Appealing Ideas from Social Media Guides

Lately, I’ve been inundated with newsletters and downloads about a “definitive” guide to social media. Although these are helpful, there is a lot of repetitive info about getting the process started. They explain what Twitter and Facebook is and the different functions, but what about some realistic tips that is helpful for everyone who aren’t newbies? How do I grow? How can I branch out and attract people? Here are some interesting ideas that I’ve come across. I hope it’s more interesting than generic recommendations out there.

  • Presentation and document sharing. .docstoc is one of many document sharing websites that allow businesses and professionals to spread their know-how. If your content is helpful, others will be willing to link to you as a resource!
  • More commenting. Nowadays, a lot of sites and blogs enable comments by signing into your Twitter or Facebook account. I like this feature because you skip the hassle of filling out info fields. It also gets rid of spammers and others who don’t have relevant comments to share. It’s a good way to increase your brand awareness on high traffic blogs like Social Media Examiner.
  • Photosharing on Flickr. As Rohit’s article discusses, photo sharing can be a great way to engage customers. With the right content, this indirect method is exciting and will tie back to your site/blog/business in the end.

I’m always on the look out for interesting tips, so don’t be afraid to share. Feel free to also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media + Innovation: When Is It a Business?

This Saturday, we attended the Cal Tech/MIT Enterprise forum about social media and innovation. The stand out speakers had to be Oliver Starr of Clean Green Guy and http://www.cleangreenguy.com and Oded Noy of Social Approach. A nice turn out for a sunny Saturday morning – we even spotted a frog at the Cal Tech lily pond!

Oliver is all about the people and not the numbers. As a long-time successful blogger, Oliver has had a history of providing engaging conversations. We must admit that his’ was the most interesting presentation we’ve seen in awhile! (You can try out this tool for free at Prezi). Some takeaways from his talk:

  • Focus on the individual
  • Expand your method of reaching out. Don’t just comment on the big blogs to self-promote, reply to other commenters and even visit their blogs
  • How can you use Twitter to add a personal touch? Comment, announce interesting events, give info and provide value

Eventually, Oliver would like to see more research about the new data gathered about social media. He predicts that location based social networks will expand and help people in their collaborative efforts. With more efficient tools, Oliver would like to see more spontaneous and integrated social gatherings. He likened it to going to a large venue and identifying the people with your interests. This way, you’ll be able to convene with them to have a more effective conference. Sounds like what we would all want and need, right?

Oded shared a similar point with Oliver as they both stressed the importance of a community of like-minded people. Oded brought us back to the days before technology when people would meet and talk over a campfire. Old school, I know.

  • Before: face to face interactions
  • Next: those with money (corporations) can buy a bigger platform to reach more people
  • Now: the internet has reduced the cost of self-publishing

The biggest question remains – how do you utilize social media to make money? Social media sites are a place for individuals to share in these conversations and seek out areas of their interest. It’s hard to say how and when you can convert this into $$$. All of the speakers on the panel agree that as much as it is cliche to say, “It really depends”, it really does depend on your individual situation. The sure thing is that once your social activity urges consumers to search and find your product/service, that’s when you acquire customers. That’s where business begins.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Making White Papers Fun

If there’s any way that white papers can be interesting, Mike Stelzner found a way to do so. His webinar with Marketing Profs this morning was about “Maximum Search Results with Rich Content and Social Media”. In the hour, Mike explained how he successfully conducted the survey and shared the finished product.

Focusing on the Industry Report
If you haven’t heard of it already, this is the social media marketing industry report that we’re talking about. Nearly 900 social media users participated in this survey and here are the results – five stats from the report that caught my eye:

  • 61.83% people who invested a few months in their social media marketing report new partnerships were gained
  • 72% of marketers are newbies (have only just started using social media)
  • 64% devote roughly 5 hours a week on social media
  • 81% of participants agree that social marketing has generated exposure for their business
  • 94% of marketers use Twitter

Spreading the News with Fire Starters
Getting people to participate in a survey is one thing, but how do you engage them in finding interest in your results? Mike passed the word along to a few key friends who have a lot of influence in the social media world aka fire starters. In Mike’s case, it was friends who had many friends or followers. Kinda like a ripple effect and things took off from there through word of mouth. Mike also took advantage of scheduling Tweets during relevant times of the day to catch the eye of his many followers. Well, it really worked as over 40,000 people read this report over the span of 1 month. Hundreds of blog comments and other mentions throughout the online community helped put Mike’s report on Google’s coveted first result for ‘social media marketing’.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Social Media: What’s in a Name?

In the social media world, going viral is gold. It’s hard to get people riled up about something and when it happens, the spontaneity of word of mouth is unstoppable. Today, we’ll take a look at how some notable name changes have helped in going viral. Sit back, take some notes and get ready to change your name.

Making a Splash for a Good Cause
Courtesy of this short clip, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian shows us how effective the right name can be. As he explains it, social media helped out for a worth cause in 2007. Greenpeace held a contest to name a humpback whale and raise awareness about protecting these gentle giants. Mister Splashy Pants won out above the other names and helped attract attention to this cause.

A Foodstuff Gets More Fans than The Worst Band in the World
Can this pickle get more fans than Nickelback? Yes, it can. If you haven’t heard, Nickelback is arguably one of the worst bands in the world. An anti-Nickelback enthusiast decided to create a Facebook Fan Page and gather fellow fans for this cause. You may have seen it pop up on your friend’s page and it’s too funny not to follow! Here are some other things that this Pickle beats: MTV, Glenn Beck, and naps. As of now, the Pickle is still in the lead.

Shameless Self-Promotion
Are you a fan of Chad Javon Johnson? Maybe Chad Ochocinco of the Cincinnati Bengals rings a bell. In 2008, the football player legally changed his last name to match his jersey number 85, in Spanish. The word “Ochocinco” is actually displayed across his uniform. There were some rumors that Chad wanted to change has last name to “Himself”. Just picture the announcer saying, “And Johnson throws a pass to Himself”. Hilarious, but no. Chad has recently announced that he is planning to change his name to “Hachi Go” – which roughly translates to 85 in Japanese.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

The Can and Can’ts of Social Media

There is much more to social media than just building up Twitter hype. Nowadays, businesses may be excited to implement a new social media marketing plan, but have unrealistic expectations of what it can really do. Like anything else, you can’t expect it to help bring you success if you don’t put in enough time and effort. Here’s a look at what social media can and can’t do for your business:

What It Can Do

  • Target your audience: If you’re looking into running ads on Facebook or MySpace, these two sites allow you to target specific demographics of your audience. This will be helpful in identifying your goals, as you can reach users by age, location, interests etc.
  • Improve customer interaction: On the surface, the point of social media profiles is to be social. You’ll want these connections to translate into something deeper but you can’t unless you can improve customer involvement. Social media allows you to do so by consistently involving the audience via blog posts, Tweets, and status updates.
  • Keep customers informed: Awhile ago, Bausch + Lomb recalled their contact solution because it was linked to eye infections. As a recipient of their newsletter, I got an email about the recall and a coupon for a new (untainted) product. Luckily, no eye infection for me! Social media can help with damage control just as well as it’s used to announce local events or new products.

What It Can’t Do

  • Have a short-term mindset: Your marketing plan consists of ongoing efforts, so why wouldn’t your social media campaign? Many people make the mistake by neglecting their social media profiles over time. Social media requires the three C’s: consistence, commitment, and creativity.
  • Replace your entire marketing plan: Although it’s successful for very few companies, a marketing plan solely based on social media is not realistic. Instead of looking at social media to replace your marketing plan, think of it as an additional tool you can use to complement your more traditional strategies.
  • Guarantee success: You may be popular on Twitter, but what does it really mean? You can’t guarantee success on any social media site if you don’t tie it back to your goals – this may be increased visits, clicks, purchases etc. Being popular doesn’t mean that you’re successful, but it can help!

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

How To Connect on Twitter

Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.

A Better Way to Circulate

Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.

Find Relevant Followers

If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.

Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.

It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Do You Read Other Blogs?

With your busy schedule, you may already have a hard time finding a spare moment to crank out some blog posts. Do you take the time to read any other blogs in your leisure? Browsing blogs doesn’t have to be a time-waster and there’s actually a lot you can learn. If you live on the internet like I do, you’ll know why you should read other blogs:

1) Get ideas. Like anything else, blogs come in three different categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Although you want to stick with the good ones, you can learn from the horrible ones. Reading other relevant blogs will help you keep up to date with current topics. Don’t have a list of favorite blogs? No problem. You can always browse sites like AllTop that aggregate the most interest blog topics. Sometimes, I also just like to surf tags on WordPress.

2) Make connections. Maybe your blog focuses on a niche topic. By reading other blogs, you can make friends with other relevant bloggers. Once you exchange comments, you can add them to your blog roll and hopefully, they’ll do the same. Link exchange is great and you can get more readers.

3) It’s fun! Feel like killing some time on your lunch break? Instead of browsing YouTube for some videos, why not browse some fun blogs? Blogs and tumblelog can be fun and give you a much needed break. Now, sit back and de-stress by reading other people’s work-related hell.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Where are the Greenbacks?

Saturday morning’s meeting at the Caltech/MIT Enterprise Forum featured the topic of New Media Revenue Models: Growing Greenbacks in the Digital Ecosystem. Although we wished there was a clearer focus on ways to actually obtain greenbacks (especially for smaller and start up companies), the keynote speakers, panelists and audience helped make it a very informative experience.

Where Social Media Fails
This topic came up and the panelists did a very good job of showing how and why social media marketing can fail.

  • Relevancy– Instead of spending millions on a Super Bowl ad this year, Pepsi has come up with a Refresh project, where users can vote to allocate funds to a certain charity. Although this is an interactive campaign promoting worth causes, Steve Banfield questioned its relevancy when tied back to Pepsi’s brand. For example, the current leader for the $5,000 block is a charity that will send girl scout cookies to overseas troops. What does this have to do with the Pepsi brand?
  • Keeping Momentum– When something goes viral, it can spread like wildfire. The I’m with CoCo Facebook Page has nearly 1 million fans. How do you keep your fans and followers excited and willing to participate? The momentum can’t and won’t last forever. Traditional marketing channels have years of research and tons of studies to go off of. While social media marketing is more of an experimental tactic that will take some trial and error.

Where Businesses Fail
In a classic episode of The Simpsons, Homer becomes a human guinea pig in testing experimental products for some extra cash. He tries an appetite suppressant that works surprisingly because it makes the person blind! Why crave food when you can’t see it?

Scientist 1: Who’s gonna buy a pill that makes you blind?
Scientist 2: We’ll let marketing worry about that.

Many companies, small businesses and individuals fail because they put too much emphasis on social media marketing. They begin to forget that it’s important to provide excellent products and services. Marketing consists of ways to make your product look good, BUT is it actually good? Consumers aren’t stupid and if you offer them shoddy stuff it won’t matter how many friends or followers you have. Chances are, you’ll end up on Consumerist and your bad reputation will follow you for years to come.
Bottom line: Always work hard to improve your goods/services and let marketing take care of the rest.

Check out some tweets on the forum and learn more about upcoming events here.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are You Developing Your Social Media Strategy?

Another rainy Friday morning in Los Angeles! We began this one with the first out of a series of implementation courses by The Art of Online Marketing and Rachel Perlmutter.

Equipping Your Marketing Tool Belt
From the beginning, a very important point was made and that is: social media is just another marketing channel. Think about social media tactics as another marketing tool. Like other traditional channels, this means that you need to set a strategy in order to realize your goals. A big mistake many make is that they get too caught up in social media without realizing any success. Friends and fans mean nothing if they can’t be translated into real life.

Your Virtual Reputation
Next, when you’re present on social media sites, how do you portray yourself? Do you have a professional picture? Are you comfortable with this picture and profile representing your brand? An easy way to think about this is to think about how you behave at an actual networking event. You want to be friendly and make small talk before pushing your business cards into other people’s faces. At the same time, be wary of the people you meet and see if they are actually interested in providing you with value.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Many may get caught up in the social media marketing hype because it’s “free”. But remember, your time is certainly not free! Self and time management will help make your time spent on social media sites more effective and efficient. Rachel suggests taking an hour or so out of the day dedicated to your social media activities. Who really spends hours on end on Twitter? Except for the Twitterholics, most people will want to break up their time spent into 10 minute blocks. Sounds like great advice for those who don’t want to waste their time.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Email’s Not Dead

The topic of yesterday’s webinar was social media and email marketing presented by Peggy Hatch with Blaine Mathieu. With the emerging world of social media, email marketing efforts can easily get left behind. While there are problems with email marketing, the solution may lie in combining it with social media efforts.

The Problem with Email
My favorite point that Blaine brought up was the email is the first form of social media. Remember how excited the world was when email peaked? Who could forget the classic, You’ve Got Mail? After all, when we want to share something with friends or family, a majority of us jump to email. According to marketing studies, only 22% of internet users use social media sites to share, while a majority still rely on email. When utilizing email for marketing campaigns, marketers have problems knowing where to start and how to properly integrate email into their overall efforts.

Social Media Sharing is the Answer
According to researchers, social media is not slowing. the growth of social media is not slowing. In fact, 8 out of 10 marketers agree that these sites are a great place to extend their reach. Why not create a dynamic duo of social media and email marketing? In a simple but effective example, Mabel & Zora sees sharing opportunities in their email campaigns. In all their emails, they provide social sharing opportunities where users can share with their friends. Maybe this means posting a coupon deal on their Facebook. In turn, their friends can share with their own network via Twitter, blogs, etc. As this webinar showed, the reach of email is wide reaching. Marketers can benefit from incorporating social media efforts in their emails and users will get an enhanced experience.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.