Who Uses Facebook’s Marketplace?

New and Improved

Earlier this year in March, Facebook re-launched its Marketplace that is now powered by Oodle. If you haven’t heard of it, the Marketplace is a classified ads section where users can list and respond to advertisements. The Marketplace gives users the ability to buy, sell, and trade all their goods with other Facebook users.

Marketplace Features

So, who really uses the Facebook Marketplace? You may have seen friends trying to sell their used chemistry books or their extra phone. But, did you know that there’s also a section for housing and free stuff? That’s what’s so great about this application. Originally created in 2007, the new Marketplace is revamped with a user friendly interface. While it is like Craigslist in its free listing of classified ads, but it also integrates an important social factor that Craigslist lacks. Wouldn’t you rather buy something from a friend or a friend of a friend than a complete stranger?

Seeing the Potential in the Marketplace

Marketers are warming up to the market place as they see ease and convenience of its features. With every listing, you can promote the sale of your goods and services by adding pictures, putting it in an appropriate category and even sending out personalized messages. Such custom settings make it easier for those looking to buy and sell real estate. Because Facebook thrives on the social thread, word of mouth will still be important. If your friends have had a successful transaction with a certain seller, they’re likely to spread the word. Before you brush it off, not everything on Facebook is a time-waster. In the past, Apple has even posted a listing looking for iPhone engineers on there!

5 Social Media Tips for 2010 Webinar with Sally Falkow

Just attended a great webinar moderated by Sally Falkow. Here’s an overview of some great tips she focused on:

1) Use news feeds to push and pull your content.
Make use of RSS (really simple syndication) to push info on your site. From blogs to content pages, search engines look favorably on your links when they show up in news feeds. On the plus side, news feeds can expose your content to new audiences and give your site more traffic.

2) Monitor what’s said about your company.
Whether it’s using Google Trends or a service like NetVibes, it’s important to stay updated on who’s saying what about your company.

3) Measure the effectiveness your social media efforts.
Using Google Analytics, you can track where your traffic is coming from. If your bounce rate is fairly high, you might need to update your content and make it more user-friendly. Make the most out of these tools to measure all your social media and marketing efforts.

4) Use a branded video player.
Video views on YouTube are exploding as users are rushing over to the site over Google for their search needs. By using a service like Veeple, you can track real-time analytics of viewers watching your videos.

5) Integrate a social media newsroom into your website.
It’s a great place for bloggers, journalists, and readers alike. With a newsroom, it’s convenient to organize all your press releases, videos, pictures, and testimonials. Having ‘connect this’ buttons (like Digg and Twitter), makes it easier for readers to share your content.

Stay tuned for the next webinar in January!

Twitter for Customer Service Success

Do What Now?

From shameless self-promotion to broadcasting tweets about everyday things, there is no doubt Twitter is a place to be social. But, what about turning to Twitter as a way to promote good customer service? This is exactly what some companies, like Best Buy, are doing as a way to extend their customer service efforts. It may sound silly or confusing but in the end, it makes sense. Twitter and other social media platforms are attracting your customers, so why would you ignore this segment? With a team of technology pros, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is readily available to assist consumers with any questions and give advice that can help them with pending decisions. Best Buy has even invested in numerous TV spots to help spread the word of their Twelpforce.

Strengthening Your Weak Areas

Some commend Best Buy for their breakthrough marketing and customer service efforts, as they will surely set an example for others to follow. But this idea did not arise from nowhere, as Best Buy has been lacking in the customer service department in the past. Just Google “Best Buy customer service” and you won’t be surprised to find these gems: “Best Buy, worst customer service”, “Best Buy Customer Service is a Joke!”, “Best Buy Embraces the Suck” and more. This is not what any company or individual wants to hear. By utilizing new social media potential to create powerful tactics, Best Buy has found an effective way to strengthen their weaknesses.

A New Trend for 2010

According to the Harvard Business blog, customer service via Twitter is a trend to look out for in 2010. It’s a mutually beneficial plan as businesses will benefit from a cost effective measure that will leave their customers happy when they get the help that they need. Additionally, Best Buy’s Twelpforce is a unique way to build their brand. Their Twitter account is decked out in the signature blue and yellow with a sea of smiling employees. If that isn’t an image that a successful corporation wants to convey, I don’t know what is! Although the Twelpforce is not yet a year old, I think that Best Buy is taking a step in the right direction when it comes to nurturing passionate employees and gaining loyal customers.

Tweet for Tat

Social Media” are the buzz words of 2009. What used to be the online playground of undergrads pulling all-nighters in their college dorms, has now turned into a marketing phenomenon for Fortune 500 companies and start-ups alike.

However, what a lot of professionals with decades of marketing experience tend to forget when dealing with social media platforms is that they are “SOCIAL” media platforms – arenas to engage other users and build relationships. Meaning, you can’t create an account on Twitter, sign in once a month, and expect to see results. Remember, it takes two to tango, and posting tweets for your business without bothering to read, follow and interact with other users is tantamount to lecturing your teenagers while they’re playing Guitar Hero World Tour on Wii. Futile.

According to a study conducted by MarketingSherpa research, nearly two-thirds of marketers do not monitor their social media accounts. Think of all the missed opportunities to join conversations, learn what potential clients (or competitors) are saying, and to just get the word out there that your company exists! Behave in social media communities the way you would normally behave in live, face-to-face interactions: be interesting, don’t talk only about yourself, ask questions, be a source of useful information, have a genuine interest.

Not only will your fellow Twitterers appreciate the valuable content you contribute and feedback you provide, but you’ll soon find that your company is well on its way to achieving its social media marketing goals.

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

Small Businesses Benefit from Facebook

How to Take Advantage

Large corporations may have a bigger brand presence on social media sites but that doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot also benefit. Setting up a Facebook page for your business is a cost effective way to keep up with the latest customer trends. Facebook is an easy to use forum which allows customers easy access to upcoming news or events. Additionally, creating a strong online presence can help you rank better in search engine results and bring more relevant traffic to your site. An example of a small business that uses Facebook to its maximum potential is the Beverly Hills based Sprinkles Cupcakes. Founder Charles Nelson relies on building buzz through the Sprinkles Facebook page instead of traditional paid marketing efforts.

Stay Connected with Your Fans

Sprinkles uses Facebook to create a unique and engaging
relationship with their fans. They have even come up with a fun code system which gives the first customers with the secret phrase of the day the opportunity to get free treats! This is a great way to build word of mouth advertising, as well as bring customers to the store. A part of social networking sites is being just that, “social” – and being active can help small businesses succeed in this area. The key is to engage customers by providing help and insight or offering incentives and other promotions. By having a Facebook page, you can monitor the good and bad that is being said about your business. This is better than knowing nothing at all about how your company is perceived. It is even an effective tool that will give you the opportunity to fix those problems.

Using Other User-Friendly Sites

Local references and review sites are popular amongst customers who are looking to try new things. Yelp and Yahoo! Local Listings are perfect examples of these popular sites. Although there are many social networking sites out there, it is important to practice restraint and don’t overdo your efforts. Like any other investment, it takes patience to see a return on your hard work. Whether it is Facebook or any of these other sites, the key to strong staying power is steady maintenance of your page. It is foolish to put in numerous hours one day and then completely stop your efforts. Instead,  view it as a long-term project and set aside a couple minutes every other day to monitor your growth.

What is Twitter?

At nearly three years old, Twitter is not new to the Internet world. Many individuals may not be familiar with the concept of tweeting and find themselves asking, “What is Twitter?”. This video accurately sums up how the social networking service works in very simple terms. Having heard so much about it, it’s refreshing to understand what makes Twitter attractive to such diverse segments of Internet users. Initially, Twitter really took off with working adults who like to stay connected to friends, colleagues, and peers. Nowadays, teenagers to people under 35 are also getting their tweet on.

Twitter has the advantage over other social networking sites because it is well-organized system, yet maintains a sense of informality which makes it so appealing. In September 2009 alone, Twitter received over 23 million unique visitors. So, why are so many people boarding the Twitter train? It’s always nice to hear updates from friends or acquaintances that we don’t see so often. What about news from celebrities, politicians, and even your favorite products? Twitter is a unique place where we can get all that and more in just one place.

Between catching up with text messages, emails, and blogs, Twitter posts are a 140 character package to fill in the void. The average visitor stays on Twitter for about seven minutes and that’s all you need to stay connected while doing everyday things. Twitter is about more than just tweeting what you had for lunch. It is a social phenomenon because users share interesting things that they encounter during the day with the people that they care about. Even when it’s sharing with strangers, Twitter tools allow you to create a bond that would have never happened otherwise. You may also learn new things about people and the tidbits are sure to brighten your day. So, if you’re looking for a social networking site that is simple and sweet, tweeting is the way to go!

A Social Media Mix for Politics

Is This It?

Years ago, marketing experts predicted that social networking sites would be the next big thing when it comes to politics. It is safe to say that we are now of that age. In the booming era of social networking, politicians are concentrating their efforts on websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. You may know that Governor Schwarzenegger has a Twitter account, but are you a fan of your local congressman on Facebook? Social media sites are popular because they are user friendly and people like using them to keep up with the latest news. Politicians are experimenting with all sorts of mediums in order to reach their audience and their efforts are paying off.

Spreading the Word

We have seen how social media has changed the tactics of politicians. Viral videos circulate the internet praising striking speeches and mocking officials at the slightest misstep. Smart politicians are adapting to these new changes and using the internet to their advantage. Getting the interactive audience involved is an important aspect of social media and getting creative doesn’t hurt. Turning to a popular site like Flickr is a sensible alternative. There is even a political photo pool among many others. Blatantly asking for e-mail addresses is unlikely to work, but what about asking them to vote for your campaign theme song? In this modern age, it still pays to be different from your competitors and offer the public something new.

Raising Important Matters

Social media sites are not just for entertainment but are useful in raising important issues. Ever since its inception in 1990, Rock the Vote, has integrated online strategies to reach young voters. The non-partisan organization stresses the importance of voting and educating the public about politics. In recent light of the economic situation, awareness of a helpful government plan such as Making Home Affordable, would benefit citizens. Many people don’t know about this option and may be deceived by local refinancing companies. When it comes to informing the community about important political issues, it never hurts to have more options. From providing voting information to useful resources through social media sites, politicians as well as the general public can both benefit.

Preparing SEO for the Shopping Season

What Should You Expect?

For most companies, the last business quarter proves to be the busiest and most profitable time of the year. Knowing this, it is important to get organized and prepared for the stress that is to come. There’s no need to fret, as having a plan will save you time and anxiety during the holiday season. Consumers aren’t afraid of splurging on deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, pre and post Christmas sales. Now more than ever, consumers are finding search engines results helpful and it is something that smart retailers will definitely take advantage of. Here are some tips to help you with your SEO preparations for the shopping season.

Focus on Organic SEO

The shopping season is a crucial time to focus on organic SEO efforts. Although there is no definitive answer, most experts agree that failing to keep up with promoting targeted keyword phrases is a bad move to make. In most cases, keyword traffic is likely to decline if your content is not actively being optimized. Having a brand name is not enough to guarantee you success if your company is not showing up with relevant keywords. It pays to be committed and patient when it comes to your organic SEO arrangement. Not only will this method bring in customers who are familiar with your brand, but make other potential consumers aware that you exist! For this reason, many turn to SEO as a cost effective way to bring in the holiday success.

Understanding and Attracting Customers

First, get blogging! Active blogs that are helpful and entertaining will be valuable to consumers. Resist the temptation to flood your blog with self-promoting materials. The blog arena is a place where you can retain loyal readers and even make useful contacts with your peers. Blogs are an informal medium and readers will appreciate reading material that they can relate to. Instead of just trying to sell yourself, think of creating a win-win situation for yourself and your readers. In the world of social media, you can reach out in other forms. Whether it is funny blurbs on Twitter or viral videos on Youtube, using social media is a great way to spread the holiday spirit around. Christmas and Hanukkah are the big ones, but don’t forget about Halloween. What about National Boss Day or Winter Solstice? Don’t be afraid to get inspired with your blogs, but remember that there is a difference between getting creative and going overboard!

Making the Old New Again: Marketing Tips for Your Business


Many may struggle to find new ways to market their business. Although a cutting edge pay per click advertising campaign may help draw attention to your company, you can’t truly be successful without relying on the basic principles of marketing. Happy customers are crucial to the success of your company and a little can go a long way. Companies who work hard to maintain great consumer relationships will have much to benefit from for years to come. As it is known in the marketing world, a happy customer may tell one or two friends. But, an unhappy customer will tell everyone they know about their bad experience!

Strengthen your Reputation

– Guarantees for your products and services: Guarantees and warranties can increase the value of what you have to offer. In addition, these small improvements can easily enhance your credibility as a trustworthy business. Potential clients will enjoy the risk-free offer and you can gain more loyal regulars. Also remember, don’t make promises that you can’t keep!

– Outstanding customer support: Customers like to have their problems solved in a timely matter. The quicker a problem can be addressed, the happier bother parties will be. Devote time or designate someone to take care of customer queries and ensure that they are answered in a timely manner. Consumers will appreciate a reliable company that can help them in their time of need.

Innovative Ideas for Email

– Creative ways to collect email addresses: Customers appreciate being updated with useful information but may not always be willing to take the initiative to sign up for e-mail newsletters. Whether it is through using social media internet marketing or more traditional methods, it pays to find creative ways to collect emails. Offering free informative PDFs, sign ups for a birthday promotion, email only discounts, or creating other incentives will help you achieve this goal.

– Integrating videos in your email promotions: Using video in email is still in its early stages. Tutorials, informative, and testimonial videos are popular and early adapters are reaping the benefits. Embedded emails are played automatically when messages are opened. This can lead to problems down the road so many are finding it helpful to insert a photo of their video. This may spark customer curiosity and clicking on the image will lead them to the actual video.

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a creative marketing rut. It doesn’t hurt to take a break and review the fundamentals. Do you have any basic tips that you would like to share?