* "Only connect. . ." E.M. Forster, Howard's End

Friday, September 30, 2011

10 Ways to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile

Social media sites are more popular than ever and with over 100 million users LinkedIn is in the top five most popular. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network and is an extremely resourceful tool for job hunters, recruiters, business owners, etc. Once you sign up for a LinkedIn account, you must create your professional profile. The more effective your profile, the more professionals can find you and connect with you.
Below are ten things you can do to enhance your profile so it is the most effective it can be in building your network of connections.
1. Complete the Profile – This is very important in that you do not want a half-done, unprofessional profile. This will not accomplish much in the way of building your network of connections. Complete each section, completely and professionally to make the most of your online professional identity. According to LinkedIn, you are 40% more likely to be found in a LinkedIn search with a 100% completed profile as opposed to one that is not completely finished.
2. Always Use a Photo – There are many people who do not want to use photos for various reasons, but you need to post a photo on your LinkedIn profile to get more results. You do not have to have a professionally taken photo, but you do want it to look professional. People will be more likely to remember your profile, if you present a photo of yourself. Photos can also increase the chances of people trusting you.
3. Use a Persuasive Headline – Don’t just plaster your name and title as your profile headline. Add a short slogan or benefit you provide. Compare the two headlines below and decide which one would capture your interest more.
Jane Doe
Virtual Assistant
Jane Doe
Virtual Assistant – I will free up your time and grow your business.
You don’t even have to add your title, you can just stress the benefits you provide or the skills you possess. Use something that makes you the one to choose.
4. List Your Websites – Be sure to add your URL and/or blog to your profile. You can add up to three urls. Customize the tiles of your links as opposed to My Site, My Blog, etc. You can do this by choosing the “Other” category in the Edit Profile section.
5. Get Recommendations – Having people give you recommendations will increase your

Thursday, September 29, 2011

How Many Apps Are Too Many?

80% of tablet apps are discovered through app stores

The tablet app marketplace is expanding quickly—the Apple App Store alone has more than 90,000 apps for the iPad. Although many marketers are rushing to get their tablet apps to market, usage data indicates that consumers regularly use a limited number of apps.
Moreover, the number of apps a mobile device owner has downloaded does not necessarily reflect app usage. Among tablet owners who have downloaded just a few apps, 95% said they use them on a regular basis, according to GfK MRI. Only 37% of tablet owners who have downloaded 10 or more apps regularly use them, and that percentage shrinks further when users own more than 20 apps.

Regular Tablet App Usage Among US Tablet Owners, by Apps Installed, 2011 (% of respondents)

Tablet app usage largely mirrors smartphone app usage. According to a study by IDG Global Solutions (IGS), the majority of mobile phone owners use fewer than 7 apps on a regular basis. Only 17% of respondents said they regularly use more than 10 apps.

Number of Apps Used Regularly by Mobile Phone Owners Worldwide, April 2011 (% of respondents)

Certain app categories receive more traction than others. According to ISG, general news is the most commonly downloaded app category, followed by social media. Gaming, IT news and instant messaging are also popular tablet apps. App stores, while becoming more populated by the day, are still the best source of app discovery. According to GfK MRI, 80% of tablet apps are discovered through app stores.
Although mobile apps are the marketing trend du jour, marketers should not discount the mobile web as a channel to reach tablet and smartphone users. A survey of smartphone users by Yahoo! andIpsos found that activities like shopping and searching were considered better suited for browsers while social media, maps and information were more commonly accessed through apps.
Further, according to IGS, using mobile applications is the third most common activity on a tablet. Web browsing is the most common content-related activity on tablet devices and reading emails is a close second.

Content Activities of Tablet Owners Worldwide, April 2011 (% of respondents)

Marketers must be wary of the fierce competition to capture an on-the-go consumer’s attention. While apps for both smartphones and tablets deliver unique experiences and solid opportunities for engagement, consumers have a limited bandwidth for consumption. Marketers should first consider their target audience and their mobile habits and activities before bringing an app to market.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Facebook’s ‘Subscribe’ Button Offers Additional Exposure to Marketers

Although Facebook is quick to deny the charges, recent changes in functionality seem to mirror those employed by Google’s social network, Google+, which recently threw its doors wide open to the public.

While many have been quick to compare one network to the other, conceptually, they are quite different. Whereas Facebook has been great at connecting with friends on a one-to-one basis, it has not really been geared for gaining many followers. And unless you had a Business Page, which Facebookers could fan, building a following restricted one to a tedious process of asking to be added as a friend and waiting, all the while hoping that too many requests were not picked up by Facebook leading to the profile being banned.

Thus, doing business on the world’s largest social network became a game of chance until, that is, competition arrived. Now all of a sudden, changes are happening once again. Facebook -  having seen the light and realised that as a brand or a marketer you may want people to follow you and you may not have the time and energy to run a Facebook Profile and a Facebook Business Page - has introduced Facebooksubscriptions.

The idea is simple enough. Go to https://www.facebook.com/about/subscribe and click on ‘Allow Subscriptions’. Anyone who comes across your profile and thinks they’d like to follow you can simply subscribe to your feed. The person subscribing has total freedom in what they would like to subscribe to: pictures, links, public posts and so on. And you, as the Profile owner, can also control what you allow people to subscribe to.

As an idea, this is quite revolutionary for Facebook, which seems to have been intent on segregating its membership base in ever tighter circles of contact. It also takes a leaf out of the functionality Google+ is based on, whereby you can circle anyone you like and keep up with their

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

4 Mistakes Marketers Make With QR Codes

Question: How do we become cool and trendy inbound marketers?
Answer: Try QR codes.
Response: Hooray! We’ll put a QR code on our website today.
(Weeks later...)
Question: What were your results?
Answer: Uh…?
There are a few problems with this interaction, and many modern marketers are facing them today. QR codes are quickly integrating into marketing efforts as a tool for leading consumers to some online destination: a website, blog, social media account, etc. As a quick reminder, QR codes are simply 2D barcodes that can be scanned using a smartphone reader application. Your mobile browser will then direct you to the linked site.
However, many are making small mistakes that make an immense impact on their strategy—or lack thereof. Here are four mistakes to avoid when braiding QR codes into your marketing efforts.

1. Using QR Codes Online

QR literally stands for quick response. Making a QR code your Facebook picture, Twitter icon, or posting one on your blog isn't exactly creating a situation for a quick response. Instead, doing so asks visitors to take out their smartphone, open the reader application, scan the item, and then see the link open in a separate mobile browser. For such online platforms, just use a link. There’s no need to get fancy when a simple link can navigate the consumer from one site to the other faster. One of the best ways to leverage QR codes is in places where your audience is already on the go and only has access to their smartphone, like when they're out and about and away from their desktop or laptop computers.
Think of QR codes as a tactic that just falls under the mobile marketing umbrella rather than marketing as a whole. To learn more ways to effectively utilize these nifty little 2D barcodes, check out these 5 useful ecommerce applications of QR codes.

2. Ignoring Traffic Sources

Let’s imagine you’ve developed this brilliant plan that includes an awesome QR code as a tactic. The idea is unique, the execution is strong, and the feedback is positive. But is it actually doing something? To assess whether or not your QR code is even effective, you need to track where your traffic is coming from, as well as how much traffic is actually produced.
Instead of generating the QR code with a direct link to the landing page of your choice, use bitly.com to shorten your link, and use that version instead. Bitly allows you to analyze how many clicks (in this case, scans) that shortened link received. Now you will have data detailing how many people scanned the code, on what day they scanned it, and which country they scanned from. (The latter would be helpful if your campaign included an international audience.) For more information about creating tracking URLs, check out the "Marketer’s Guide to Tracking Online Campaigns."

3. Linking to Boring Web Pages

Where are you sending people with your QR code? Your first goal with a QR code is to give people an amalgam of curiosity and desire to take the moment to scan. Once those two aspects are fulfilled, there better be some form of customized content for them to discover. One method could include posting a special YouTube video and making it exclusive to QR code scanners only by selecting the “unlisted” sharing option, which means only people with the link to the video can view it. Now, you have exclusive video as an incentive for anyone who scans the QR code.
One major mistake people make when linking QR codes to URLs is in linking to their general website's homepage. Make the most out of the code scanner's experience by instead creating customized landing pages to point the code to. There, you can provide instructions on what the user should do next or use the page to offer them a discount or another offer.

4. Linking to a "Web Page Unavailable"

Whatever you do, do not send people to a web page that reads, “Page Cannot Be Displayed,” or “Web Page Unavailable.” In other words, check to ensure you’re linking to a mobile-optimized website. For example, websites built on Flash are not encrypted to open on a mobile browser. Test and check that your code works well on mobile devices before plastering it everywhere.

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/25605/4-Mistakes-Marketers-Make-With-QR-Codes.aspx#ixzz1YhOvHroO

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Prepare Yourselves: Facebook To Be Profoundly Changed

Facebook is driven by a single, unique goal. Its priority isn’t to gain more users (it already has 750 million of those), nor does it feel compelled to find stupid ways to increase pageviews. Its primary goal right now isn’t to increase revenue, either — that will come later.
No, Facebook’s goal is to become the social layer that supports, powers and connects every single piece of the web, no matter who or what it is or where it lives. On Thursday at its f8 conference in San Francisco, the world’s largest social network will take a giant leap toward accomplishing that goal.
I have seen what Facebook is launching on Thursday, and it’s going to change the world of social media. And while I won’t talk about the mind-boggling things Facebook will be launching, I will say this: The Facebook you know and (don’t) love will be forever transformed. The news that will come out of Facebook during the next few weeks will be the biggest things to come out of the company since the launch of the Facebook Platform.
For Facebook, it all boils down to one problem: emotion. Facebook has hundreds of millions of users and spectacular levels of engagement, but it is a platform that has lost its emotional resonance over the years. More and more people visit Facebook out of necessity rather than desire. It’s a platform people prefer to hate, but won’t leave simply because all their friends are there.
It’s a relationship gone stale. After years of dating, the magic between Facebook and its users has dissipated. It’s a natural evolution in any relationship, but now there is another suitor vying for Facebook’s users. And a lot of people think this suitor is easy on the eyes.
That’s why Facebook launched three recent changes: revamped Friend Listsa real-time news ticker, and thesubscribe button. Friend Lists lets you share content with just your closest friends (with whom you have the strongest emotional connection), and the ticker lets you have real-time conversations with your friends as soon as they do anything. Subscribe lets you fill your News Feed with people you admire and respect, fostering a different type of emotional connection.
But these changes are just the beginning. The changes Facebook will roll out on Thursday are designed to enhance the emotional connection its users have to each other through Facebook. These changes will make Facebook a place where nearly everything in your life is enhanced by your social graph. These changes will make it so you know your friends better than you ever thought you could.
On Thursday, developers will be elated, users will be shellshocked and the competition will look ancient. On Thursday, Facebook will be reborn. Prepare yourselves for the evolution of social networking.
While we wait for Facebook’s big reveal, here’s a look at the changes to the News Feed that the social network already rolled out that have lots of users talking:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

How To Use Social Media To Promote Your Small Business

You have a small business and you haven’t bought into the social media craze? Guess what? Silence is no longer an option. People are online talking about your company as you read this, whether you like or not.  If you don’t engage in the conversation, you risk losing your customers. But maybe you don’t have a choice as many small airports do in the State of California and across the United States. Many are owned by cities who don’t give them a dime and yet take money whenever they please. Those city managers force their airport managers to jump through hoops and political red tape to be able to promote their facilities. These airport managers have their hands tied in dealing with counties which just recently decided to launch a website, let alone a social media marketing strategy. So, I was asked by Michael McCarron, Public Information Office for San Francisco International Airport, to speak to the managers of small airports through California about the benefits of having a social media presence, so that they can convince their ‘bosses’ to allow them to open Facebook, Twitter and Google+ accounts, as well as to create blogs.
Here’s part of my presentation. I hope it helps you with your online social media strategy. If You have more ideas, please share them in the comments section at the bottom of the post. The more ideas, the better.
1. ASSESS YOUR ASSETS: The first action you should take before engaging in online marketing or social media marketing and engagement is to look at what are you’re trying to promote. What are your assets? Who are your target customers? It may seem obvious. But, A Bay Area airport had small planes for rent. But business was slow because they were simply targeting pilots trying to rack-up hours. Turns out there was a larger audience they could target through social media, tourists looking for aerial Bay Area tours. Business took-off.
2. SIGN-UP FOR SOCIAL MEDIA: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn. Facebook allows you to create a business page.  Make sure you read the rules for businesses first. You can even ‘create a page’ through your personal account, if your business allows you to do so. That makes it easy for small business owners to manage it. On LinkedIn, every employee becomes your best advocate.
3. FIND A SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: Managing multiple social networks is daunting. So, before you start posting content, requesting friends and adding followers, sign-up for a social media manager such as Ping.fm and HootSuite. It allows you to manage all of your accounts on one site and schedule your messages to deploy so you don’t have to sit over it all day. It also allows you to review the success of the tweets real-time with click-through statistics. And you can gather all the mentions of your brand, industry or search terms on Twitter through it as well. That’s for the free version. I suggest trying that first. As you get more involved in social media, I prefer SproutSocial.com. You have a choice on plans for nine-dollars to $49. There’s a 30-day free trial to make sure it works for you. What I like is that it allows you to take all of those you follow and the followers and create contacts out of them which you can manage in the system and track engagement. It also has one inbox for all of your messages from all the networks. Plus, it allows you to track check-ins at FourSquare and Gowalla.
4. POST UPDATES: It’s important to have content on your social media pages before you start

Friday, September 23, 2011

5 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Page

Are you maximizing the marketing power of your Facebook page?  Want to know how?
Keep reading…
There are several lesser-realized features on and around your Facebook page that can be optimized to best reflect your brand.
Let’s break down your page visually into 5 major parts to understand best how to optimize your Facebook page:
The tips below will encompass advice about how to optimize areas #1-5 shown above, including taking a look at the featured photos, left-side links panel, impressions and feedback on the wall, featured likes, and wall tab display.

#1: Featured Photos

Any photo you upload to your page automatically flies up to the featured photo feed, a row of 5 photos that will change position every time a visitor lands on the page. We’ve seen examples of some brands getting creative with this panel and using it for branding. But because you have to account for the pictures changing order each time the profile is refreshed, you might need to come up with branding imagery that remains consistent no matter what order it’s viewed in.
Because any pictures you upload automatically go into the strip, including wall photos that you upload as part of a status update, the only way to remove photos is to manually delete them from the strip as you see them appear. This will not remove them from your albums, only from the top of your profile. User-uploaded photos will not go into the strip.
It’s worthwhile to consider how you want the strip to appear to your visitors. A collection of random photos of people in the distance may not grab visitors’ attention. Optimizing the photos in the strip and selecting only closeup shots of your employees or your products may give you a new opportunity to engage visiting users.
Let’s look at some examples of interesting uses of the photo strip by brands:
Hanes uses their photo strip as advertising space to promote a giveaway on their page. This serves to grab attention of users visiting the wall and works any way the pictures get ordered. It also promotes further activity within the Hanes page—telling users to click on another tab on that page in order to participate.

steve madden
Steve Madden's fan page also gives special treatment to the 5-photo strip. Here, the photos are used to depict new items from that season's collection, as well as a 30% off sale that's happening. Again, it's worthwhile to note that no matter in which order the pictures appear, the message in the strip remains clear.

#2: The Left-Side Links Panel

All Facebook pages have a panel of links on the left-side navigation which, when clicked, open the application in tab view, right in the fan page.
Every fan page comes with 3 default applications native to the Facebook platform: Wall, Info, and Photos. Of those 3, only Photos is removable—Wall and Info are mandatory to maintain a page.
You can install as many other applications to your page as you want, of course. Most will either be third-party applications like promotions or applications you create yourself using iFrames.
It’s important to note that there is a concept of above or below the fold within the links panel: only 8 links are visible to visitors at first. To see more, users need to click “More,” and that’s something we can’t always count on people to do. For this reason, you want to make sure you’re displaying the most important tabs above the fold, in the top 8 links.
Below is an example of a page, for the North Face, where some of the most interesting tabs are hidden below the fold, a result of which may be that scores of users might not stick around long enough to find and engage with them:
the north face
This is the North Face page for all new visitors. The first 8 left-panel links are displayed, along with the "More" function to display the rest.

the north face
On expansion of the links panel, we can see that North Face actually has 3 additional custom applications hidden below the fold.
When the “More” button is clicked on the North Face page, 3 additional tabs are revealed, all of which are custom-created, including the one pictured above. This tab contains a well-designed interactive page with video.
While there have not yet been studies conducted to see how many users click “More” when viewing rows of links in a panel, we can assume there would be significant dropoff, leading this page to have lowered exposure, and become a marketing effort lost on many users who never see it.
The good news is that it’s very easy to change the order of how the links appear in the panel. When you’re logged in as administrator of the page, you’ll see an option to “Edit” right underneath the links. Once you click, you’ll notice that the editable links gray out and can be dragged up and down to change their placement, or deleted outright from the panel.

#3: Rolling Feedback

When you’re logged in as an administrator of your page(s), Facebook displays handy rolling feedback with every post you make. This makes it very easy to see trends of interaction on your page by content type, time of day or frequency. This also makes it easier for you to assess how you’re doing over time (rather than analyzing these particular traits inside “Insights,” which doesn’t show what type of message it was, like a post with a photo, or a post containing a hyperlink).
The numbers won’t show for approximately 12 hours after you post, as the EdgeRank algorithm is still working to determine how much reach your post will get. Once a baseline reach has been determined, according to the initial hours of popularity your post has garnered, the numbers will show up and can change over time as more (or fewer) people interact with your page.
Let’s assess some trends I can learn about the fan page I administer for Wildfire Interactive in the

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Promoting Your Business Through Social Media

Social media has made a revolutionary change, and it is everywhere today. Wherever you go, you will find people talking about expanding their brands through social media marketing. Everyone is planning different strategies for online brand management to increase their business.

The common SEO tactics like keywords usage, content and proper HTML code are being used by companies to hold and guarantee the best possible search engine positions. However, in this competitive era, SEO techniques are just not enough for online brand management.

To compete with companies, brand managers must know how to protect their brands so that they will rank high in search engine results. They must be aware of the recent tools and trends that are used for optimizing your brand locally and internationally.

Social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have helped most companies gain more clients, and without social network marketing, it would not even be possible for many of them to have much success. If you're looking for a way for your business to benefit from social networking, and if you are unsure where to start, it is perhaps best to speak with an application development company that can help you. It's never too late to start using this form of marketing for your business.

The Importance of Posting Worthy Content:
You will be amazed to know that if a company's facebook page is filled with negative comments

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to build customer loyalty in Facebook

ustomer loyalty is definitely one of the most essential things that your business can possess. If you have loyal customers, they will buy from you, they re going to say good things regarding your business and they’ll tell each one of their friends and family about you and your business.
How do you get to that point where everyone wants to help you succeed? Can there be a magic button for that? No, it is hard work. Here are a few things that you should do to get that customer loyalty using Facebook:
Interact with Your Clients Frequently
If you would like loyal customers, it is important for you to communicate with them. How do you do this on Facebook?
First, it is imperative that you have a fan page that’s open and available to everyone. Additionally you need to update your page continually and as you you receive questions or comments from your customers, it is important for you to respond. It is important for you to let people realize that there is a real person behind that cute logo.
You can establish groups in Facebook to interact with similar customer groups at one time. The more you communicate and connect with your customers, the more loyal they will become.
Post the Proper Type of Content on Your Facebook Page
It’s very important that you put the proper kind of content on your Facebook page. Your articles should contain details about your business that will benefit customers the most. Rather then writing just what is of interest to you and your

Sunday, September 18, 2011

LINKEDIN Marketing Database: Should your LinkedIn Profile be in 1st or in 3rd person?

I spend hundreds of hours on LinkedIn every month researching, testing, tweaking and seeing what works and what doesn’t – and that’s on top of the hours I spend marketing my business and my clients’ businesses on LinkedIn. So in a week’s time I view thousands of different professional profiles.
I see people who write their profile in 1st person. Others will write in 3rd person. Even the LinkedIn marketing experts say different things when it comes to whether or not you should write your LinkedIn profile summary in first person or third person
So, today with this article, I am putting the debate to rest. I’m giving you the definitive answer to whether you should write your profile in 1st person or 3rd person – along with the reasons why.
7 Reasons to Put Your LinkedIn Profile in 1st Person and Not 3rd Person
Reason #1:
When you write your LinkedIn profile in 3rd person it reads like a boring resume and seems very technical. Or, it can sound like you are writing a biography which is not very personal or interesting. It does not give the reader a true idea of who you are as a business person, thought leader or individual.
Reason #2:
When you write your LinkedIn profile in 1st person it says to the reader that “I have character and confidence in my abilities. I’m willing to tell you in my own voice.” It tells the reader that you actually wrote your profile in your own words and took the time to personalize it.
Here is an example from one of my clients, Dan Janal, who took the time to pay attention to detail when writing his profile:
“Imagine being featured on the front page of USA TODAY — and then being able to double your speaking fees immediately just like PR LEADS client Patrick Snow of Creating Your Own Destiny. Imagine the website traffic and sales you can generate if only you can find a way to get more publicity so you can speak to millions for free!
Now, small business owners, solo PR firms, speakers, authors and entrepreneurs can get name-brand publicity tools and publicity coaching they can afford. I’m talking about the same top-tier publicity tools that major corporations use to get mega media placements – but you can get it at a fraction of their cost.
For example, my PRLEADS.com service puts you in touch with reporters who are writing articles and need to find expert sources like you! We’re talking journalists from big name publications and media outlets like The Wall Street Journal, CNN, and Redbook.”
You can read Dan’s entire profile at:
Reason #3:
When you write your LinkedIn profile in 3rd person you create an automatic disconnect. It’s too distant and pompous. And, it automatically makes me think of the back cover bio of an author in a book.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

7 tips for better email marketing

In this fast paced world of ours, everyone is trying to gain a foothold on your business via e-mail. It is becoming more and more difficult to ensure that the e-mail from you is read and not tossed directly into the SPAM file or simply deleted. With the advent of social media sites, e-mails have become more prevalent and the practices have become trickier to get business owners to open them and read them. Here are a few tips that may help you improve your open rates in your email marketing program:
1. Subject Line – Imagination is the key here in getting someone to open your email based on the subject line. Often people make the subject so long that you get bored just reading it or it is too dull and lacks appeal. The trick is to use something unique that will stand out in a crowded inbox. The best approach is to be creative while maintaining relevancy to the content of your email.
2. Who It is From -For those with a name brand like Apple, you should use Apple in the From line rather than a person’s name that may be unknown to the email recipient. This is one of the most important aspects of getting your email opened. If someone doesn’t know the person that is sending the email, the chances of it being opened are much lower. Try something unusual or use your company name (unless your name is Steve Jobs – I imagine his emails get opened very frequently).
3. Less is Better -Don’t overflow with words that lose the recipient. Say it and get it over with. Less is always better. You can send another message later with more information. Remember the KISS approach (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
4. Images Turned Off -Often someone will not turn on images unless you have tweaked their interest. Therefore, make sure that the message will still be delivered without the images being turned on. This is usually a step in the review process if you use an email management system