Vesta Digital Blog

Posts Tagged ‘social tools

social bookmarkingSocial bookmarking is becoming more and more useful as consumers turn to the web to find information on products and services. It is the process of saving web pages to a public web site and tagging them with keywords.

Any visitor can search for their topic of interest at a bookmarking website using keywords, names of people, popularity ratings, and so on.

According to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Report, social bookmarking is the number one social media tool marketers want to know more about. A reported 61% of marketers wanted to learn more about sites like del.icio.us and how they can be used to help reach their audiences.

Small business owners and B2B marketers were more interested in social bookmarking tools than others surveyed, according to the report.

Why does it work?

Social bookmarking is an easy way to aggregate and categorize resourceful information. It is also extremely effective for disseminating information about your product or service to your consumer audience.

Because the person who bookmarks the page has the authority to tag it with specific keywords, anyone who searches for those keywords will be exposed to that page. This is especially effective when distributing blog posts out to the web.

Also, once a person sees a bookmark, he or she has access to seeing the other bookmarked resources tagged by the person who created it. This allows for social connections, online conversation, word of mouth marketing, and the quick and easy dissemination of information.

Why should you use it?

If you are a small business owner it is important for you to at least experiment with social bookmarking because it is absolutely rising as a trend. Social bookmarking is an activity that allows consumers to express different, personalized perspectives on the information they are exposed to.

Consumers make social connections based on common interests. If your topic of interest is sailing, for example, you may read a bookmark tagged about sailing. You may find that the person who tagged that bookmark also bookmarked a page about boat repairs. This can take you into a completely new and potentially profitable direction.

The possibilities are endless.

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MarketingFacebook has hit 500 million users and more companies are using Facebook and social media in their marketing and advertising strategies. There is a huge amount of audience reach in social media marketing, but there are also certain tactics a business should use when engaging with their customers.

Here are 3 effective tools to use for your Facebook business page.

1. Business Page

Have a business page that is separate from your personal account. It should represent your company and be designed to encourage visitors of your page to interact with other facets of your profile. It should also include a call to action and a link to your business website if you have one. You have the most control over this page. Facets include:

  • Company Info
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Links
  • Discussions
  • Updates
  • Several hundreds of optional applications

Any consumer or company can interact with you on your business page by simply clicking the “Like” button at the top of the page.

2. Facebook Groups

Groups are simple networks that allow you to build a community of supporters for your brand. They provide a Facebook marketer the use of:

  • Discussion boards
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Links

Plus, they’re free. Period. Any company can affordably and instantly network with consumers and other companies through Facebook groups.

3. Facebook Events

Facebook Events is a free application that enables you to promote marketing events. These events could include sponsored parties, product launches, or fundraisers.
Events get their own pages, like groups, that include:

  • A “wall” attendees can post comments on
  • List of invitations and RSVP’s
  • Discussions
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Links

All friends invited receive a personal notification requesting their RSVP. Facebook events are a quick and easy way to promote events to hundreds of people, monitor who will be attending, and gauge the anticipation of attendees.

These 3 basic Facebook tools provide marketers with the ability to reach their audiences at a much more personal and involved level. It allows for an audience member to feel like they are a part of their brand and share their association with other friends.

Social media marketing
is fast becoming the best way to reach consumers. It is important for a business to maintain a presence in social media and be available to consumers online. 

FacebookWith a membership of over 400 million users, Facebook is becoming increasingly important to include in a marketer’s repertoire of audience reach methods. A marketer must use the social media network to his or her advantage. Below are 4 basic necessities to perfect in order to market effectively online:

1. Profile Page

Your profile page is the personality of your Facebook presence. It is designed to encourage visitors of your page to interact with other facets of your profile, and includes a call to action. You have the most control over this page. Facets include:

  • Personal Info
  • Work Info
  • Photos
  • Several hundreds of optional applications

This kind of workspace allows you to be more personable and accessible to the average consumer. Facebook is a tool you as a marketer can use to affiliate your personal identity with your product or brand. It is about being personable and connected with the general public.

2. Facebook Groups

Groups are simple networks that allow you to build a community of supporters for your brand. They provide a Facebook marketer the use of:

  • Discussion boards
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Links

Plus, they’re free. Period. Facebook groups are a viral marketer’s dream come true.

3. Facebook Pages

Fan Pages are separate from personal profiles. They enable businesses of all sizes to create brand awareness on Facebook. Similar to groups, pages can be followed by “fans,” and allow for a community of brand supporters to grow. Facebook pages are great for small businesses to practice viral marketing. Some effective tools included on Facebook pages include:

  • HTML, Flash, or Facebook applications
  • “Bumper Stickers”
  • No limitation on the number of “fans”
  • “Fans” can share the page with their friends through different venues
  • Pages are usually created by authorized agents, creating a sense of authenticity

4. Facebook Events

Facebook Events is a free application that enables you to promote marketing events. These events could include sponsored parties, product launches, or even fundraisers.
Events get their own pages, like groups, that include:

  • A “wall” attendees can post comments on
  • Discussion
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Links

All friends invited receive a personal notification requesting their RSVP. Facebook events are quick and easy way to promote events to hundreds of people, monitor who will be attending, and gauge the anticipation of attendees.

These 4 basic Facebook tools provide marketers with the ability to reach their audiences at a much more personal and involved level. It allows for an audience member to feel like they are a part of their brand and share their association with other friends.

BlogThe blogging movement has grown tremedously since businesses begin to realize the benefits of blogging. Business blogs are sweeping the business community. Blogs are an excellent method to share a company’s expertise, build additional web traffic, and connect with potential customers. Discover what a business blog can do for you company:

What is a Blog?

A blog (web log) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

The boom of weblogs happened in 1999 when several companies & developers made easy blogging software and tools. Since 1999, the number of blogs on the Internet has exploded from a few thousand to over 100 million.

In addition to 2 major categories (personal and business), there are different types of blogs, such as:

  • Artblog
  • Photoblog
  • Mini blo
  • Video blog
  • Audio blog (commonly known as podcasting).

Although there a number of blogging platforms available such as TypePad, WordPress, BlogSmith etc., not all offering features to compliment your social media efforts.

IntelBuilder Social Media Platform offers a Blog that is not only part of your website (unlike WordPress), but also offers unique features such as social bookmarks, comments, tiny URLs, PDF generation and syndication feeds. Do your research before you choose a blogging platform to operate your business blog.

10 Strategic Benefits of Blogging

Blog can easily become one of the most powerful marketing weapons you will have in your arsenal. Google, MSN and Yahoo give more weight to well-linked blogs. A business blog has the ability to inform your customers of any changes, new products, latest offers, reviews and reports in the timeliest matter. This, in turn, can lead to direct sales. If you haven’t started a business blog yet, perhaps this list from Toolbox for IT will motivate you:

  1. Search Engine Marketing.
  2. Direct Communications.
  3. Brand Building.
  4. Competitive Differentiation.
  5. Relational Marketing.
  6. Exploit the Niches.
  7. Media & Public Relations.
  8. Position You as an Expert.
  9. Reputation Management.
  10. Low cost.

E-CheatingEveryone is online these days but not everyone is online for the right reasons. There is a new marriage wrecker today – it’s called “e-cheating.” Although e-cheating started with students buying their homework on the Internet (there is even an e-cheat website, it has now become the word-of-the-day when someone in a relationship is cheating on the Internet. It has grown bigger with social media networks like Facebook and it is causing the breakup of many marriages. How can you tell if your spouse is having an online affair? Sometimes a marriage is in trouble even before e-cheating begins but here are five good clues:

1. Obsessive or Compulsive Behavior

Your spouse or partner spends too much time on the Internet. It has become an addiction. Computers are excellent tools for paying bills, buying products and staying in touch with family and friends. We can not live without our modern technological tools. But look at the way kids behave with their text messaging. They will go without dinner just to keep up with their friends. Does your spouse act this way around his or her laptop? If so, find out why the need is so great before it’s too late.

2. Defensive Behavior

Your spouse or partner acts defensive when he or she is asked to stop. “When are you coming to bed?” “Can’t you do that later?” “Why are you taking so long?” Have you ever asked these kind of questions? What kind of answers do you get? Does they sound like lies? “I have to finish my business proposal.” “I need to pay another bill.” An evasive or defensive pattern of behavior is another good warning sign. You need to find out why.

3. Secretive Behavior

Your partner abruptly shuts off the computer or closes a window when you get too close. He or she clears away all internet history after chat sessions or installs software to automatically get rid of evidence. This is abnormal behavior and it is an obvious warning sign. Your spouse may be e-cheating. Maybe your spouse is looking at pornography and that is the reason for panic. Pornography is another issue altogether and it has been discussed in many good articles.

4. Double Life

Does your spouse need his or her “personal space” on the computer? Is he or she leading a double life? Are passwords, instant messages, friend lists and emails being concealed from you? Is there a reluctance to a share password? Why all the secrecy and lack of trust? These are good questions and they need to be answered. The act of hiding information is deceptive by nature and could be another indication that your spouse or partner is e-cheating.

5. Night Owl Syndrome

Your spouse or partner uses the computer after you have gone to bed. When you wake up in the middle of the night is your spouse by your side or is he or she in front of the computer? If this becomes a pattern, you need to be concerned. While work demands a degree of commitment, working late into the night, night-after-night, is a sure sign that your partner or spouse is e-cheating.

These are a few of the signs of “e-cheating.” We wrote about some of the ways you can prevent this problem and save your marriage or relationship in an earlier article:

RestaurantsThere are many good reasons why restaurants, taverns and bars should be using social media marketing. It is a great way to interact with new customers and keep up with existing ones. It drives traffic to your website. It is much less expensive than traditional advertising mediums like television, radio and print.

Stacey Kane, Director of Marketing for California Tortilla, says: “For smaller restaurant chains like us, social media is an easy and inexpensive way to reach our customers. It is a way to reach people instantaneously. There is no big backup on producing artwork or a radio spot. You have the idea and you can send it out.”

Here is a recipe for social media success:

Build Your Community

Building a good community is like preparing a good meal. You start with the right ingredients. Open a Facebook account – the world’s largest site for social media marketing. Facebook has become a digital calling card for many restaurants. It allows you to network and stay in touch with your current customers and make new ones.
Twitter is the other good social media site for restaurants. It asks the question, “What are you doing?” Write short one-liners announcing new services, specials and menu features. Start conversations. Be an authentic voice of your restaurant. Try to blend humor with your message. Don’t over do it. Go with a natural flow and you will fit right in.

Pay Attention to What People Are Saying

Now that you have a community, listen to what your fans and friends say. What is their favorite food? What was their favorite restaurant experience? Who is their favorite waiter or waitress? When you participate with your fans on social media platforms, you make them feel wanted and you make them feel at home.

Pay Attention to Your Competition

Keep an eye on what your competition is doing. Where are they listed? Who are their fans on Facebook? What kind of promotions do they offer? If your competitor has a website, check inbound links for their business directories and then add yourself to the same directories. Make sure your restaurant is on Google Maps, too. You can do this by signing up at Google’s Local Business Center.

Promotions and Contests

Nothing beats a promotion or contest. Create promotions regularly and then give them an event name. When you tie-in Facebook Events for your promotions, they are automatically promoted on your Facebook Page. Post lunch or dinner specials for your restaurant. Promote monthly wine tastings if you own a wine shop. If you own a bar, create a Facebook event each week for happy hour. California Tortilla has an exciting contest called “Secret Password Day” – a password is released on a specific day and people use the password for free food and items:
Discounts are a great way to endear yourself with your social community. When you give them special coupons, you are not only telling them you are a good restaurant, but you are a good person, too.

Building a community around your restaurant by leveraging these social media tools takes time and dedication. If you are able to participate and add value for the members of your community, you will succeed in social media marketing and fill up your tables as well. Bon appetit!

Use cautionAs millions of people flock to social networks like Facebook and Twitter to chat, share and connect and reconnect with friends, businesses have the chance to tune in to billions of digital conversations. The phenomenal popularity of social media presents a tantalizing opportunity for companies big and small. They can pitch a product, listen to customer feedback and ask for ideas. If they work it right, customers might even produce companies’ advertising for them and promote products or services with friends for free.

With these vast opportunities come risks. Employees who are encouraged to tap into social networking sites can fritter away hours or give away company secrets. Even worse, with one misstep or poorly written comment, a business can quickly find themselves victims of the forces they were trying to master. Thousands of bloggers attacked Johnson & Johnson’s Motrin last year because of an ad they found demeaning to mothers. Recently, Nestle found themselves on the defense for something they said on Facebook.

Toyota Backfires

Toyota had a disastrous social media promotion for their Matrix vehicle last year. Their social media team created a campaign based on the pranks of the MTV show Punk’d. The idea: a prospective buyer of a Matrix would single out a friend to be the target of a prank. The promise: a bit of fear, lots of laughs, and maybe a groundswell of free social media marketing.

Amber Duick, one of the targets of the campaign, received a series of emails from a fictitious British soccer ruffian named Sebastian Bowler. He said he was coming to visit her along with his pit bull. He had a MySpace page where he bragged about “drinking alcohol to excess” and participating in riots. One email Duick received was a fake bill for damage to a hotel room wrecked by Bowler. Duick filed a $10 million lawsuit in October and said she slept with a machete by her bed to protect herself from the hooligan.

Social Media Snake Oil Salesmen

Have you been offered some social media snake oil yet? Over the past five years, an entire industry of consultants has grown to help companies navigate the world of social media. Hordes of marketing “experts” are promoting the value of social networks. Many of these self-proclaimed gurus are refugees from the real estate bust. They produce best-selling books and give out advice for thousands of dollars a day. These consultants preach the power of social media and cast themselves as triumphant case studies of successful networking and self-branding.

The problem is that many of these would-be experts are leading clients astray. Consultants often use “buzz” as their dominant currency and success is defined more often by numbers of followers, fans or YouTube hits rather than traditional measures like return on investment. This approach could sour companies on social media and the opportunities it represents. Critics complain that many of the new experts have adopted an orthodoxy that provides little flexibility for differing situations—or outcomes. They follow a rigid gospel: be transparent, engage with your customers, break down silos. But these inflexible guidelines don’t always make business sense.

How Do You Measure Results?

“There is this default assumption that return on investment is the correct measure for everything,” says Susan Etlinger, senior vice-president at Horn Group, a San Francisco consultancy. “Everything needs to monetize within 12 weeks, so we can understand that we’re successful. But frequently the thing they’re measuring is misleading.”

Think back to the dot-com boom a decade ago. Soaring valuations were based initially on promise and hype. In early 2000, when investors started focusing on scarce profits, the market collapsed. But many companies came to the wrong conclusions. Believing the fall of a hyped market was a sign of the failed promise of the Internet, they drew back on their investments. This happened just as the technology was on the verge of living up to much of its promise, dominating global communications, transforming entire industries—and spawning social media.

As with any new form of communication, there are going to be mistakes and missteps. Be wary of snake oil salesmen. Be transparent but don’t give away company secrets. Don’t ignore the harder-to-quantify dividends of social media like trust and commitment. And don’t back away from social media just because you can’t see results in the first 12 weeks. This is a brand new frontier where the saying “patience is a virtue” is more important than ever.

You can read all of Stephen Baker’s excellent article by going here.