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Is Google+ a Positive or Negative?

Announced just days ago, Google has fired a shot over the port bow with its newest attempt for a piece of the social media pie. The appropriately-named “Google+” is made on the heels of two rather striking social media failures—Google Buzz and Google Wave—but this time around, the social media universe (yes, that includes the Twitterverse) has high hopes.

Google’s new innovation includes “Circles”, a new feature to counter massive lists of friends that’s the mainstay of Facebook. By dragging and dropping individuals into these customizable groups, users will have a tighter control over who sees what information (or that drunken party picture from last night). A piece of media shared in one circle goes out to all members of that group.

Google+ holds new opportunities for advertisers. With “Sparks”, an integrated feature of this new platform, Google will tailor entertainment information specifically for users based on their lists of interests and activities while logged into the platform. With a more comprehensive analysis of user data, we wouldn’t be surprised to find more targeted opportunities for HR professionals and marketing gurus to pinpoint their target demographic.

Google+ is still undergoing testing, but keep an eye out for future development!

Signing off for now,

Buyer Advertising
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Facebook Events to Remember

Creating an effective strategy on Facebook takes more than just the time to set up your site and fill in relevant information. You need a content plan where you’ll be disseminating helpful tips to your fans, enticing customers with special deals, and doling out entertainment to those who wander through your little spot in the social media space. Another powerful promotional tool on Facebook is events. Using the built-in utility, you can create and promote event happenings in a quick, easy, and very visible way.

1. In order to promote an event, you must first have a business Facebook page. A personal account won’t cut it—you need to have a central portal your attendees can “fan” as part of your registration process.

2. Choose a location that is close to where the majority of your Facebook fans reside. Consider integrating a Tweetup, holding a seminar, or hosting a hiring event for your business

3. Send out invitations. Decide if you want your event to be invitation only, where the only people who can accept and view details are ones you have sent to, or open to all.

Events remain a great way to show that your Facebook page isn’t just for looks—things are happening, and that keeps your brand foremost in the minds of your fans.

Signing off for now,
Buyer Advertising
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SEO, Facebook, and Your Strategy

It may have custom apps, updates from your best friends, and pictures of birthday parties across the globe, but at the end of the day, a Facebook webpage is still a webpage. Businesses maintain a Facebook page for the same reason they keep up a traditional website: to attract customers or potential hires. Therefore, it stands to reason they need keep an eye on SEO, too. If a company is invested in their Facebook strategy, they should keep a close watch on its visibility. Paying attention to a few attributes will help boost your Facebook site’s ranking in search engines, and make your new media plan that much more effective.

1.  Keep current on your content; post at least once a week—more often will get you ranked higher.
2. Stay consistent in your naming—your Twitter and LinkedIn account should all sport the same brand name as your Facebook.
3. Upload media to Facebook including images and video.
4. Get your industry keywords up in the “info” and “about” sections of your page.
5. Investigate events—by hosting an event and promoting it through Facebook, you’re adding another indexable element to your page.

Until next time,
Buyer Advertising
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Monitoring Social Media

At first, it seems like an easy proposition—setting up an account on Facebook or Twitter and keep running updates about your company. After all, millions of teenagers and grandmothers do it every day. But there are unexpected challenges that come with a company staking a claim in new media venues: obstacles that get in the way of maintaining a neat and orderly operation that distributes the content you want while building your own community.

Disruptions to your social media strategy come in two distinct flavors: spam and negative feedback. To manage both, it’s not simply enough to set up static safeguards (ie. fan and comment approval systems); you need to actively police your wall, Twitter feed, or blog comments.
 
Spam can come as supposed fans posting messages on your own wall: solicitations to visit a specific blog or buy prescription medicine online. Oftentimes, spammers will target your industry specifically to lessen the chance that their missive will be detected. As a good policeman of your content, delete all spam messages immediately, and block the spammer from your system. Trust us, you’ll have a cleaner wall in the long run.

While criticism can be constructive, negative or angry feedback on your wall can be distracting and damage your reputation in an online space. By all means, answer questions and do your best to engage your community, but outright “troll” messages should be deleted. If a message is angry but making a valid point, engage a fan in a more personal way using a messaging system, and leave the public drama behind.

Until next time,
Buyer Advertising
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Strategies in Social Media Today

If there was ever any doubt, the question is settled: sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have changed the face of business forever. The ability to connect with customers on an individual basis, to answer questions in real-time, and to provide a meaningful forum for brand interaction has made social media a staple for any truly comprehensive marketing strategy. But it isn’t all rose petals and sunshine. Operating social media venues requires time, talent, and strategy. Here are a few approaches industries are taking today.

Banking – Many banks today are slow in developing social media—and with good reason. Considering the negative attention the industry has received in recent years, it’s quite a chore policing message boards and walls for offensive and possibly damaging content. It’s important for banks to take the reins of new media now, however, rather than later—such as in the case of U.S. Bank and the group U.S. Bank Sucks, a Facebook group for sternly-stated complaints.

Amusement Parks – Although more of a niche industry, amusement parks are fertile ground for customrs to talk to each other and discuss favorite rides, memories, and stories. This is evidenced alone by Disney’s Facebook presence of over 22 million fans. Mascots are big business, too—before Shamu’s Feb. 2010 attack, her tweets were reaching over 10,000. After social media publicized the attack, however, Seaworld suspended the program.

Retail Establishments – Though the potential is there, many retail establishments are struggling to find a role for social media on their own. The reason they give is that there’s a large difference between a shopping experience—what customers encounter when they enter a real-world store—and a buying experience, which includes online sales. Staples and Bloomingdales are two heavy hitters in this field, accumulating millions of followers by actively searching out customer questions and providing helpful answers on Facebook and Twitter.

Signing off for now,

Buyer Advertising

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Strengthen Your New Media Footing With StumbleUpon

Much like Digg, StumbleUpon is a site that’s rapidly gaining popularity. What does this mean for businesses? An opportunity to drive new traffic to your social media sites. StumbleUpon (www.stumbleupon.com) is revolutionary in that it’s a highly personalized experience for every user: as a person votes on what sites he or she likes, the portal picks up on interests and suggests new sites to satisfy their tastes. Think Netflix, only without the monthly fee.

This model is a great business opportunity because, as a business, you have more control over the way your content is presented. Unlike the also-popular Digg.com, registering a site with StumbleUpon is more individualized. You must a) visit a site either through StumbleUpon’s portal or by using their toolbar, and b) type in your URL and then “Thumbs Up” your site.

If you’re the first to register a page on StumbleUpon (say, your company blog), you’re in a very good position. You may set up searchable criteria by listing “topics” that your site covers. You can add tags. You can write a review. You even have the option of naming your site appropriately—something that you might not want to trust to an average web-surfer.
Once your site is in the system, StumbleUpon users can encounter your site if their interests match the particular tags you’ve defined for your page. This is a great feature. By attracting relevant consumers, you’ll be cutting down on spam messages and increasing the odds of generating a dialog concerning your subject material: the Holy Grail for social media content managers.

StumbleUpon is up and coming, and a great diversion for Internet surfers. Turn their rec time into face time for your organization.

Till next time,
Buyer Advertising
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Crowdsourcing: Part 1

It’s not your fault: as a business, you’re stuck a in a service mindset. You build social media networks to offer industry insight to your customers and provide them with an exceptional selection of products and services. It’s what staying in business is all about: serving your customer. But by ignoring the larger potential of social media—a vehicle to help you out in the process, you could be missing out on a source of potential marketing and, yes, revenue.

The power of many is the opportunity crowdsourcing provides. Simple stated, crowdsourcing is tapping into a large group of people at once, through the power of the Internet, to help with a question or challenge you’re facing. Companies like Mountain Dew have, in the past, used their social media network to let fans vote on the new look of their brand. Meanwhile, businesses like Kickstarter tap their audiences to raise funds for good causes. Companies have also been known to call on their fans directly for creative talent or to find leads.

At the same time, you want to be smart when it comes to tapping your audiences. Don’t give away more information than you’d like about your current strategy, and don’t reveal clients that would prefer to stay anonymous. And remember—this goes for double if you’re a publically-traded company—never admit you’re in dire need of help. Keep it positive, remain excited for new opportunities that your own personal crowd can bring you, and await (and hopefully receive!) some powerful results.

Signing off for now,

Buyer Advertising
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Building a Community

With recent changes to the way search engines like Google return results, and as a necessary step in the evolution of hiring strategies, social media is unmatched. Every day, we see companies like Progressive and Staples use their Facebook collective buying power of thousands to increase sales revenue—not to mention to exist as a powerful well of talent to draw upon. You recognize Facebook’s role in your own ability to stay competitive. But how do you get started? For those beginning from scratch, here are a few tips to steer you down the right path.

Don’t Market. Social media is a whole different species from traditional channels. When you’re deciding what to write in the omni-present “update” box, steer clear of anything that promotes your business. “Friends” are not customers, and they can smell a pitch a mile away. Stick to content that benefits them, not yourself.

Start Right. First rule of social media: empty fan lists tend to empty unless acted upon by an outside force. Ask friends and employees help “seed” your fan list to get you started. If your new fans like what they read, they just may invite friends of their own.

Lighten Up. All work and no play makes Jack… well, you know the saying. Facebook and its ilk are mediums of leisure—therefore, part of your posting strategy should be to entertain your fanbase. Try a few techniques and see what works best.

Happy hunting,

Buyer Advertising
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Trend Watch: A Facebook “Terms” Page

If you thought the untamed realm of social media is (or should be) free of legalese, think again. A growing trend for companies—especially large businesses—is to create a set of their own “terms and conditions” for Internet pedestrians to scan before becoming a follower of their Facebook page.

The extra steps companies are adding to the process of joining your online crew are (supposedly) for good reason. Take the fansite of Progressive’s new mascot, “The Messanger.” Before a patron becomes a fan, they are prompted to read specialized terms and conditions before clicking that “like” button. One excerpt reads, “You agree that you will not submit Content or otherwise use the Page in any manner that would interfere with or damage the Page, including, without limitation, through the use of viruses, cancel bots, Trojan horses, harmful code, flood pings, denial of service attacks, packet or IP spoofing, forged routing or electronic mail address information or similar methods or technology.”
In other words, don’t spam up the boards or try to scam our fans out of personal information and/or life savings.

So, should your company take the time to create and display a “terms and conditions” section for your Facebook page? In the short term, it’s difficult to see how a simple page of text would stop scammers and fraudsters, many of whom live far outside the boundaries of English-speaking countries in the first place, from posting fake login mirrors and advertisements for prescription medicine. However, as the legal issues and rights ascribed to social media firm up, having a terms page could be an important tool in policing your company’s digital rights. Worth a consideration, anyhow.

See you next time,

Buyer Advertising
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Social Media Strategizing for 2011

It’s a new year, and your company has a new focus: bringing in business by utilizing New Media. It’s no easy task. Considering that sites like Facebook and Twitter are only a scant few years old, determining tactics for these new mediums is a hazy enterprise at best.

Companies are still figuring out the strategies that work for their line of business. But whether you sell shoes or jet engines, there are two goals you should have in mind: increasing the number of followers, and provide ways they can pick up what you’re offering.

That is to say, of course, that your tactics shouldn’t necessarily reflect your goals. After all, pitching offers to your fanbase one after another is a surefire way to lose your audience in a hurry. If there’s one thing that 2010 has to teach us, it’s that large companies don’t necessarily translate into successful online powerhouses. Small organizations can get it right, too.

At the risk of oversimplifying, one great strategy is simple: don’t be boring. The most successful businesses in the world may have their message down to a science, but that doesn’t mean you can robotic about disseminating it. People aren’t machines. Remain personal, laid back, even humorous. Offer content real people can use—not just CEOs. Cater to the casual. And stay interactive. Join us this year as we explore social media in detain, including ways for you to strike it big in the world of social media.

Best wishes for the new year!

Buyer Advertising
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