On the bounce report, it seems like all bounces are list when you go to the page but the drop down to the right says recommended for removal. When you click that the list actually changes to show those that are actually recommended. It's a bit confusing. the drop down should read "all bounce types" at the start.
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Ever wonder if you should try Facebook ads? Looks like now would be a great time.
Experts agree that it’s time to start thinking long-term and move beyond just "Likes" and followers.
Could your online reputation hurt your business? A new report says yes!
All this and more in this week’s hot topics.
1. Facebook Launches Contest for Small Business Owners Would you like to win up to $10,000 in Facebook advertising for your small business? Well, you’re in luck. If your small business’s Facebook Page has at least 50 Likes, you can apply to get $50 in free ads. Facebook will give you an additional $100 if you add 100 more Likes to your Page before April 1, 2012. If your business is one of the top 10 Pages to gain the most Likes, you could win $10,000 more in free ads. Sweet! Enter the Facebook Small Business Boost contest.
Bottom Line: If you’ve been wondering if Facebook ads could work for you, this is the perfect opportunity to find out for free. And you can bet we’ll be here to help you. Stay tuned for a brand new look to the blog and a bunch of tips to help you get more Likes, more shares, and more business with Facebook. How’s that for timing? Be sure to apply for the Facebook contest now.
2. Social Media Marketing: Measuring the Impact for Real Social media marketing experts are pushing for results beyond just Likes and followers in 2012. A recent survey of over 700 marketers noted the long-term benefits of engaging with customers on Facebook: new customer recruitment, higher conversion rates, and more frequent purchases.
Bottom Line: The key to moving beyond Likes is thinking long-term and using social media sites such as Facebook to help you achieve measurable business goals. When you start with these goals in mind, you’ll find your actions take on more meaning. Those actions will help you to reach those goals more easily.
3. Study: 69 Percent Access the Mobile Internet Daily Google released a report indicating that 69% of U.S. mobile users access the internet on their phones daily. The report also shows that in every market studied, mobile phone penetration is higher than PC or laptop ownership. This confirms that mobile internet usage will one day trump PC usage. (Actually, that day may be today.)
Bottom Line: Mobile ownership and usage to access the internet is real. As you build your business, include plans that take advantage of this ever-growing use of mobile. How can customers use their phones to interact act with you? And if they do, will they be greeted by mobile friendly pages and applications? Let’s hope so.
4. Direct and Digital Outlook for 2012 Cautiously Optimistic Things looked pretty good in 2011 as analysts saw digital channels continue to increase their share of marketing spend. Direct mail also experienced a 2% growth in 2011 and is expected to grow by the same amount this year. Marketing spend on social, search, and mobile are also expected to increase significantly this year. In addition, 52% of companies in direct and digital marketing plan to add staff in the first quarter of 2012.
Bottom Line: The digital space continues to grow and create new jobs. We agree with Bruce Biegel, managing director at marketing consultancy Winterberry Group, when he says, “Marketing challenges remain in [delivering] the right message to the right people on the right device.” This is the same challenge for small businesses as they compete for attention via email and social channels. Be sure to listen carefully to the feedback you receive from customers so you can form messages that connect with and engage them.
5. Why Online Reputation Matters to Small Business A new report shows how important the online reputation of a company is to its bottom line. When consumers learn that a product they like is made by a company they have a negative relationship with, 96% of consumers took some type of action. These actions include:
40% stopped buying the product
18% told others not to buy the product
17% made negative comments about the product or company to others
Bottom Line: As more and more people voice their opinions online through social word of mouth, online reviews, and other content, it’s important that you encourage customers to share their positive experiences with your business. As people turn to online search to help them make a decision, the things they find often become a deciding factor. By also participating online, you give customers a glimpse at the people behind your business. This helps increase the odds of people finding these interactions when they search, which in turn, increases the odds of people liking, trusting and doing business with your company.
What are your thoughts on this week’s hot topics? Share them in the comments below.
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Thanks for the comment.
I would hope that with Twitter's growth that they are working on fixing the capacity issues. Although I haven't had much trouble lately.
You can always follow along here re: what's happening with the service: http://status.twitter.com/
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Whenever I get asked how to make the most of Twitter, I start by saying, “The first thing you need to do is cut down on the noise so you can focus on making connections that will move you toward your goals.”
How do you do that? You do it by creating lists.
Lists allow you to organize Twitter users into groups so you see only the tweets of the people you put on the List.
I go on to suggest creating three lists to start, naming them: Peers, Pros and Patrons. (Hooray alliteration!)
Here’s why each of these lists are important for moving you toward your goals:
Peers – This list would contain people within your industry that are at about the same level as you. These could be people you already have strategic partnerships with, or people you'd like to partner with. These relationships can prove extremely valuable as you move up in the ranks with your business.
Pros – This list is for the experts or thought leaders in your industry, or the people with businesses at a level you’d like to reach. Use this list to monitor how they’re using social media or what they're talking about. What can you apply to your business?
Patrons – This list would contain the people who are already customers or clients, or people you've deemed likely to buy, donate, or volunteer. Watch this list to identify their interests, keep an eye out for any questions being asked that you could answer, and monitor for customer feedback (positive or negative) that you can respond to. Expand on your answers with your own content to drive potential customers to your website.
Once you have these lists in place you can start identifying the people you should add to them. To start this is as simple as adding the people you’ve indentified as fitting into one of these categories. As you monitor Twitter and follow the discussions, you’ll organically find new people to add to these Lists.
So how do you create a list? Let me show you step-by-step.
Step 1: Make sure you’re logged into your Twitter account. Once you’re logged-in, click on your username above “View my profile page” in the top left corner.
Step 2: Click on “Lists” in the left-hand column below your profile information.
Step 3: Click the “Create list” button at the top of the right-hand column.
Step 4: In the “Create a new list” window, enter the name of your list, a description if you want, set the list to private (this way only you see the list and others won’t be able to subscribe to it), and then click the “Save list” button.
Step 5: Add Twitter people to your list. You’ll be brought to the page for your new list. In the right-hand column you can search for users you’d like to add. Enter the person’s name or Twitter username if you know it, then click “Search.” I’m going to search for our managing editor, Martin Lieberman.
Locate the correct account from the search results, then click on the little person silhouette to bring up a menu of options. Click “Add or remove from lists.”
In the “Your lists” window, check the lists you’d like to add the person to.
Once the list is checked that person is added and you can click anywhere off the pop-up window to close it.
Repeat these steps to create new Lists.
To view your list, follow steps 1 and 2. You’ll then see only the tweets from those people you’ve put on the list.
What about when you find new people to add to the list?
Just click on their names to bring up a pop-up window with their information. Click the silhouette and then “Add or remove from lists” to add them as you did in Step 5.
How to easily monitor your new lists
Now you can log-in to Twitter and bypass all the noise by going directly to your lists. Or, if you want to take this a step further, you can sign-up for NutshellMail and customize your list settings to receive an email digest of these tweets on a schedule that you set up. Awesome.
How are you using lists? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
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A varied list of stories this week offered stats on big increases in the use of email marketing this past holiday season, new “users” added to Google+, and the long-term boost to the metrics of social campaigns.
Oh, and someone is getting sued over his 17,000 Twitter followers. Just another week in social media!
Check out our picks for the week’s top stories.
1. Holiday Season Email Marketing Highlights So how did email marketing fare this past holiday season? Here are some interesting stats to ponder as you reflect on the future of email marketing:
Email volume grew 20% during November and December, compared to the same time period in 2010
75% of major retailers sent at least one promotional email to their subscribers on Thanksgiving Day resulting in a rise of online sales, up 39.3% compared to Thanksgiving Day 2010
55% of major online retailers offered free shipping, signaling the new norm for the holiday season
Bottom Line: With increases like this we can only infer that *begin sarcasm* email marketing is dead and online shopping is just a passing phase. *end sarcasm* In all seriousness, we sincerely hope that email marketing and online deals are part of your strategy for 2012.
2. Lawsuit May Determine Who Owns a Twitter Account Who owns an employee’s social media accounts when they leave a company? And how much are those social media followers worth? A new case, in which one company is suing a former employee over his Twitter account and the 17,000 followers associated with it, will set a precedent in the online world as it relates to ownership of social media accounts. The company is seeking damages to the tune of $340,000. Wowza!
Bottom Line: The solution may seem as simple as asking, “Why was the account created? For personal or professional use?”But as the lines blur more and more between our personal and professional lives, that distinction gets more difficult. It may be a good idea to have guidelines in place for situations like this before they come up. You can most certainly expect to see similar cases more frequently.
3. Google+ May Reach 400 Million Users by the End of 2012 All sources point to the fact that Google’s latest social network is growing. Or is it? The projection is measuring total users, not active users. How will it all play out for the search giant? Only time will tell. Although some people think it’s going to mess up the internet.
Bottom Line: Although total users for Google+ may be increasing, the term “user” is a bit deceptive. “Sign-ups” may be a better term to use when compiling these figures. An active user is what we should really be concerned with. Although we have no official number on the active user statistic, we believe it’s still not a major focus for small businesses yet, unless perhaps you’re in the technology or marketing field.
4. Consumers Choose Email to Communicate with Favorite Brands A new survey conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council and Lithium found the preferred method consumers use when they want to communicate with a brand. The top three answers to the questions “When I want to communicate with a brand, I…” are:
65% send an email
50% fill out a form on the company website
44% call a customer service line
Bottom Line: It may come as a surprise that social media sites don’t make the top three. But not really, when you take into account the fact that if you’re contacting a brand it’s probably of a more personal or detailed nature. When someone contacts your business, it’s important to respond as soon as possible and use the opportunity to Wow! them by offering some type of value-added service, such as a special discount code to say, “Thanks for contacting us.”
5. Social Campaigns Give Long-Term Boost to Brand Metrics You may think running a social campaign is a good way to acquire new customers, and while that may be true, the real benefit may come from your brand advocates in the long-term. A study by BzzAgent reveals some interesting statistics regarding brand advocates:
A brand advocate’s likelihood to recommend a product after being exposed to a campaign rises from 39% before exposure to a campaign to 61% directly after.
55% of brand advocates studied were significantly more likely to recommend a product one year after initial exposure.
38% of brand advocates said they would purchase and recommend a brand before exposure to a campaign. That number jumped up to 69% after being exposed to the campaign.
Bottom Line: Studies like this show how keeping your brand top of mind with customers is of the utmost importance. It also indicates how advocates of your brand can supercharge word of mouth for you in the long-term, making social campaigns a worthy proposition.
What are top stories that caught your eye this week? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook Page.
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With 2011 now in the rear-view mirror, it’s important to think about what’s going to drive your business or organization's growth in 2012. With the pace of marketing speeding up thanks to social media and other tools, knowing what's in store — and how you can respond — will better equip you for success moving forward.
Here are six things to focus on as you settle in to the new year.
1. Start with a plan. Set specific goals. Set one big marketing objective for the year, one for each quarter, and maybe one for each month. Keep them simple, and make sure they're reachable; it’s no fun working toward a goal that you know is not attainable. Don’t waste time on things that won’t help you reach your goals.
2. Measure success with your own benchmarks. As you set your goals, be sure to focus on what’s important to your business or organization — whether that's donations per month, gross margins, number of fans/followers on social media, or some other metric. Measure against last year’s monthly numbers. This is easy and it helps to accommodate for naturally slow times of the year. It also gives you a clearer picture of what to expect.
3. Experiment. Remember that most people are still relatively new to social media. It’s okay not to be perfect. Try new things and evaluate the results. Measuring what happens is the key — and even if you don’t get the results you want, there is value in the attempt because you can see what didn’t work. Keep what works and throw away what doesn’t. Most importantly: Don’t be afraid to fail. You just might surprise yourself.
4. Be mobile friendly. People are relying more and more on their mobile devices to consume and find information. It’s time to give serious consideration to making your digital communications mobile friendly: Make sure your website and your emails are optimized to work with mobile devices. Use mobile tools to grow your email list. Take advantage of location-based services.
5. Be yourself. Use your own voice. Social media allows for genuine, authentic connections. These tools make it easy and inexpensive to manage many relationships, and to give your audience a real sense of who you are. To do this effectively, write in a conversational tone, the same way you speak, not the way you would write a brochure. Also, use photos and videos of people — yourself, your staff, or your customers/clients/supporters (with their permission). And every once in a while, include clues about who you really are, away from work. Maybe you're in a band, or you volunteer for an organization whose mission is important to you. Whatever you’re comfortable with. The point is to pull back the curtains a little bit — these are the messages and posts that your audience will respond to the most.
6. Take it offline. As much as we focus on the importance of the online world, nothing holds the same power as getting together in person. Whenever possible, leverage those online acquaintances with offline events that bring people together. You’ll strengthen the relationships that can lead to long-term growth. You can use email and social media to invite people to a special event at your place of business. By phone or in person — in whatever capacity you can manage — these connections will grow to be your strongest and quickest outlet for growth.
What are you focusing on this year? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page.
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Surprise, Facebook Page administrators ... The social network has just increased your workload. Hooray! But hey, at least Timeline is finally live for everyone, right? Want more social sharing to generate leads? A new study shows what content gets shared the most. Speaking of content, content, content ... corporate marketers are shifting their spend to — wait for it — branded content. But it may not matter, since according to another recent study, social media is ruining our minds. Yikes! What a week it's been.
Please enjoy the following stories of interest for this week ending December 16, 2011.
1. Facebook Restores Messaging for Page Admins, Sort of
Basically, what this means is that anyone (not just fans) can send a private message to a Page admin, and the Page admin can then respond as the Page (not as a personal user). This feature is not live for all Pages yet. And don’t worry if the message button does make its way to your Page; if you don't want it, it looks l like you can elect to turn it off.
Bottom Line: This could be great for small businesses with relatively low volume (solving problems, answering questions, keeping potentially negative stuff off of the Page). For large businesses, this could be a huge nightmare, since there are no scaling or assignment capabilities yet.
2. Facebook Timeline Now Available to Everyone At last, Facebook’s new redesign of user profiles, called Timeline, is here. For all users. The new profile shows a detailed overview of your life, and we think it looks pretty cool. That said, Timeline does have its critics. Major concerns revolve around Facebook requesting even more personal info and the ease with which Facebook makes this information accessible, which could lead to identity theft.
Bottom Line: Timeline is visually stunning and a compelling way to present the content you share on Facebook. If you have concerns over what other users see, we think it's pretty simple how to handle that: Don't post things you’re not comfortable with. Facebook also makes it easy to curate the content that's visible to others on your Timeline.
3. How to Increase Social Sharing to Generate More Leads The University of Pennsylvania studied the most emailed New York Times articles. What did they find? Content that triggers an emotional response is more likely to be shared. Especially content that ignites a spark in the reader. An article published on Entrepreneur.com goes on to offer some ideas to help you “grease the sharing skids.”
Bottom Line: If you want to generate more leads for your business or organization, focus on content that's useful and empowering to the reader. But don’t forget to make it easy to share as well. We’ll be taking that advice to heart soon here as we update our own blog to allow for easier sharing.
4. Marketers Shifting Spend to Branded Content
A new study finds that U.S. corporate marketers are shifting spending from traditional marketing to branded-content marketing. In 2011, this spending reach an all-time high of $1.9 million on average for the 100 corporate marketers surveyed. The top content marketing goals were to educate and retain customers. At the bottom of the priority list: Up-selling customers. Overall, corporate marketers consider branded content more effective than other forms of advertising and marketing.
Bottom Line: The study seems to reinforce the idea of content marketing as a long-term strategy rather than quick, transactional investments. Focus on using content marketing as a way to build trust over the long-term while educating your customers.
5. How Social Media Is Ruining Our Minds
Over the last 10 years, the average attention span has dropped from 12 minutes to 5 seconds. That’s right 5 seconds. Congratulations, if you’re still reading this. Be sure to check out the other fascinating statistics and facts in this great infographic.
Bottom Line: When it comes to any type of marketing, it’s all about attention. From the looks of this infographic it’s getting harder not only to get it but to keep it. More reason to make sure you’re in tune with the needs of your audience so you can occupy some real estate in the social media user's mind.
What are your thoughts on this week’s stories? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
Photo: B Rosen
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It’s seems like everyone is obsessed with getting “Likes” for their Facebook Page these days.
Yes, they’re important because when people “Like” your Page, they’re giving you a powerful form of permission. They’re saying they want to hear from you on Facebook. This keeps your business or organization top of mind. But “Likes” are only one piece of the puzzle.
What happens after the “Like?”
The truth is, what you do with those Facebook fans is what really matters. The more engaged your audience is, the more success you’ll find with getting comments, getting people sharing your content, and getting people to spread the word about who you are and what you stand for. All of these things help increase the awareness of your business or organization, and ultimately, result in more customers, clients, donors, members, and supporters.
After people “Like” your Page, you need to engage them and drive them to take action. Of course, it’s easy to say “Be engaging.” But how do you actually do that?
To answer that question, I recently spoke with Constant Contact’s Social Media Manager Erica Ayotte and our Senior Product Marketing Manager Josh Mendelsohn for some tips on creating an engaging and effective presence on Facebook. Here’s the list we came up with.
Feature an exclusive offer. In a study of consumer behavior on Facebook we found the top 5 reasons people “Like” a Page. Two of those reasons were: To receive discounts and promotions and to gain access to exclusive content. One of the best ways to see results from your Page is to frequently run special offers specifically for your Facebook fans.
Ask questions. One of the best ways to engage your Facebook fans is to ask them simple, open-ended questions that allow them to share their views. And have some fun with a fill in the blank, a do you agree/disagree, or a simple yes or no question. Be sure to add a strong call to action that tells them to comment.
Use Facebook's Questions feature or post a link from our survey tool to poll your fans. This is an easy way for people to see how their answers or votes stack up with others.
Share other people's content. While it's great to post your own content, it's perfectly acceptable to post links to articles, photos, or videos you find interesting or informative — just make sure to give credit to the author!
What’s new? Is there something exciting happening at your business or organization? Maybe it's a new product or service, a new partnership, or a new employee. If you're excited, there is a good chance your fans will be excited too. Even better, share the news in a quick video that will more visibly demonstrate your enthusiasm.
Respond to comments. If you're creating great customer experiences and/or posting great content there is a good chance people will respond. Make sure you thank them for their messages — even if they are negative — and answer any questions they may have.
Share motivational/ inspirational quotes or statements. These are always good for a “Like” or a share. They're also a good way to see what beliefs you share with your fans.
Share photos and videos. The most shared (i.e., viral) content on Facebook comes in the form of photos and videos. Be sure to add those to your content mix.
Run a "Fan of the Week" feature. This is a great way to say ‘thanks’ by putting the spotlight on your fans.
Just say thanks every now and then. Simple, yet powerful. Show your fans that you appreciate their attention.
So there you have 10 things to do after people “Like” your Facebook Page. Do you have any more to add to the list? Share them in the comments section below or on our Facebook Page.
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It's a question almost as old as Facebook itself: Once people have "Liked" your Page, how do you keep them engaged? One way is by using the right kind of content — the kind that will elicit a response or get your fans to take action.
Ready to engage some more on Facebook? Here are five easy ways:
1. Use photos. According to a recent report from digital marketing agency Web Liquid, Facebook posts with photos are the most likely to engage users. These posts showed a .37% engagement rate, compared to a .27% rate for text-only posts and a .15% rate for just links. If you think about it, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Photos, obviously, grab attention visually and people must click them to get a closer look. So use an intriguing photo to get people’s attention. Be sure to say something about the photo too. We’ve seen people using this space to write more without having to link off Facebook.
2. Use video. Video is engaging because you can see and hear the speaker. Like photos, people must click on something to get a closer look at a video. They also take up more real estate in a newsfeed, making them easier to notice. Perhaps that's why, in the Web Liquid study, video posts had the second-highest engagement rate (.31%).
3. Ask questions to increase comments. When you ask questions you’re giving people permission to engage with you. They know you want their opinions. Not everyone will comment, but you’ll encourage those who are already predisposed to do so. Just be sure to ask your fans explicitly for a comment. See next tip.
4. Use clear calls to action. Would you like someone to comment, share, or “Like” your update? All you have to do is ask. Another recent report, this time from Momentus Media, showed that posts asking users to “like” them had an engagement rate of .38%, compared to an .11% rate for posts without that call to action. Remember: People move fast online and there’s a difference between saying, “Here’s my new Page” and “’Like’ my new Page.” Your engagement rate will go up when you use a clear call to action.
5. Write longer updates. You may think short and sweet is the way to go but you shouldn’t be afraid to share longer stories with your fans. Longer Facebook status updates show higher interaction than shorter ones. So elaborate when you need to. This may give readers a better chance to connect with your update.
What content on your Facebook Page engages your fans the most? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page.
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This week in the round up, word of mouth still rules the day, a manufacturer of contact lenses gets its wrist slapped, more changes to Facebook and Google, and why you need to stop sleeping with your mobile phone.
1. Some word of mouth statistics that you may not know It’s no secret that word of mouth fuels just about every purchase decision we make. After all, we like to talk. And surprisingly, we like to talk a lot about products and services. How much? That’s exactly what the Word of Mouth Marketing Association asked survey participants recently. Here are some of the results:
The typical American mentions specific brand names 60 times per week in online and offline conversations
66% of all brand-related word of mouth conversations are “Mostly Positive”
54% of purchase decisions are driven by word of mouth
49% of Americans believe online word of mouth is highly credible
Bottom Line: Whether it’s online or offline, your customers are going to talk, and those discussions will have an influence on someone else’s decision to do business with you. Make it even easier for your customers to talk by providing great experiences and giving them to tools to spread the word. And use tools like NutshellMail and HootSuite so you can monitor the conversations on social media.
2. Facebook “like-gating” gets a wrist slap A contact lens business called Coastal Contacts Inc. ran a promotion on its Facebook Page that said, “Like this Page! … So you too can get your free pair of glasses!” It wasn’t until after people “Liked” the Page that they found out about all the terms and conditions of the offer. The Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division didn’t think that was too cool, and suggested Coastal Contacts modify its promotion by making the terms available before the people Like the Page.
Bottom Line: Special promotions for the people who Like your Facebook Page are a great way to say “Thank you” to your fans and encourage word of mouth around your offer. But being upfront about the terms of your offer should always be the first priority. And of course, what you do with those fans after they Like your Page is more important for your long-term success than the number of Likes you get.
3. New stats show up in Facebook Page posts Facebook Page owners may soon see some new stats showing up on their posts, if they haven’t already. Instead of impressions and feedback, the new stats show People Reached and People Talking About This. Hat tip to Social Media Examiner for posting this picture of the changes.
Bottom Line: It’s probably too early to say what these numbers will mean exactly. But they seem like a step in the right direction as Facebook continues to emphasize the importance of engagement and the people power behind the social network. If you're looking for more metrics to track your success, this is good news.
4. How to meet Google’s new content standards Google is now putting even more importance on fresh content when it ranks search results. “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven ... are best when they’re fresh,” Google says. The latest change to the search algorithm has been projected to have impact on 35% of searches. This change comes just after the previous update, which focused on quality results, and weeded out low-quality content and content farms from search results.
Bottom Line: Listen carefully to what your customers find useful or are having trouble with. When you focus your efforts on offering solutions to their problems the content you create becomes more valuable. That’s the first step on the path to quality content. Then choose a posting schedule you can stick too so you’ll consistently be adding fresh content.
5. Is mobility keeping you up at night? A poll from the National Sleep Foundation finds that more and more Americans are bringing their mobile phone or laptops into bed with them. One in 10 of these people are woken up from phone alerts, calls, and email. And the laptop users report they’re less likely to get a good night’s sleep. This may not seem like a big deal but according to the U.K.–based Mental Health Foundation, people who experience even mild sleep disorders are four times more likely to have relationship problems, three times more likely to lack concentration during their work day, three times more likely to struggle to accomplish tasks at work, and more than twice as likely to suffer from an energy deficiency.
Bottom Line: Yikes! I need to get to sleep. Seriously, though, as much as the connected world excites us with the possibilities of new marketing and business growth, we all need to take some time to unplug and give our minds and bodies the rest they need. The phone or laptop will still be there in the morning.
What were the stories that caught your attention this week? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
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Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with Groupon. Be sure to check out the link below might be something to consider as an alternative: http://www.fastcompany.com/1708287/save-money-and-roll-your-own-groupon-style-offer.
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So what’s been going on this week? Well ... Groupon stumbled, Apple and Twitter's close relationship had some impressive results, and Chapstick paid lip service to disgruntled fans. Check out this week’s hot topics to get the bottom lines on how these stories can help your small business.
1) ‘Groupon Is a Disaster’
The one-time internet darling that pioneered online deals is falling from grace. Now that the novelty has worn off, merchants are complaining that they are losing money on the deals. And there are concerns about the viability of the daily deals business model. Oh, and then there’s the issue of Groupon’s shady accounting practices. Yikes. No wonder an analyst from Forrester Research this week called Groupon "a disaster."
Bottom line: What a surprise. A system that encourages businesses to create deals that don’t cover costs is angering its long-time customers and attracting buyers who are only looking for deals. No wonder Groupon appears to be coming apart at the seams. Save yourself some aggravation and focus on rewarding your existing customers: Create your own special offer, and give customers tools to help you spread the word about your business.
2) Thanks to iOS 5, Twitter Has Tripled Its Daily Sign-Ups
Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 5, features tight integration with the micro-blogging service Twitter. For example, when an iPhone user takes a photo, he or she can instantly tweet it with just a click or two. That's probably why, when iOS 5 was released, Twitter saw its normal daily sign up rate increase three-fold.
Bottom line: With Twitter now adding more to its 200 million user base, you might think we’d mention it’s something you should be paying attention to. Instead, here’s something else to think about: How can your business or organization partner strategically with existing businesses to grow your customer base? As Twitter and Apple have seen, these connections can fast track your business to the next level.
3) Content Is King for Business-to-Business Entrepreneurs
According to HiveFire’s B2B Marketing Trends Survey report, content marketing is the tool of choice for today’s B2B entrepreneurs. With driving leads cited as the most important marketing objective B2B marketers have found that content marketing helps them achieve those goals without using a large portions of their budget. And in related news, eMarketer reported this week that 59% of respondents to a recent study said they use exclusive content in their social media efforts.
Bottom line: You may think content marketing is only for those who can find the time to create, but the HiveFire study also finds that “content curation – the process of finding, organizing and sharing online content” – is a preferred tactic. Seventy-four percent of the respondents who implement and measure their content curation programs said the tactic is successfully driving results. If you can’t create your own content, what useful articles and guides can you find and share with your audience?
4) Apparently, Influence Is All About the Numbers Klout, which measures online influence, made some changes to its algorithm to continue its move toward “the most accurate measurement of influence in the world.” While CEO Joe Fernandez said the majority of users' scores would stay the same or go up, the change caused many people’s scores to drop, and they were not happy.
Bottom line: Numbers can at one time be a good gauge and at others completely insignificant. Our advice would be to stay focused on providing value and interacting with your audience. Do right by them and that silly little number will take care of itself.
5) Chapstick Gets Chapped by Social Media Misstep Lip balm producer Chapstick created a new print ad that offended some people this week. And since the ad itself included the call to action “Be heard at Facebook.com/chapstick,” people went to there to voice their displeasure. But rather than address the issue, Chapstick deleted the negative comments. Uh-oh! Needless to say, that didn’t go over so well. Chapstick has since posted an apology, but the damage is already done ... or is it? When was the last time you were talking about Chapstick?
Bottom line: Social media gives everyone a chance to be heard, even those who don't have positive things to say. Businesses can’t “make it go away” by deleting negative comments. That just makes things worse. You’re better off acknowledging the situation, and if necessary, apologizing. But don’t try to act like there's not a problem by trying to hide it.
What news stories caught your eye this week? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook Page.
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With all the social networking sites available today, you may wonder which is best for your nonprofit organization. More importantly, you may be wondering which site is best for your organization in terms of finding more donors. The answer may surprise you: It's LinkedIn.
Why LinkedIn? Well, according to the site's own statistics, LinkedIn boasts more than 120 million affluent, influential professionals from over 200 countries and territories. In 2010, HubSpot and LinkedIn teamed up to create an infographic that showed members are highly educated (more than 70% have a bachelor or graduate degree), affluent (close to 50% of users have an income of more than $100,000 per year), and they hold influential positions -- more than 30% are senior level executives and managers, while 50% are decision makers in the companies/organizations.
LinkedIn’s power comes from getting connected with the right people. How do you get your nonprofit connected with these potential donors? Here are 5 simple tips to build these connections fast:
1. Get your team connected. Make sure every employee, board member, and volunteer has a profile that links to your website and references that they work for your organization. These profiles will then get linked to your organization’s LinkedIn page, helping you build your LinkedIn presence.
2. Search for similar organizations. Find out who is affiliated with what organizations and who those people are connected to. When you find relevant people, see if you’re connected somehow through existing relationships. Then you can ask for a LinkedIn introduction to get connected yourself.
3. Find and join relevant groups. Once you’re a member of a group you’ll be able to connect with the other members with the click of a button.
4. Join relevant discussions. Add to discussions whenever possible. Share your organization’s story where appropriate and let people know about the work your organization is doing. This will help you build interest for your organization and its cause.
5. Promote your LinkedIn page. Extend your network by making sure people know about your LinkedIn presence. Send an email to your email subscribers and post links to your organization’s page on your website.
How does your organization use LinkedIn to connect with potential donors? Share your tips with us here or by posting to our Facebook Page.
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Uh-oh. It’s time to find another idea for an upcoming business blog post. But you’ve got nothing in mind and coming up with a new one is stressing you out. Well, relax. There’s an easy way to find ideas and create valuable business blog articles for your potential customers. So where do you start? The answers, or questions, are in the forums. Why are forums helpful with business blog ideas? Forums are essentially online watering holes around a particular niche. People usually turn to forums in order to discuss their favorite topics with the community. Inevitably, those discussions also include questions. These questions come from people who are struggling and need help with a particular issue. It’s these forum questions that can become the starting point for your business blog ideas. How do you find these forums? Go to Google, and search for the following: “your niche+forum.” This will pull up results for forums created around your niche. (Be sure to replace “your niche” with the actual topic.) Here’s an example: Imagine you manufactured poker chips and were stuck for ideas on what to write for your business blog. The first thing you’d want to do is find a forum that could help you. Like so: Since most forums are usually arranged by topic you can narrow down your search once inside. Click on the topic you’re interested in writing about and see if there are any questions you can answer. Hey look, some good questions you can answer! Now that you have your new business blog ideas, you may be thinking you’re done. But you don’t want to leave the forum just yet. Why? Because there’s another benefit to these forums If you’ve found an active forum around your niche, you’ll want to consider becoming part of the community. Not so you can pitch your wares or services, but rather, so you can answer those questions directly in the forum. This allows you to build trust with its members. In the long run this can land you more business as people come to view you as an authority on the topic. Then repurpose your answers for your business blog Just be sure to give your answers a quick edit, add an intro, summary, and conclusion so they work nicely as a blog posts. By following this method you’ll be creating business blog content your potential customers will find valuable without having to struggle for ideas! Don’t pull your hair out when looking for new business blog ideas Find a forum and search for questions Answer the questions directly in the forum to establish expertise Create new articles from your answers to use on your business blog How have you used forums to help you find business blog ideas? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook page. Photo: stuartpilbrow
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What marketing news items deserve your attention this week? For starters we found more proof that email marketing is alive and kicking, there's a new study that shows chain restaurants may have received a death blow from Yelp, and more marketers are finally coming around to the fact there’s something to this social media stuff. Take a closer look at this week’s hot topics below. 1) Email Is Far from Dead According to the Direct Marketing Association’s just-released Power of Direct economic impact study, commercial email is bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year. The study also points out that non-email Internet marketing, which includes display, search, and social networking, is expected to surpass direct mail in sales for the first time next year. Bottom Line: The combination of email plus social media marketing is proving to be a powerhouse. Are you using both tools as part of your small business marketing tool kit? 2) How Yelp Is Killing Chain Restaurants A new working paper by Michael Luca of Harvard Business School studies the effects of Yelp.com on the restaurant industry. His findings show that a one-star increase in rating leads to an increase of revenue between 5 and 9 percent for smaller, independent establishments. Bottom Line: Good news for small businesses, because a more personal experience can translate into a better review and increased profits. 3) Chief Marketer Annual Survey Find Marketers Believe in Power of Social About 73% of respondents to this year's survey say they now incorporate social messaging of some kind into their marketing campaigns. That's up from the 64% of respondents who said the same thing last year. The ability to reach customers at multiple touchpoints, rather than simply through one channel, remains the most often cited benefit of social marketing, according to 85% of this year's respondents (81% in 2010). Bottom Line: It’s probably safe to say that social media marketing is now a mainstream marketing tool. If you’re still on the fence, then it may be good time to re-evaluate your stance. 4) Facebook Launches New Metric: “People Talking About” Facebook has added a new metric called "People Talking About" to its Page Insights analytics tool. The score will be visible to site users under the number of "Likes" a Page has. The idea is that a high "People Talking About" score will mean a Page features compelling content, and thus, should be attractive to new visitors. Bottom Line: Creating content that engages your fans and interacting with people on your Page should still be your top priorities on Facebook. 5) If Google's Management Doesn't Use Google+, Then Why Should You? It was revealed this week that Google's leaders aren't even using the company's much buzzed-about social network. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have only posted publicly on Google+ 22 times since the network launched in June, and many executives don't even have accounts. Bottom line: While Google+'s userbase may be small (43 million at last count), and it doesn't include some significant leaders of the company, those who do use Google+ appear to be an active and fiercely loyal bunch. With the site getting ready to open up business pages, now may be the time to get to know Google+. What news items caught your eye this week? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page.
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One of the best ways to find out if you’re running a successful event is to listen to your event attendees. The good news is that social media makes it easier than ever to "eavesdrop" on what your attendees are saying — while the event is taking place. And you won’t need to get a court order to do any of it. With the right amount of planning you can make sure you’re doing a great job and head off any potential problems before they get out of hand. Let’s take a look at 8 ways you can eavesdrop while creating an atmosphere of open sharing. This will allow you to ramp up engagement and gather some instant feedback during your event. Be sure attendees can check in: Set up a Foursquare venue for your event if it doesn’t exist already, and let your attendees know. This allows you and your attendees to "check in" and see who else is already at the event. You can create tips and to-dos for attendees too. But also keep an eye out for comments, tips, and to-dos from your attendees. Encourage attendees to post photos to Facebook: Allow attendees to post pictures to your Page’s wall during the event. Invite attendees to tag themselves and their friends. You’ll get some great shots of what people are enjoying about your event. Create a unique Twitter hashtag for the event: Make sure everyone knows the hashtag by placing it on invites, registration forms, and on signs throughout the venue. Then encourage attendees to use it whenever they tweet about your event. This allows you to search for the hashtag and follow the conversation all in one place. (You can monitor all the tweets by using a service like NutshellMail or Hootsuite.) Collect the Twitter handles of your attendees: Make this part of the registration process so you can create a Twitter list of event attendees which you can monitor during the event. Also, use attendees' Twitter handles on name tags to encourage people to connect and gab about the event. Set up searches for the event and keywords: Some people may not use the official hashtag to talk about your event. Be sure to set up Google Alerts and Twitter searches to catch those straggling comments. Set up a QR code to a short survey at the event: Hang QR codes around the event venue to get feedback while it’s still fresh in your attendees’ minds. Conduct a Pre-Event Survey: Find out what your attendees are expecting from your event. This helps you plan accordingly and gauge how well you’ve done at meeting those expectations. Say “thank you”: When you can, be sure to thank attendees who posted to social media about the event. This could spur more feedback you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. By using the suggestions above to eavesdrop on your attendees you’ll be able to better gauge how well you did at meeting their expectations. You’ll also find out what areas you may need to adjust for your next event. And the good news is you found out all this great feedback without having to violate anyone’s privacy. Hooray! What are some of the ways you listen to your event attendees during the event? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page. Photo: Joe Howell
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Have you ever made small talk with a neighbor on the street? Someone you’re friendly with but not someone you’d invite into the house for a drink? The scenario above is a lot like the difference between social media and email marketing. Social media followers are like the neighbors who like to chat with you on the street and email subscribers are like the neighbors who would invite you into their homes. The groups are different, but both are important to your online success. But on which group do you think you should focus your efforts? Let’s look a bit more closely to answer that question. Who are social media followers? Social media followers connect with you on a social networking site like Facebook or Twitter. These people are usually interested in exclusive content, special offers, and discounts. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about your organization or business, want keep up-to-date with events or happenings, want to share feedback, and are looking to find ways they can further support you. Who are email subscribers? Email subscribers give you permission to contact them directly via email. These people are usually interested in exclusive content, special offers, and discounts. They are also interested in what you have to say, are looking to learn more about your organization or business, want keep up-to-date with events or happenings, and are looking to find ways they can further support you. So wait, if social media followers and email subscribers basically want the same things, what’s the difference? Sure, both groups may want the same thing but it’s the nature of the tool that makes all the difference. Social media transactions require a much lighter commitment. It’s easy to follow someone on Twitter or “Like” a Page on Facebook. There’s a bigger commitment made by the person who hands over their email address and invites you into their home, er, inbox. Again, think conversation on the street versus conversation in the house. Social media also has a fleeting nature. Email gives you more control. Tweets flow past the stream. Facebook has algorithms to determine who sees what. With an email you’re in control. You decide when and how often to send a message, and it goes straight to the source. So should you give up on social media followers? Absolutely not, but you should focus on moving the conversation to email because you’ll be getting a higher level of commitment from your email subscribers. And social media allows you to find and connect with more people. Just don’t let the conversation end on the street. Summary: Social media followers are important to have because they help you start conversations and attract more people to your cause. Email subscribers have given you permission to contact them on their turf, which means there’s a higher level of engagement in what you’re offering. Focus on turning social media followers into email subscribers and vice versa so you can make the most of your reach. Do you find there’s a difference between your social media followers and email subscribers? Share your thoughts with us here or on our Facebook Page. Photo: MR. 119th STREET
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Last week, among other changes, Facebook announced the addition of a Subscribe button to user profiles. And it’s something small businesses and nonprofits should be excited about. As a small business or organization, one of your biggest advantages is that you’re NOT a huge operation. It’s easier for you to humanize yourself because you’re nimble and smart enough to step out from behind the logos that bind your corporate counterparts. Customers are hungry for human faces, interaction, and connection ... when, where, and how they want it. So how does the Facebook Subscribe button help you? It means that your current and potential Facebook-using customers finally have a way to connect with YOU and the PEOPLE behind your business or nonprofit without actually having to be friends (the Facebook kind, anyway). Subscribe essentially adds another layer of “acquaintance” for those people you don’t know well enough to “friend” yet. With Subscribe, you'll be able to share info with and respond to comments from people beyond your immediate friends without giving them access to all your personal information. Whatever you want private stays that way. It's kind of like having Twitter built right into Facebook, but you can choose what to make public. I know what you're probably saying. "Wait a second. But isn't that what Facebook Pages are for?" Yes and no. If you ask me, there's always been something a bit awkward and impersonal about Pages. They allow for a business or organization to be seen, but from the fan's perspective, they’re always left to wonder who’s really behind the curtain. Also, if you’re a one-person operation, it may feel a bit awkward to have a Page for yourself. Not to mention it’s a pain to switch back and forth between your personal profile and your Page all the time. It’s also possible that people can find your profile more readily than they can your Page. Subscribe offers a simple solution to the “how to handle friend requests from people you don’t really know” problem. In this age of social media and hyperconnectivity, Subscribe offers both you and your customers or supporters another easy option to get to know, like, and trust the people behind your business or organization. The people who make good use of this option may end up with an advantage over their peers when potential customers and donors are making decisions as to where to spend their time or money. Want to try it out? Here’s how to activate the Facebook Subscribe button First, it's important to note that the Subscribe button isn't turned on by default. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to. You can continue to use Facebook as you normally would. Once you're logged into Facebook, you can go directly to this link to turn on the Subscribe button. Next you'll want to click on the "Allow Subscribers" button to the top right. Clicking the button brings up the "Edit Subscriber Settings" screen. You'll probably want to turn on comments. This way people can join in on the discussion around your updates. It's up to you whether or not you want to receive notifications about new Subscribers, but if you want to cut down on noise, turn them off. Just choose "No One." Then save your settings. You are now ready to allow Subscribers to your public updates. How to send an update as “Public” You’ll update your status as you normally would, but before you hit “Post” choose “Public” from the drop-down menu. IMPORTANT: Your updates default to the last choice you selected. Be sure to change if you don't want your update to go public. How to subscribe to people of interest When you visit a person’s profile, you’ll see the Subscribe button in the top-right corner of a person’s profile or below the cover photo in Timeline if they have Subscribe turned on. (NOTE: You are automatically subscribed to your friend’s updates.) If available, you can Subscribe to people of interest to discover new content that’s relevant and useful. You can also customize which types of updates you receive from the people you already subscribe to. Now you’re all ready to use your personal advantage and deepen those ties with your audience. What do you think? Will you use Facebook’s new Subscribe feature? Leave your thoughts here or on our Facebook Page.
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Yesterday at Facebook’s f8 Conference, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced, with great fanfare, that major changes are on the way. The social network — now 800 million users strong — promises to create a seamless experience where self-expression, discovery, and shared real-time experience are the goal.
The announcement came after Facebook activated a handful of new features earlier in the week. Today we’ll take a look at the more significant new features, and what they mean from a personal user standpoint. We're also keeping an eye on how these changes pan out for businesses and nonprofit organizations, and we’ll cover that perspective beginning next week.
Here's what's new or coming soon to your personal profile:
1. Profile Changes: Now renamed the Timeline, personal profiles will allow you to curate "the story of your life" with what you share on Facebook. Essentially, you'll now create a digital scrapbook that can start as far back as on the day you were born (if you want it to). And it looks great. You’ll also be in control of what you make public and what you share only with your friends.
2. New Social Apps: These apps are added directly to your profile and do more than just allow you to discover things like news, music, TV, and movies from your friends. They also gather info to create reports over time. For example, if you like to cook, an app can create a digital cookbook that you and your friends can reference later. Other apps allow you to listen to a song or watch a show in real time with your friends. This change emphasizes shared experiences (and shared content) within Facebook.
3. Improved Friend Lists: Facebook has always had a list feature, but who really wants to spend all that time creating them? Well, Facebook has introduced Smart Lists, which create themselves automatically. You'll notice lists like "Close Friends," "Family," a work list, and a list of people in your area, in the left-hand column after you log in. If you don't like the lists Facebook has created for you, then you don't have to use them. The idea here is it'll be easier to share with and see information from select groups of people. Maybe you just want to share a photo with your friends but not your coworkers. Now that'll be no problem.
4. Subscribe Button: This new button gives you a bit more control over the information you see in your news feed. You have the option of seeing all updates from one friend, most updates from another, and only highlights from another. But perhaps the biggest change is that you'll also be able to see updates in your feed from people you aren't friends with. (They have to activate the Subscribe button on their profile, though. Likewise, you're able to activate the Subscribe feature and allow people who aren't your friends to see your public updates.) This basically turns Facebook into a Twitter-like service, just without the character limits. Subscribe lets you control what information goes out to subscribers, so if you want to send something only to your friends, and not your coworkers, now you can.
5. News Feed Changes: Perhaps the most noticeable changes. Now, the top of your feed will contain what Facebook is calling Top Stories. These are updates made since the last time you logged in, by people Facebook thinks you may find most interesting. These stories seem to follow Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithim. Each update has, in the top left-hand corner, an option that lets you deem something aTop News update or not worth including. Using this option will help Facebook provide more relevant updates to you in the future. Below Top Stories you'll see the Recent Updates, which lists all the most recent updates in chronological order.
6. The Ticker: This list of "lightweight" user actions floats on the top of the right-hand column and allows you to see the activities of your friends as they're happening. You can also interact with the content in the Ticker by hovering over the posts.
7. Facebook Pages no longer require "Likes" for participation: This means Facebook users will be able to comment and write on brand Page walls without having to actually “Like” the Page. If your business or organization has a Page, this could mean you see an increase in interaction. On the other hand, you may find yourself policing unwanted comments. You also may not see as many new Likes as you saw in the past.
At this point, it’s unclear what the effect of all these changes will be on businesses and organizations. But all signs seem to support what we already know: Producing great content that shows your unique personality, passion, or value wins the day. That's what will engage your customers, members, and fans long-term and will get you more exposure on Facebook.
What are your thoughts on the new Facebook changes? What do you like? What do you have questions about? How do you think these changes will impact your business or organization? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook Page.
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