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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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Social Networking Means Socializing

If you’re here, you probably realize the importance of social media. After all, blogging is a great way to get your message out while putting a personal face on your business. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter—these sites represent a conduit to better SEO and a solid recruitment platform for your business. Although we’ve discussed the value of simply signing up in the past, let’s review some great ways to get talking, stay social, and put your social media strategy to work.

Get active. If you’re logging onto Facebook or Twitter only when you have a position to fill, you’ll be staring into a blank space every time. The best recruiters spend time building their network even when they’re full up. Social networking provides some great ways to do that: inviting colleagues and acquaintances to connect, joining professional groups, and building a fanbase by offering smart posts, links, and content.

Be Generous. Provide advice to fans and professionals alike, and check in every so often with a genuine, “how are you”? Becoming a resource is the number one way to attract attention in the world of social media—and in the case of sites like LinkedIn, more attention means better access to qualified candidates.

Stay Current. Update your business’ profile with links to your personal and company homepages, provide an email address, and keep information up-to-date. Staying relevant keeps you foremost in the minds of potentially perfect candidates—and after all, isn’t that what we’re after?

Signing off for now,

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!

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Black Friday and Your Recruitment Drive

There’s such a thing as a “hot new deal!” when it comes to hiring initiatives. Though it doesn’t involve catalogues and bright red callouts, it’s your job as an HR representative to fill important positions. From your perspective, you want the best and the brightest pool of applicants to make the most intelligent decision and hire an outstanding employee. As a potential hire, what this opening means to them is this: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Like Black Friday deals, it’s your job to communicate to employees-to-be these great career opportunities. The good news is that there’s a lot of new mediums open these days. Radio and newspaper advertising is still effective, but adding to the mix is also special Twitter announcements and Facebook wall messages. These social media avenues are often more effective in that job openings extend beyond your fans’ listings because of the way people share information—privately, publically, through messages behind the scenes.

Consider also landing pages on websites, press releases, and paid advertising on sites your target demographics frequent. With some planning and hiring initiative, you could find yourself with stampedes of qualified applicants—without having to wake up at 4 in the morning.

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The Logistics of Going Social

You’d love to get in on this social media thing, but you just don’t have the time. With the amount of material to read and digest, and a laundry list of “to-do’s”, it’s easy to keep putting off the bits and parts that make a successful online strategy. Here’s an approach to get you started.

Companies need to take a different route than individuals when establishing themselves on Twitter and Facebook. Not only do you have different setup routes (such as Facebook, where you need to list your company as a business instead of as a person), but you’ll need to include more information. One tip is to collect this data ahead of time. Choose an associate to manage the account. List their email address as the primary holder. Collect the following snippets: your organization’s contact information, your physical address, your telephone number, your blog address (if you have one), hours of business, and a brand image to display. You’ll need this when setting up a Facebook account, and you can even elect to use some of this in your Twitter account, too. Launching a complete social media profile helps to avoid being mis-categorized for a few days by popular search engines, and allows you to begin producing meaningful content immediately.

Once you’re set up, decide on an updating strategy. And you do want to update. Not only is social media a great way to maintain SEO and draw in customers, it’s an opportunity to promote content and change your voice, even stepping away from the traditional brand of your own product. Social media provides a chance to re-invent yourself with a fresh voice, and that’s a project few organizations can afford to pass up.

Signing off for now,

Buyer Advertising
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Twitter Tips for Turkey Time

As a growing business (or a company yearning to get bigger), you’re actively invested in social media. It’s a great, untapped resource for potential hires and customers-to-be. Unless traditional mediums, however, it’s a finicky realm. Attention spans are at a minimum, and the Internet represents a land where advertising of any sort is chastised. Here are a few tips as you ease into the holidays that can get you more followers on Twitter—and in the process, more business
potential.

1. Post at least once a week. Activity keeps you relevant in the mighty eyes of Google.

2. List ways to connect with other parts of your business. For example, a link where your fans can sign up for your newsletter.

3. Share useful articles, videos, and links to resources that can directly benefit your customer.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or for fresh ideas—it keeps your fan base interested and interactive.

5. Post recent work or ongoing collaborations. Even if you’re a resource for your fans, they still don’t mind hearing (occasionally) about what’s going on in that office of yours.

6. Actively network. Find similar companies and message them. Identify client bases, and do what you can to tap into them.

7. Offer discounts. Better yet, offer discounts only available to your Facebook fans.

Till next time,
Buyer Advertising
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Measuring Your Online Hiring Campaign

It’s a bit of a challenge even using traditional media: gauging the success of a hiring campaign. Throw in the relative new-ness of social media and the oft-lacking tracking tools from the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and you can rapidly find yourself launching hiring campaigns in the dark. Without reliable methods of tracking you investment, it’s hard to say if your social media hiring efforts are paying off. There are ways to assess what you invest, however.

The most important thing to remember is that an online hiring campaign isn’t strictly a game of numbers. You’ve furthering your employer brand. You’re increasing engagement. You’re disseminating information about your place of business. To evaluate effectiveness, you need to look at traditional online metrics including page views, landing page visits (if you’ve set up your system that way), and fan/follower counts. Actual conversions or hires remains a solid method to determine whether your campaign is working or not.

New, Web 2.0-savvy ways of tracking your hiring efforts include counting the frequency of re-tweets and searching out mentions of your campaign in other “new media” sources such as blogs and on personal posts. Using traditional and emerging metrics, evaluating your campaign makes a shift from quantitative to qualitative, but is still a very real and obtainable goal.

Signing off for now,

Buyer Advertising
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