Monday, February 28, 2011

Promote Your Social Media Pages with a Custom Email Signature

A great way to promote your social media pages is to include a link to each in all of your email messages. I see many emails with a signature like this:

Visit my Facebook page at  <a href="">

This is fine, but becomes a little awkward if you wanted to include links to multiple platforms. I currently use Facebook and Twitter, I certainly wish to promote this blog as well as our newsletter. That would be a lot of junk at the end of my emails.

Wouldn't it be great to use small social media icons in your emails which link to your pages? Easier said than done. While Outlook Express allows for email signatures, it doesn't make it easy to create this type of custom signature.  I played with this and finally came up with the following signature I can automatically insert at the bottom of all emails:

In an actual email, you can click on any icon and be taken to that page. I could have used an icon for my webpage, but I prefer to use the url for it.

How to create a social media icon signature ...

Please note ... it REALLY helps if you have a bit of experience with HTML code. Also, my instructions are for Outlook Express users. I'm sure this can be done with other email programs, but I can't spend the next month trying to figure them all out.

1. Get the web addresses of your social media pages together in one place and VERIFY they actually work.

2. Get you social media icons together in one place. I opted to upload mine to my server. For a limited time, I will allow you to "pull" the graphics from my site, but you REALLY need to get your own. At some point, I'll change my icon locations and you'll be displaying blanks. No fun!

3. Copy and paste the following HTML code into a blank TXT formated (not RTF) Wordpad document.

<font face="Verdana" size="2">Thank you!</font>
<a href="">
<img border="0" src="" width="32" height="32"></a>
<img border="0" src="" width="32" height="32"></a>
<a href="YOURBLOGURL">
<img border="0" src="" width="32" height="32"></a>

<a href="http://www.YOURNEWSLETTERURL">
<img border="0" src="" width="40" height="32">

4. Change the information in this code to reflect your name, site name, site url, and social media platform page urls. Delete any forms you do not have, such as the "newsletter".

5. Save the file as an HTML document (not .txt) somewhere on your computer (remember this location).

6. Go to Outlook Express, select "tools", select "options", select "signatures", and select "new". You should see a new entry appear like "Signature #1". Click on that entry once to highlight it.  Click the "rename" button  and rename the file to something convenient like "Social Media Signature". We are almost done. Now drop down to "Edit Signature" and click the "File" button. The "browse" window will become available. Browse to the location where you save the Wordpad file and click on the file. This should save the location to the Edit signature box for access. Click "apply". Done ... yeah!.

7. Try it out. Create a new blank email, click "insert", click "signature", select the signature name you previously assigned, and your custom icon-rich signature should be inserted into your message. Send this email to yourself, and click the icons  to make sure the links work.

8. You may need to fine tune the Wordpad document to get any bugs out which normally involve bad urls. Anytime I change the document, I save as a slightly different file name which requires revising the file name accessed in the  Outlook Express signature file. Otherwise, I could not get OE to insert the updated signature.

The email signature takes a little time and patience to setup and perfect, but it really is slick looking.

If you are a current Craft Site Medic client, I can help you get this set up if your will provide me with your information and urls.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Social Media Focus

I read an article the other day stating that social media activity (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.) now "trump" the importance of  links when it comes to online business success. Yes, a good search engine keyword position is still critical in attracting customer to your website, but social media is fast becoming a dominate force. Plus, Google and Bing now factor social media activity in their keyword position algorithms. Thus Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other S.M. platforms  are becoming a "must" for any online small business.

We will be posting a series of articles with  hints, tips, and general discussions of how to make social media work for your small business. Every few days we'll cover a topic that can help you gain more follwers, covert followers to shoppers, and shoppers to buyers. We'll help you work more efficiently and more effectively.

Stay tuned ...