The Social Reach of Coupons

Think offering coupons loses your business money? Think again. According to eMarketer, 49% of adult internet users are using online coupons, and moms are twice as likely as women without children to search 10 or more coupons sources each week. And while you may lose a bit of money to get people in the door, there are other benefits you realize from using coupons.

Blue Coupons

Your Social Media Presence Gets a Boost

Even if you’re not big on Twitter, purchasers of your daily deals or online coupons are. Sites like Groupon and Jasmere make it simple for people who buy daily deals to instantly share them with their social networks. If others buy the deal, the original shopper gets bucks to spend on another deal. Quite an enticement for the budget-conscious shopper.

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Should You Buy Social Media Followers?

Just like when anything gets hot, an industry builds up around it. Not only are companies designing new tools to monitor social media sites, but now they’re even offering to get you more followers…for a fee. Is it a good idea to pay to be more popular? Let’s find out.

The Lowdown

Type in “buying social media followers” and you’ll come up with all kinds of companies offering to make you more popular on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Question is: who are these followers? Are they even worth buying? For a fee, a company will guarantee you X number of new followers (always in the thousands). They tout it as saving you the time and money it would take to get these followers organically. But I’m skeptical.

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The Top 3 Business Apps on Facebook You Never Heard Of

When I write my roundups, I tend to focus on the popular apps or services, but today I want to work on the unsung heroes of Facebook apps. They’ll make you look smarter, work better, and save money. Because they’re free.

 

facebook lite

1. Huddle. Sometimes you don’t want to chat with your entire 5,000 Twitter followers, but you need the streaming functionality of instant messaging. On the go. Huddle lets you create private chat groups you can connect with via SMS, Facebook, mobile devices or your computer. You can use it to create a group for your work team or the whole company, and they can access it the way they want.

Why I Like It: Instant messaging is sometimes easier to use with work colleagues than social media or email, and the fact that you can access Huddle in different ways means more people will embrace it.

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Book Review: The Mesh by Lisa Gansky

I know we live in a connected world, because when something cool happens to me, my first reaction is to blog about it or post to social media. I Yelp as soon as I visit a restaurant. I ask my Twitter buddies for recommendations before real life friends. So Lisa Gansky’s book, The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing, appealed to me.

In it, Gansky talks about businesses that offer products or services that can be shared, like Zipcar. Here are her qualifications for a mesh business:

  • Something that can be shared, within a community, market or value chain, including products, services and raw materials.
  • Advanced Web and mobile data networks are sued to track goods and aggregate usage, customer and product information.
  • The focus is on shareable physical goods, including the materials used, which makes local delivery of services and products – and their recovery – valuable and relevant.
  • Offers, news and recommendations are transmitted largely through word of mouth, augmented by social network services.

She introduced me to some amazing mesh companies I didn’t even know existed, and she offered tips on how businesses can offer mesh products or services. Throughout the book, Gansky offers easy-to-grasp concepts that can help any business owner, mesh or otherwise.

Gansky says that mesh companies have more opportunity to gain a customer’s trust, as well as to destroy it. Trust, she says, is social, and so all business is social. If a customer has a bad experience with a Zipcar, for example, he will immediately tell his circle of real life and social friends. That’s why it’s key to meet or exceed expectations with the mesh business.

So whether you have products or services that can be shared, read this book. It’ll teach you about how to offer a stellar customer experience and how to use social networks to stay on top of consumer opinion of your brand. Who knows? You might even learn something!

6 Trends to Consider for Your Business

It can be hard to know which of the many trends in technology or marketing are going to stick around, and which you should use to grow your business. Here’s my pick.

1. Social Media

No longer a trend, social media is really a requirement for any business, in my mind. But I could be wrong. Assess who your target audience is and find out if they are on sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If they are, you should be. No excuses.

Best Thing About It: It’s free if you do it yourself.

2. Groupon

I’m still on the fence about Groupon, but if used correctly, it can be a boon to your business. Make sure you can afford to execute your deal, and have a plan for getting customers back in the store. I’d actually probably suggest starting with the Groupon knockoffs, as they may give you a better cut of your deal.

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One Article, Many Channels

If you’re not currently using content as a marketing tool, why not? The power of the written word combined with the social tools available on the internet make any writing you (or a representative of your brand) do extremely valuable. Here I’ll show you how a single article can be chopped up, mixed around and spit out in different channels to maximize efficiency.

1. Start With an Article

It should be on a topic that solves a problem or educates your target market on something in your industry. Maybe it’s an article about writing articles for small businesses and startups Winking smile. Or tips on home grooming pets for a pet groomer. How to create a podcast for an audio recording service. The list goes on.

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LinkedIn Hits The 100 Million Mark in Membership Count

LinkedIn says they’re the largest professional network on the World Wide Web. And nobody’s contesting that, even the numbers unanimously agree.

LinkedIn recently announced that they have reached a major milestone this year, and that is counting 100 million professionals from all over the world as part of their ever expanding network.

And the numbers continue to grow. In fact, it’s growing at such a fast rate, that LinkedIn can safely say that the site registers faster than one member per second.

This is exciting news for LinkedIn, but this is also something that site users should be thrilled about. Why? Because this translates to more connections, and greater potential to improve your business/professional reach.

LinkedIn Breaks Down What 100 Million Members Mean Source: http://blog.linkedin.com/2011/03/22/linkedin-100-million/

Growing at a rapid rate, LinkedIn is now being used in more than 200 countries and territories from all over the globe. Based on the statistics above, a considerably large number (about 56 million) of registered site users are from outside of the U.S.

LinkedIn users are spread out all over the world. So whether you want to find a supplier within the United States (which has 44 million LinkedIn users), or perhaps connect with a business professional in Brazil, you are sure to find the site to be a useful asset.

The company gives the biggest credit to their beloved users, whose connections, experiences, and shared information make the LinkedIn experience even richer, and the online professional network even bigger.

Read more about LinkedIn’s recent success here.

Block Content Farms from Google Results: Tech Media will still complain.

Google just announced that users can block any site they want in IE, Firefox, and Chrome. So that means that if you hate eHow, Mahalo, etc you can block them so you never EVER have to see them in your results again. But do you think this will stop the Tech Media elite (McManus, Arrington, Malik) from complaining about how Google search is being ruined?

Absolutely not. The reason why Content farms became under fire lately is not because tech bloggers are so concerned with what shows up in their OWN search results. They are concerned with what shows up in YOUR search results. Content farms and similar sites can produce content at a mere fraction of the cost/time it takes these bloggers to create their own “hand-crafted” content. This, of course, is alarming and threatening to their business model. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t hear much about eHow in the blogs. And while this new solution from Google will allow them to block these farms in their own results, it won’t stop you from seeing these sites in your results. Therefore this solution doesn’t solve their problem.

I like eHow. There I said it. I realize this is completely unpopular, but I do. I like them because within 20 seconds I can get the basics about a certain topic. My days are swamped and I don’t always have time to read through a 1500 word in-depth article. I have used HubPages, AssociatedContent, Mahalo, WrongDiagnosis, Manta, and plenty of the other “how-to” farms within the past year and I find them helpful. I use them just like I sometimes use the USA Today. It is not thought provoking, but it can give me the basics fast. And many times that is all I need.

But I am the only one that finds these sites useful, right? If you read the tech blogs, then you would think that is the case, but I am not. The search term “hubpages”(165,000) gets more google searches than “san francisco chronicle” (135,000). “eHow”(450,000) gets almost as many searches as “time magazine”(550,000). People are obviously seeking out their content no matter what anyone says.

I am not saying that these sites should rank above the new york times, etc and I am not saying that Google doesn’t need to continue to improve their results, but I certainly don’t agree with Arrington’s “If Google was good at search, Demand Media wouldn’t exist.” or MacManus’ “Google needs to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Regardless, I don’t expect the tech media to stop complaining about these content factories though. It is too much in their favor and Google does listen to them.

From BlogWorld Expo Blog: Building Trust Through Social Media

This is an excerpt from a post I wrote on BlogWorld Expo’s blog.

Brands are quickly jumping on the bandwagon of social media, but unfortunately many of them don’t understand the ultimate goal: to build trust with consumers. That’s right: social media isn’t about getting new customers, sales or followers. It’s about showing that your brand is trustworthy and building a relationship with new and potential customers.

Misled Goals
Case in point: I was asking advice on Twitter. A guy representing his brand (I won’t mention him by name) responded with the answer, followed by a request to check out his company. I was instantly turned off. But rather than just ignore it, I decided to call him out.

I responded by telling him I appreciated his answer, but that it wasn’t cool Twittiquette to push his brand at me. He apologized, saying he was new at Twitter. I instantly forgave him and gave him a few tips for building trust on Twitter:

  • Offer links to interesting articles (not necessarily your own)
  • Answer people’s requests for help (he got that right)
  • Engage in and start conversations
  • Get off the topic of your industry and be human!

 

Read the entire post here.