larger budget, for example, don’t waste time imagining that you can beat them in an outbound marketing campaign.

But when it comes to inbound marketing, the playing field is much more level and you have many opportunities to overshadow the weaknesses of your competitors. The fact that you will be different from them in many ways will allow you be a leader in many areas. By monitoring their weaknesses you can assess where you can develop strengths and whether or not imaginative ideas alone can help you achieve leadership. Your best bet for developing an edge in competition will be in how strong you are with social media. If you enjoy interacting with people and mixing information with entertainment, then that element of your branding strategy will be tough to beat because most companies still do not invest enough time in social media.

Brand Strategy : Study Your Own Weaknesses

Never over-estimate your market position because the market is constantly changing. You never know when a new competitor will come into the market after studying everything you’re doing and mapping out market holes caused by your weaknesses. Instead, beat them to it by knowing your market weaknesses and what you can do to improve them. The most common weakness of small business is budget size. But that’s where imagination can be the key to overcoming money issues. Imaginative campaigns are what drives your brand strategy.

Take the Lead – read our free eBook on Creating Remarkable Web Content


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

OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


SMB Branding Help


SMB Branding HELP!

Developing your SMB branding and social media strategy is clearly not a fast easy job. It can literally take months for such a campaign to kick in. Anyone who promises overnight success is most likely a scam artist since search engines don’t guarantee results and can take months to index websites, blogs and social media. On top of that content must be comprehensive or the search engines may ignore the content. It does take quite a bit of work, but the good news is that there are plenty of inbound marketing companies to turn to for help.

Choosing the Right Inbound Marketer

Unfortunately, not every inbound marketing company has your best interests in mind, there are many that have their own best interests in mind. The internet is filled with Bring In the Clownsscam artists looking to make a quick buck and the easiest prey are newbies looking for direction. If you haven’t yet learned about how branding works online, take some time to learn the basics then choose a company that meets your checklist of requirements. This list should include affordability, flexibility, clear communication skills, white hat SEO knowledge, content development skills, social media skills, blogging skills and a successful track record.

The object of inbound marketing is to fuse the best ideas of content development with the best ideas of online marketing. This fusion is known as inbound marketing, which is a broad campaign to get people to engage with your brand online instead of bombarding them with interruptive advertising. A subset of inbound marketing is content marketing, which involves tailoring content and social media to attract users through search engines. Content marketing can also be a subset of outbound marketing, which involves reaching customers through various media exposure.

Content Development

The success of your SMB branding and social media strategies rides mostly on the quality as well as the quantity of content development, along with communication skills and SEO expertise. Online content comes in many forms beyond web pages, blogs and social media. Effective content tools that attract online surfers include videos, photos, webinars, podcasts and infographics. You can also go deeper into details with whitepapers and eBooks. Content marketing can also involve direct interaction with clients through emails.

When it comes to SMB branding and social media strategy, you should only work with companies that know a lot about your business and goals. This entire campaign hinges on product knowledge and the way it is presented to users to build trust and brand loyalty. The last thing you need is a company that only understands the tech side of the internet without much concern about your actual business. Make sure that the company can articulate your business model.


A credible inbound marketer will provide metrics that help you gauge the effectiveness of your campaign. Modern marketers will use software to measure analytics that can be summarized as metrics. An important metric for all online businesses is bounce rate, which is when a surfer visits a website then immediately leaves without further exploration. High bounce rates of 50 percent or higher need to be improved down to 20 percent or lower.

The number of visitors to your website, blog or social media profile is another universally important metric. Tracking the growth of this development provides indicators whether or not the campaign is working. Ecommerce metrics definitely matter if you are selling products online. You should also be aware of what percentage of customers disengage with your site before completing a purchase. This information will help you refine your content development, product pages, SMB branding and social media strategy.

Ian ConklinIan Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


What Is a Brand


What is a Brand?

A brand is an emotional image that combines with a logo and identity to convey a product line or business. Branding is a process shaped by the combination of your company’s communication and your market’s perception of your company. Successful branding involves getting your logo, messages and marketing materials in front of eyeballs using memorable campaigns that will stay in people’s heads. While mass marketing can be a costly gamble, developing your brand through building trust with an online community and sharing valuable insights has become essential.


A logo is a brand element. Colorful logos help attract attention, but for small businesses, expenses on print can be lowered using less than four colors. Adding a fourth color is fine if your budget allows, but complex gradients can be a distraction. Sometimes the most memorable logos are ones that use simple font as seen in the Google logo. The most important thing about a logo is that it can be easily read and understood whether it is big or small. Many popular websites feature small logos in the upper left corner. A logo over a white background is universal and easily read, whereas fancy logos over dark backgrounds are not always easy to read.


Catchy slogans and positioning statements are meant to sum up your business in a memorable way, kind of like the chorus or main hook of a hit song that stays in your mind. At one time melodic jingles were an important part of branding until they became overdone. Even if you decide not to have a slogan attached to your logo, you should still figure out a mission statement that can be summed up in five words or less. In the 1990s Apple was reborn with billboards everywhere displaying the Apple logo alongside the words “think different.” The campaign worked since it appealed to the company’s core market, which is computer users with artistic sensibilities such as graphic artists and musicians.


Developing your brand requires standing out, so it must be different from the competition. If your brand just blends in with the noise of multiple media messages it

customer service

Not the best way to differentiate your brand!

may get lost in the shuffle. Your brand needs to be associated with a unique and rewarding consumer experience. You need to establish a niche in which only your brand can be considered the top authority. Use your imagination and brainstorming techniques with colleagues to creatively describe your unique market position. From this process you can develop a list of keywords that will tell search engines and online users about your identity.


Not only does your brand need to stand out in the world of crowded messages, you need to convey why your brand is better than competitors and the value that it brings to your customers. Figure out what your product can do for certain that competing products do not deliver and then create keywords and marketing statements from those concepts. Expand on those keywords and concepts in your communication with customers on your website, blogs, social media pages, newsletters and email.

Market Leadership

Keeping promises that you make in your marketing will help establish your brand as a market leader. Use customer feedback as a tool to refine your brand. A key to market leadership is delivering consistent messages throughout various marketing channels. Nike is the best of its breed because it consistently delivers quality shoes and clothes for athletes. Developing your brand is more than just running short phrases through marketing channels. More than ever before, successful branding now involves sharing resourceful information and inviting people to join your online community.

ian_conklin2Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America. OTR Web is a Value Added Partner with HubSpot.

For all your Inbound Marketing and Website requirements Contact OTR Web.


Hashtags on Facebook Can Make You Look Silly


Hashtags on Facebook Can Make You Look Silly

The other day I saw a Facebook Page status update that really made me wonder what the person was thinking. The status update went something like this (though I have changed it a bit so the writer doesn’t “unfriend” me) – #fabulous #weather for an #afternoon #function! #functioncompanyname helped with the #finishing #touches on two #today. #fabulousfunctions #localregion.

It is hard to know where to start on this post and reminds me of the early days of search engine optimisation (SEO) where a person would stuff the page full of keywords and the engines would dutifully pull them up. Do you remember web pages and meta tags like this, “Our Super-Duper SEO company will guarantee to get you on the first page of  all search engines  with our keyword tools and key-phrase enhanced meta tags. We submit your website to 1,000’s of search engines and build reliable back-links …” and on and on it went. The search engines got smarter and learned how to dismiss this rubbish but stuffing of keywords still pops up its ugly head – as we can see in the phrase above. 

There is a huge difference between a Twitter update and a Facebook status update. They are written to often different audiences for different purposes. Why a business would have their Twitter update post automatically to their Facebook Business Page is beyond me. You post to Twitter a number of times per day and that seems like a real good way to lose your Facebook followers who will soon feel like they are being spammed to death.

The hashtag is an effective way within Twitter to group ideas BUT the Tweet itself still has to be compelling to the reader! A well written Tweet captures the readers attention and directs them to an article, website or landing page.

For example you might write something like this for your Twitter account,” http://bit.ly/15YwRKt What if we were to start a conversation instead #inboundmarketing #SEO ” 

Here we have combined an effective key phrase that directs you to an article and makes use of hashtags for anyone searching within Twitter.

Facebook however is an entirely different post –   We all know that social media is vital to promoting products and services. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, Pinterest, YouTube and so on, all provide different methods of delivering our message. The question is, are we doing it effectively? Are we just throwing up words on a page for people to read and then moving on to the next post by someone else, or are we grabbing the attention of the reader and beckoning them to be involved? Quite often I see social media being used by businesses as a form of advertising similar to print, TV, or radio. While this does get the message out on the web, it puts the ‘article’ in a box. It is closed.  What if we were to start a conversation instead?  https://www.facebook.com/otrwebsol

Social Media is important and is critical to SEO as well as and just as importantly as creating an ongoing relationship with your customers. Sure they have to find you but then they need to be compelled to interact with you as well. Contact OTR Web for an evaluation of your online marketing.

OTR Web Marketing Business Online

OTR Web – Marketing Business Online


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


Targeted Content: Lock On


You’re on our way! You have started a blog and are posting regularly on topics that are relevant to your industry. You have upgraded your web presence to a responsive site. (Most people are using mobile devices these days to gain access to the web and will make buying decisions on their mobile devices). You did not want to miss the boat on that and have potential customers go with a competitor because of the lack of convenience with your web presence! You’ve got your “Calls to Action” and “Landing Pages”; you’re ready. But, ninety days go by and you are not seeing the results you expected. Why? The content is relevant to your industry which is great, but is that content being directed to the right person?


We now need to create “Buyer Personas” and do so in an intentional manner. Buyer personas will help us write content that is more relevant to our specific clientèle – both current and future. We need to think of writing content the same way we would write a letter. The first thing we need to consider is: who are we writing to? It would be awfully difficult to write a good letter to someone when  we don’t know the first thing about them!


Who are they? How old are they? Are they married? Single? What is their income? Are they workaholics? We can ask all sorts of questions to create our fictitious customers. The more we ask, the better. All the questions we ask ourselves will help us identify these personas. After we establish who they are, we need to name them and even give them a picture. This will help us identify with them. We will view them all as people and thus treat them as such. Now what do we do with these personas?


Now we need to find people who are unbiased and fit our profiles. We need at least 20. The more we get, the better our results. We need to make sure we’ve prepared a list of open-ended questions to ask them. Once we’ve gathered all the data on all our personas, we can begin sorting through it and discovering what our target market needs.


We know who it is we want to sell our product to and what it is that they want!  We know who we are writing the letter to!  Now we can make sure our content speaks to them and satisfies their needs. Now that we’ve locked onto their needs as a customer, they will be more likely to seek us out when they are in need of the products and services we provide … because we are building a relationship with them. We understand them. Who doesn’t want to be understood?


  • Who is our ideal client?
  • Are there several?
  • What are their needs?
  • Lock on and feed them targeted content.

Post comments and ask questions relative to your business and asSocial Media is a Conversation a community we can provide input and improve together.

Colin is the Social Media and Content Marketing guru at OTR Web Solutions a web development & content marketing company since 2000, with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

If you have not yet moved to a responsive web presence  Read This Blog Post

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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.