most recent entry:
posted: Oct 24, 2013 / by: tholley

social media success story

Whew!  It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to update our blog and podcast.  It’s much more fun helping clients, but no excuse!  Today we published a podcast interview with Laurie Gonyea, at the Feel Good Yarn Company.  We’ve been working with Laurie since the beginning of this year, and she’s had major success leveraging social media to fuel her Kickstarter campaign.  By using social media she was able to raise over $10,000 to grow her business! 

It’s a great success story and we’d for you to hear about it.

Listen to her social media success story when you have quick moment!

Now back to work!

 

 

Read this post >>
all entries:

Timeline for Facebook Business Pages: 5 Quick Tips to Get You Ready

posted:Mar 17 2012 by: tholley

Mock up originally posted at mashable.com

Facebook’s Timeline.  It’s coming, and there’s a lot of opportunities for your business to leverage the platform.

Here are five tips that will help get you started right away:

Brand your cover photo.   The cover photo will serve as the major focus and backdrop on your profile.  The size of the photo is approximately 851 x 315 pixels.  Anything smaller or larger will be re-sized by Facebook and this may affect the quality.  There are countless ways to brand your Facebook cover.  Jump in the sandbox and have some fun, but beware of a few Timeline Facebook business page do’s and don’ts.

Highlight your best content.  Timeline makes it easier to showcase older content.  Do it!  You’ll be able to control what to show and what stays hidden. Bonus:  Things you want to show can be magnified by clicking the star in the top right corner of the post.  You can also “pin” a post and have it show at the top for seven days.  Tip: Show and/or magnify your most interesting and engaging content and simply hide the rest.

Show important information in the small boxes under the cover profile.  After the box with photos, you’ll be able to select what goes in the boxes underneath the cover photo.  If you are currently using a Welcome tab, this is where you can put this link.  You can also create an app for just about anything – videos, email opt-in pages, etc.  Check out how a company is using a Facebook app and video to market an eBook about  how to let your hair go gray.

Work those verbs.  The new profile makes it easier for you to express more of what you’re doing.  Did you just received an award, finish some business travel or hire a new employee?  Use the action verbs over your status update to express more of what you’re up to.

Put the Milestones feature to work – With Timeline, you’ll be able to change the dates of posts and add significant events to the timeline.

The countdown to Timeline begins.  On March 30 2012, all business pages will be automatically converted.

We would love to hear what you think of the new look and functionality.  Leave us a comment!

Is your online business presence stuck in the last decade, desperately needing a makeover?   It all begins with a conversation. Contact us today!

 

 

 

Read this post >>


Marketing and Technology: Are you Keeping Up or Falling Behind?

posted:Jun 29 2011 by: tholley

Read this post >>


Why WordPress?

posted:May 10 2011 by: tholley

There’s a long list of reasons why a WordPress blog is essential to social media marketing campaigns.  Here are the three reasons that just about everybody agrees on.

Custom Versatility

WordPress offers plugins for just about everything.  Custom SEO, analytics, social media management – you name a service and WordPress probably has multiple plugins that do it.  The incredibly large selection makes it easy for users to create truly unique, customized blogs.  It’s kind of like the new smart phone adage going around: “There’s an app for that.”

Power and Ease

Sometimes you open a holiday gift and, while it looks really cool, you set it aside immediately because you know that nothing productive can happen until after you spend a good hour or two reading the instruction manual.  WordPress isn’t like that.  In fact, it’s known for being easy-to-use and having a clean and simple user interface.  Day-to-day posting is a cinch.

Free

Finally, the WordPress software is free.  If you don’t need any of the available upgrades, you’ll never have to punch in your credit card number.  Speaking of, WordPress is also widely acclaimed for its privacy and security.  Free peace of mind?  Yes, please!

Read more at New Media Profit Path.

Read this post >>


Five Ways to Improve Trust with Your Customers

posted:May 3 2011 by: tholley

It’s one thing for a business to create buzz via social media, but it’s another thing to build an online network of trust and respect with your customers.  That type of connection is the difference between one-hit wonder promotions and long-lasting brand loyalty.  Here are five ways you can develop trust with your customers.

  1. Give and take. Communication is a two-way street.  Maintain a dialogue with your customers and encourage them to participate in discussions.  Interactivity can be addictive.
  2. Become irreplaceable. Don’t assume that your product, service or expertise is what your customers want.  Find ways to demonstrate to your audience that your business is one of a kind and vital for consumer satisfaction.
  3. Listen and learn. Pay attention to the good and the bad when followers comment on your blog or other social media.
  4. Give your audience some credit. Present them with substantial topics of discussion. By presenting them with content that actually matters, your followers will feel respected, and perhaps return the favor.
  5. Go offline. Be as charming in the real world as you are in the digital world.  Networking successfully online is not the same as winning over a customer face to face.  An actual person with a real smile is easier to trust than someone on the Internet.

More Reading:
Got Trust?
Building Trust: Social Media Marketing Resolutions for 2011

Read this post >>


Developing Social Media Guidelines for Your Employees

posted:Apr 26 2011 by: tholley

Businesses face a challenge when it comes to balancing employee participation in social media with the risks that come with it.  It would seem oppressive to require that employees abstain from social media.  Yet without a set of rules, who’s to say they won’t reflect poorly on you?

Social media guidelines for employees are important for this very reason.  Here are a few general guidelines that other companies are using that you can take and modify for your own business.

• Represent respectfully.  Be conscious that anything you post reflects upon the business.
• Be yourself.  When representing the business, include your position so people have an idea of who they’re listening to.
• Be conversational but also professional.  Keep your public and private lives separate.
• Comprehend the context of social media situations.  Gauge the tone of a network before jumping into a potential lion’s den.
• Respond to ideas, not people.  It’s easy to take comments personally, but in representing a brand in an industry, stick with topics, not individuals.
• If you do respond to an individual, be respectful and don’t do anything discriminatory, whether cultural, political or otherwise.
• Know what you are talking about.  Cite sources if you attempt to defend an idea and don’t make promises you don’t have the authority to keep.
• Pay attention to copyrights, fair use and disclosure laws.

More Resources:
Forbes’ A Corporate Guide for Social Media
Search Engine Journal’s Why Employees Need Social Media Guidelines
Online Database of Social Media Practices
IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines

Read this post >>


Anti-Time-Suck Tips for Small Businesses Using Social Media

posted:Apr 5 2011 by: tholley


You log onto into your Facebook account at 10 p.m.  You scroll through your news feed, update your status… The next thing you know, the clock reads “3 a.m.”  Oops.  That 8 a.m. conference call is going to hurt.

Social media sites can be addicting and losing track of time is easy.  Here are three basic ways that you can make your small business’s social media marketing more efficient.

A Clear Map Makes Navigation Easy

The editorial calendar is your best friend when it comes to organizing your social media marketing plan.  By establishing a schedule that dictates how often you post to your blog and reminds you to catch up with your Twitter and Facebook page, you reduce the amount of time you spend on social media in one sitting.  An editorial calendar also serves as a task to-do list.  Aside from sporadic whims and breaking news, most postings can now be foreseen, planned and executed in advance.  The more items ticked off of your checklist, the better.

Aggregation, Your New BFF

So you’ve finished your weekly blog post and published it.  Done, right?  Not unless your Facebook, Twitter, etc. are linked to the blog.  If they’re not, chances are you’ll need to spend another 15 minutes logging in and out of these different sites to update them individually.  A diverse set of social media marketing tools is important for accessing various audiences, but that doesn’t mean you need to be pulling double or triple duty.  RSS feeds and dashboard-style setups are a social media marketing practitioner’s best friends.

Good Leaders Know How to Delegate

If you’ve been executing your social media marketing plan all by yourself, we don’t blame you – it’s definitely fun to be hands on with social media.  However, keeping up with different platforms can grow and develop into a full-time job.  Don’t be afraid to have other team members contribute to your blog or let them post updates to Facebook and Twitter.  Over time, stars may emerge.  Who knew Linda from accounting had so many hilarious jokes to tell in 140 characters or less?

Additional Reading:
How Businesses Save Time with Social Media Management Tools
10 Essential Social Networking Tools to Save You Time

Read this post >>


Taste Communities Take Over: Social Media & Gender

posted:Mar 8 2011 by: tholley

When you think about online communities, what do you picture?  If we took a social media “tribe,” as Seth Godin calls them, and physically gathered the group in an empty room, what faces would we find?  Is everyone in the room the same sex, race or age?

In December, social media researcher Johanna Blakley presented a bold argument at TEDWomen.  She suggested that social media could lead to the end of gender and that this can drastically change the way marketers target their audience.

Traditionally, media companies could easily divide its audience into clear demographics.  Then they would use this data and cater to the segment of the population they appealed to.

But what happens online?  Not everyone is open about their age, race, etc. on the Internet.  And even when they are, Blakley points out, there’s no telling whether or not the information is true:

“With online networking tools, it’s much easier for us to escape some of our demographic boxes.  We’re able to connect with people quite freely and to redefine ourselves online.  And we can lie about our age online too pretty easily.  We can also connect with people based on our very specific interests.”

Blakley points toward the new way people segment themselves, by shared interests and values, as the new demographics in business advertising and marketing.  Rather than targeting women, the 18-24 age range, Hispanics or any other gender demographic, we need to look for “taste communities” when marketing via social media.

“Imagine a media atmosphere that isn’t dominated by lame stereotypes about gender and other demographic characteristics,” Blakley requested.  “Can you even imagine what that looks like?”

Depending on what business you are in, the room that you fill with your online followers may or may not look the way you expect.  Social media can open that door and introduce you to an untapped market.

Read this post >>


QR Codes: Breathing New Life into the Point-and-Click

posted:Feb 15 2011 by: tholley

There are few technological advances more entertaining and ingenious than the point-and-click functionality.  You move your mouse over a button, click—and voila!  Something happens.

The world of photography depends on the same idea.  You find the view you want, and click—a memory is recorded.

Quick response codes, or QR codes, are equally fast, fun and easy.  And if you have a camera phone capable of downloading a simple app, then you can scan a QR code.

Physically, they are two-dimensional matrix barcodes that look similar to traditional product barcodes, except instead of a rectangular collection of vertical lines, QR codes are square and appear pixelated.  QR codes can be placed anywhere, and when you point your smartphone at a code and click… that’s right—magic.

A quick response code scan can result in something as simple as raw text information (company names, product/service descriptions, prices, etc.) to routing your phone to a new wireless network or opening a fresh landing page in your phone’s browser.  It’s a mobile marketing tool that’s highly interactive and convenient for the consumer.

Holding a camera phone up to a poster, billboard or even business card and taking a picture of it is a familiar feeling.  What’s new about QR codes is where that arrangement of little squares will take you next.  The list of creative ways you can use QR codes for work and play seems to be endless, as exemplified by Dan Smigrod’s “101 Uses for QR Codes.”

But for now, here are five basic ways you and your small business can put these codes to work according to ReadWriteBiz:

  1. Turn foot traffic into web traffic by getting potential customers out in the street onto your home page.
  2. Build up your social media following by linking them to your Facebook page, Twitter feed or LinkedIn profile.  From there, they can like, follow or recommend you as they please.
  3. Give the age-old business card a face-lift.  Instead of carrying around your card for hours and having to manually type your company’s web address, now you can say, “Here, scan my card!” and an instant connection is made.
  4. Bridge the gap between print and web advertising.  By placing a QR code on a print ad, readers can jump from your print identity to your online presence in a snap.
  5. Unlike photography, where you generally get what you see, QR codes offer an element of surprise.  Games such as scavenger hunts take full advantage of the interactivity offered by QR codes.

Setting up your own code is easy enough.  There are a number of services that will generate a code for you.  Social QR Code is one of them.  They’ll do it for free and are also geared toward the social media experience.

There are dozens of QR code-reading apps available (NeoReader, Optiscan and QuickMark to name a few).  But many smartphones these days come with scanners built in.  It’s as simple as running the app and snapping a photo of the QR code just as you would any other image—and poof!  The code has transported you from the physical world to the digital one.

Read this post >>


Question: What is Quora?

posted:Feb 8 2011 by: tholley

Answer: Quora is a question-and-answer service that debuted to the public in June 2010 and has since been dubbed “social media’s new darling.”

This is how the site defines itself:

“Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it.  The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.”

Quora’s popularity grew exponentially at the end of last year.  Its insistence on maintaining high-quality content while still encouraging a participation-based community differentiates the site from Yahoo! Answers and Answers.com.

Here’s how it works.  After creating a free Quora account with your e-mail and password, you can browse the site’s vast list of topics by “following” them.  You ask questions by typing them into the bar at the top of the screen.  (Click “Add Question.”  Your first time will require a quality-control grammar quiz.)  You can find and answer other people’s questions by using the same search bar.  (Instead of pressing “enter” or clicking “Add Question,” use the drop-down menu—the last option serves as your “search” button.)

Quora’s answer ratings depend on user votes.  By “upvoting” or “downvoting” different answers to a question, better answers appear higher on the list.  Eventually, the best answers are gathered at the top of the page.  You can also create “Answer Summaries.”

Here are business-related tips Quora users themselves deem great ways to utilize the site:

  • Become an expert and gain a following. Not only is responding to Quora questions helpful to those asking them, but the better your answer, the more people will take an interest in you and your business, improving public image and driving traffic your way.
  • Network. Joining the community is a great way to meet people with similar interests.  These connections have the potential to develop into lasting business relationships outside of Quora.
  • Take the pulse of your target audience. What do they look for in the products or services your business provides?  Better yet, what are they saying about you?  If questions are asked specifically about your company, who better to answer than you?
  • Keep the enemy close. What are people saying about your competitors?  If Quora users have commented on something they like or don’t like about your competition, those are notes worth taking.
  • Meet the press. Because of its high quality standards, Quora has already won the attention of many business and tech journalists.  It has the potential to eventually become a mainstream media hotspot where you could benefit from being seen and heard.

For more tips, read “9 Ways to Get More Out of Quora” at Mashable.

At first, there was a misconception that Quora should be compared to Twitter.  Not so.  While the format of Quora can be compared to Twitter in some ways (following topics, a home page feed of Q&As), their functions are quite different.  Quora’s function is much more similar to Wikipedia’s, with the allure being that experts respond to topics personally, trumping anyone else’s response via a yea-or-nay voting system similar to Digg’s.

Quora’s user interface can only be best described the same way its About section defines its service: “continually improving.”  But the sheer abundance of information from expert sources makes up any confusion in navigation, which we can only hope will be restructured in due time.  Quora is a fresh and knowledge-driven resource that has quality content and a lot of potential.

Read this post >>


LinkedIn’s New Company Pages: More Marketing Tools for Your Business

posted:Feb 1 2011 by: tholley

LinkedIn's own Company Page - New features in the Products & Services tab include image banners, video, product information, recommendations and more.

In November, LinkedIn added major new features to its Company Pages.  Not only do the new enhancements give businesses new tools for engaging different audiences and B2B marketing, but they also provide companies with methods of monitoring their success.  There is now a Products & Services section, new multimedia and profile analytics.

Products & Services

Before the revamp, LinkedIn Company Pages allowed businesses to include their logo, a summary, connections and employment information under two tabs: Overview and Careers.  Now LinkedIn has added a third tab: Products & Services.

The new space allows companies to upload images and descriptions of products and services they provide—essentially free advertising.  Businesses can even attach special offers or coupons to each item.  In addition, LinkedIn now offers a self-service tool for campaign creation, which is basically an affordable way to advertise on other LinkedIn pages that harness traffic back to the company’s page.

Visitors to a Company Page can also write recommendations for products.  This feature gives consumers a chance to interact with the business.  Don’t worry, the page administrator is the one who ultimately chooses which recommendations appear.  But if you have a strong product, great customer reviews can only help.  Just look at the Volkswagen Vento on VW India’s profile.  It boasts more than 800 recommendations.

Multimedia

LinkedIn’s new Company Pages give businesses the power to add flair to their profiles.  One addition that companies can add to their pages are rotating banners.  Three large image banners that visitors “slide” through can range from special deals to spotlight products, etc.

The freedom to upload anything from a simple photo to a visually stunning illustration gives every Company Page a unique identity right off the bat.  Each banner also serves as an external link that can take visitors outside of LinkedIn.  Samsung and AT&T are just a few companies that have utilized this colorful marketing tool.

Each tab of a Company Page can also now hold a YouTube video.  Adding a promotional video is as easy as copying the link.  Adam Kleinberg, co-founder and CEO of Traction, said the following about LinkedIn’s new YouTube capability:

“When done well, video is a powerful tool to convey your message to customers.  This is a huge opportunity to engage people in a contextually relevant manner.”

Analytics

The new Products & Services tab is primarily a tool for marketing to potential customers, professionals and other businesses.  In fact, companies can also create custom profiles for select audiences.

LinkedIn recognized the need for tools to measure the effectiveness of a company’s marketing strategies.  For this, there is the brand-new Analytics tab.  The tools here track how many page views a business has garnered, what kind of professionals have visited the page and how these numbers compare with similar companies.

Is your business LinkedIn?  And if so, have you made the most of the new profile features?

If not, consider taking a note from Dell’s chief marketing officer Paul-Henri Ferrand, who guest blogged for LinkedIn in December, writing:

“At Dell, we see this shift towards social commerce as an incredible opportunity to continue building more powerful relationships with our customers.  …  Our new Company Page on LinkedIn reiterates our commitment of participation in leading social platforms.”

For more ways to strengthen your marketing strategies on LinkedIn, read Kleinberg’s full “How To: Optimize Your Company’s LinkedIn Profile” at Mashable.  And check out LinkedIn’s overview of the new Analytics tab.

Read this post >>


Page 1 of 712345...Last »