While there is no doubt whatsoever that you should be leveraging the awesome power of social media, you probably are challenged about finding the time to fit your marketing efforts into a busy day crammed with numerous other things that need to be done.
Here are 5 steps that will help you streamline your social media marketing efforts:
1. Make the most of your multimedia: If you have images and videos for your online business, which hopefully you do, don’t overlook any opportunity to incorporate these things into your social media presence. For example, imbed your videos into your blog and on Facebook using the YouTube Box. You can also feed images from Flickr into your Facebook using the My Flickr app.
2. Save time by feeding a post into multiple social channels by using Ping.fm. It’s free and it is a huge timesaver for you!
3. Get your blog posts out there to reach more people by using a feed burner such as Feedburner.com. This is a 100% free service and will work wonders to maximize your blog! Feed your blog to your Facebook page and other social sites when possible. Twitter, with its 140 character limit, is not an ideal platform for your average blog posts, but you can practice some micro-blogging.
4. Maximize your social web presence by integrating your social media tools. For instance, if you plan on hosting a free webinar, use Facebook’s application that will allow you to post your social event calendar. How you integrate and which tools and apps you will use depends on your niche to some extent, but if you look around through the existing apps on your social sites, you will find some that are useful for your business.
5. Use one of the free services available online to help get the stats on your social media marketing ROI, or Return on Investment. There are a slew of these services to be had, and Google Analytics is one of the best!
These 5 simple steps will enable you to streamline your social media marketing efforts!
If you have a home dropshipping business or other ecommerce enterprise, you should think about using one or more of the free tools available online to monitor your internet reputation.
As the old saying goes: Bad news travels like wildfire, good news travels slow.
Rest assured that at some point, people will be talking about your business and/or products online. It is vital that you keep an ear to the ground to hear what is being said—the good, the bad and the ugly.
By staying abreast of the current buzz about your business, you can practice a lot of damage control if necessary, as well as get in some great public relations by demonstrating that you do listen to what your customers are saying about you and that you are responsive to whatever is being said.
Even if there is a complaint about your business or product, by addressing the matter promptly and taking the necessary steps to solve the problem for a customer, others will see that you are trustworthy.
Being trustworthy is a big part of the battle in internet transactions!
Here are two FREE tools that will help you to monitor your online reputation:
- Social Mention: From the website: “Social Mention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user generated content from across the universe into a single stream of information. It allows you to easily track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, a new product, or any topic across the web’s social media landscape in real-time. Social Mention monitors 100+ social media properties directly including: Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, Google etc.”
- Addict-o-matic: This handy tool allows you to keep up with what is being said about you, plus gives you the buzz on everybody else! It’s a great way to monitor your own online reputation as well as see what is being said about the competition, and also keep up with the hottest topics online.
These free tools will be invaluable to you when it comes to keeping a close eye on your online reputation!
If you are like most ecommerce business people, you are always receptive to new services, tools and ideas that will help you streamline the running of your home business and accomplish more in less time, which is what Wibiya might do for you.
What is Wibiya?
Wibiya is a FREE web toolbar that has a lot of great functions!
For example, you can use Wibiya to integrate your Twitter and Facebook presence.
Or, you might use it to increase page views:
- Engage readers and raise page views with apps such as Latest Posts, Real Time Users, and More…
- Gain traffic from the social web
- Track your traffic growth through simple analytics tools
Wibiya may also be used to communicate with your readers.
- Broadcast messages, alerts and more to all your visitors in real time
- Share your latest tweets with your readers in real time
- Participate in live chat rooms with your audience
There are a lot of different Power Tools that you may use, too!
- Discover a growing range of applications to enrich your readers experience
- Full tracking and management system for each application and effectiveness to your website
- Add and remove applications in just one click
Wibiya has tons of apps that do all sorts of handy things:
- Live Notifications
- Photo Gallery
- Twitter Dashboard
- Facebook Fan Page
- Random Post
- Real Time Users
- Navigation Links
- Smart Share
- Content Timeline
- YouTube Video Gallery
- Facebook Recommendations
- Facebook Activity Feed
- Facebook Like Button
- Twitter Anywhere
- Google Buzz
Adding Wibiya will let you choose from a wide variety of tools and features, and it’s absolutely FREE.
Wibiya was started in 2008 in Israel, and is growing fast.
They welcome web developers and new apps!
In this hectic age, we all seem to have more to do every day than we have time to get done. So, having a free service such as Wibiya to help as a time saver makes running a home dropship business a little bit easier.
If you are like most ecommerce entrepreneurs, you are constantly seeking ways to improve your social media marketing efforts, and the new Google Moderator might just be an innovation you will want to get in on!
What is Google Moderator?
Here it is, straight from the Google website:
- Let your audience decide. Get to know your audience by letting them decide which questions, suggestions or ideas interest them most.
- Everyone’s voice is heard. The voting box at the top of page focuses attention on submissions recently added and on the rise, making it simple and easy to participate.
- Be creative. Include people in your preparation for lectures, interviews and hard decisions or work together to organize feature requests and brainstorm new ideas.
So, what does this mean for you and any future YouTube videos you make?
Basically, it gives you something that is golden right now in the virtual world of the internet: the ability to allow users to interact! Internet research has shown that online users have a strong desire to interact.
The Google Moderator gives them this option of interactivity. From the YouTube blog:
“YouTube is about starting a conversation. Every day, hundreds of millions of videos spark dialogues on everything from the future of the African continent, to what should be done about the oil spill to the best slam dunk of all time. But until now, it’s been difficult to harness those free-flowing discussions.
That’s why, starting today, we’ve integrated the ability to use Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Moderator is a versatile, social platform that allows you to solicit ideas or questions on any topic, and have the community vote the best ones up to the top in real-time. We previously used Google Moderator as part of our interviews with President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”
This YouTube video will give you a great understanding of what the Google Moderator does and how to use it:
One of the prime rules for success is to always give the people what they want. Internet users want to interact, so use Google Moderator with your next YouTube video for your online dropship website or other internet business and you’ll be giving your potential customers what they want!
Start your own online dropship business today!
Here is the latest list of contests, sweepstakes, and awards for growing companies. This listing is updated every two weeks and brought to you as a community service by Small Business Trends and Smallbiztechnology.com.
This is the fifth year MarketingSherpa is recognizing Email campaigns that achieved outstanding, measurable results. When you win a MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Award, it means that your Email campaign was the most effective 2009 campaign within its category. MarketingSherpa evaluates the creative, the goals and — most importantly — your results. Details here.
Deluxe will randomly award a $10,000 gift certificate from Target Commercial Interiors featuring HON furniture and a $5,000 DeluxeBucks gift certificate to use toward logo and Web site design, promotional products and additional marketing and branding solutions. Ten second-place winners will receive $500 DeluxeBucks gift certificates. More information here.
Enter by: November 30, 2009
TCBY (the frozen yogurt stores) is holding a competition to give away a brand new TCBY franchise store for FREE. To enter you must:
- Create a video up to 2 minutes long indicating why you should win a TCBY store.
- Complete the application form and submit it with your video.
- Legal residents of the U.S. who are 21 and older are eligible to participate.
Elance Contest: What Does “The New Way To Work” Mean To You?
Enter by: December 7, 2009
This contest from Elance is a chance for contract professionals to show the world their best stuff and win a grand prize of $10,000. If you’re a writer, write a story that tells how you are a part of the “new way to work”. If you’re a graphic designer, design something. Developer? Create an app. Finalists will be chosen by December 7, 2009. Rules and entry instructions are on the Elance blog.
NYC BigApps Competition
Enter by: 5:00pm EST December 8, 2009
The NYC BigApps Competition will reward the developers of the most useful, inventive, appealing, effective, and commercially viable applications for delivering information from the City of New York’s NYC.gov Data Mine to interested users. Winners will be chosen for best overall application — including a grand prize — as well as an investor’s choice winner, a data visualization winner and city talent winner. In addition, the public will be able to choose their own “popular choice” winners through NYCBigApps.com. All the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in January and will receive a total of $20,000 in cash prizes plus dinner with Mayor Bloomberg. The competition is open to individuals, start-up companies and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees.
The DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award winner will be presented with a $10,000 cash prize courtesy of Sam’s Club®. Nominate an outstanding business from your community – or start an application for your own business today for the DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award.
Nominations are due December 18 and applications are due January 15. Information on eligibility, award criteria, levels of recognition, and the program timeline is listed below and available in a printer friendly format here.
The New York Public Library (“NYPL”) and the Citigroup Foundation are sponsoring the first annual New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition for New York-based startup entrepreneurs with cash prizes totaling over $28,000. The New York StartUp! Business Plan Competition gives aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to compete for the top prize, while learning about the comprehensive small business resources at NYPL’s Science, Industry and Business Library (“SIBL”). StartUP! is a competition for legal residents of Manhattan, The Bronx, or Staten Island who aim to start a business based in one of these three boroughs. Visit New York Public Library here for competition details, dates, and entry requirements.
Enter by: December 31, 2009
Winner receives fully-furnished and equipped workspace at one of Regus’ 18 New York City locations, for 12 months.
Entries will be accepted through December 31st, 2009. There is no purchase necessary to enter. To be eligible for consideration, contestants can fill out an entry form online or at participating Regus locations.
As part of the Holiday in a Bag promotion Campaigner is offering a “bag of tools” including holiday email templates and graphics, holiday e-cards, and 100 tips for holiday marketing. They are also offering a drawing for a day of free marketing consultation from Campaigner marketing experts. Sign-up online before January 5, 2010 for the chance to win.
Enter by: January 15, 2010
The “Make Mine a Million $ Business” competition is for businesses organized and doing business in the United States that are at least 50% owned by a woman, who want to grow the business to $1 Million or more in revenue in the next 12 to 18 months.
All applicants who are selected as Finalists must attend the Make Mine a Million event at their own expense and be willing to participate in the coaching program, related public relations events, and promotions for the Make Mine a Million $ Business program and its sponsors and other partners.
Applications for the Make Mine a Million $ Business program are screened by Count Me In staff and a team of banking and financial professionals selected by Count Me In. Applicants with the highest ratings will be selected as Finalists.
At the event, each Finalist will make a three-minute presentation of their business, their qualifications, and how they would benefit from the Program. This elevator pitch is given in front of a live audience and a panel of qualified judges selected by Count Me In. The judges, with input from the audience vote, will select which of the Finalists should be named as award recipients.
Ends January 15, 2010
When you’re traveling this holiday season, you can enjoy free WiFi at 47 participating airports and on every Virgin America flight. Just bring a WiFi-enabled laptop or mobile device and stay connected to family and friends for free while you travel now through January 15, 2010.
Photo Contest – Win cool prizes
Starting Monday, November 16, 2009, you’ll be able to win prizes by submitting a photo of yourself using the WiFi in any participating airport or on a Virgin America flight. In addition to being able to win great stuff, winning photos will be featured on the website. More information about free airport WiFi here.
PLEASE NOTE: The photo contest is vague at this point. And while this contest is not limited to small businesspeople, we thought it and the free WiFi so valuable to traveling entrepreneurs that we decided to point it out.
Intuit’s Love a Local Business Contest
Enter by March 3, 2010
In a nationwide effort to help support the growth of small businesses, Intuit is hosting the “Love a Local Business” sweepstakes. Fans of local small businesses can nominate their favorite hometown haunt, which will make them eligible for a drawing to win a $1,000 Intuit Growth Grant, which includes a $500 Visa gift card and $500 in Intuit business services, such as Intuit Websites and Web Listings. One of those five winning local businesses will receive a grand prize of $5,000!
In addition, each business that is nominated will appear on a custom Google Map displaying favorite businesses from across the country. The more nominations a business has, the more chances they have to win a grant. Intuit has already awarded $55,000 in small business grants, now it’s time to show support for your favorite neighborhood shop! Go to Love a Local Business for more information.
If you are putting on a small business contest, award or competition, and want to get the word out to the community, please email the details to: email@example.com.
To find other small business awards, contests, competitions and grants, visit our Small Business Events Calendar.
Please note: The descriptions provided here are for convenience only and are NOT the official rules. ALWAYS read official rules carefully at the site holding the competition, contest or award.
From Small Business Trends
Small Business Contests and Awards to Apply For
I’m in Vegas. PubCon Las Vegas will kick off later today and unleash an almost unhealthy amount of information on the topics of Internet marketing and social media. In preparation for the next week, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a site “social”. What does it really mean to create a “social media friendly” Web site? And what are the small things SMB owners can do to give themselves a head start?
Here are a few things that jumped out at me. Feel free to add some of your ideas in the comments.
Socially friendly sites are dynamic. That’s what attracts people and draws them in. They don’t want a static site that’s the same each time they visit. They want to engage with sites that are constantly changing. That are fresh. This why doing things like adding a blog, using widgets, and finding ways to bring what you’re doing offsite back on, are so important. Dynamic Web sites attract more links, they encourage users to keep visiting and they give people a reason to engage with you on a more consistent basis. These are all things the search engines are looking at and they’re very important to the success of your site. Make sure you’re adding dynamic content to your site. What makes up dynamic content? Check the blog tomorrow!
Tell me when this sounds familiar:
- You go to comment on a blog but can’t figure out how.
- You want to share a great post on Twitter but don’t feel like shortening the URL yourself.
- You’d like to bookmark a post on Delicious but don’t want to look silly if you use the wrong tags.
- You’d like to email the post to a friend but there’s no option to let you do that.
If you want people to share your content (which you do), make it easy for them to do that. They’re not going to jump through hoops, but if you leave the breadcrumb trail for them, they’ll probably follow it. Be smart by finding ways to integrate Twitter into your site, remove obstacles to comment forms, and removing social barriers wherever you can. If you’re on WordPress, familiarize yourself with essential WP plugins to that will make your site more user- and social media-friendly. A lot of it’s already out there for you.
Support Your Supporters
Thanks to social media, people want to be rewarded for supporting you. They want to know that you heard them, that you read their comment, and that you noticed their passing you around to their friends. There are lots of different ways to show support to the people who support you either by linking, retweeting, commenting, or passing around your content. You can do it onsite by using plugins to recognize the most frequent commenters, creating member boards where users can rack up points for contributing or picking customers to highlight in your blog or newsletter each month. You can also support them offsite by doing things like sending emails to say thanks, offering freebies or giving out discount codes to people who perform a certain action.
Say Yes to Mashups
Resist the urge to ironclad your content. I know it’s hard, but the more open you are, the most connected your users are going to feel toward you. Instead of freaking out when someone uploads one of your commercials to YouTube, challenge them to do something cool with it. Host a contest for the best commercial mashup. Let them take your photos and Photoshop them in cool and unusual ways. Challenge them to use your jingle and make a video around it. Have them take your product out in the real world and video tape their experience with it. The more you can bring them into your community, the more loyalty they’re going to feel towards it. Don’t just make it easy for them to share your content, make it easy for them to take it and mess it up a little.
Get involved in your own community, but remember that it’s not always about you. Get to know your community members and learn about what makes THEM happy. What are they working on? What are they doing? When you know, get involved in what they’re doing and offer help where you can. Find outside communities related to yours and get involved. You’ll drive people back to yours but you’ll also show that you’re not just about yourself. By conversing with other communities, you create more buzz and recognition for your own.
What are some ways you’re making your own site more social and user-friendly?
From Small Business Trends
5 Ways To Make Your Site More Social
On October 22nd, I announced the first in a series of videos that I did for UPS and provided a bit of the backstory behind the filming of the videos.
Today, I’m pleased to announce the second video. It’s about taking risks in business.
Even the most wildly successful entrepreneurs do not have 100% wins. They sometimes win — but they also fail. It’s just that the world remembers the wins which soon overshadow the failures.
If you’re like most rest of us, you too have had some business experience that did not go as well as you planned. But I am a glass-half-full person and look for the silver lining. I find that the experience gained from failures leads to success. In other words, it’s the lessons we learn from failure that help propel us eventually toward success.
“Next time it will be different,” I say to myself after something that does not go well.
The thing to remember is to have courage. Resist the temptation to curl up in a little ball. Instead — go out and try something new. To overcome failure you have to take risks.
That’s the focus of this second video, “Taking Risks in Business”:
Again, I would like to thank United Parcel Service (UPS) whose sponsorship made it possible for me to do the videos. I’d like to point out that several other people created videos in this series. You can find them all in a YouTube channel put together by PopURLS. The videos include:
- “The Economics of Abundance” featuring Mike Masnick of TechDirt;
- “Over-Communication” and “Think Local” featuring Matt Marshall of VentureBeat;
- “Monitoring Your Industry” and “Social Networking” featuring Adam Ostrow of Mashable;
- and last but not least, yours truly, Anita Campbell, in 2 videos releases so far, including “Partnering With Suppliers” and this latest video, “Taking Risks in Business.”
Please watch all the videos on PopurlsBrown’s Channel on YouTube and leave a comment to let us know what you think!
From Small Business Trends
Taking Risks in Business
ICanHasCheezburger.com is a site based solely off user-generated content (i.e., content they didn’t create) and has achieved 1 Billion pageviews in its two years of existence. The book based off the concept was an instant New York Times bestseller and the second in the series is due out soon.
Oh, and if you’ve never seen it, icanhascheezburger.com is a site dedicated to displaying silly cat pictures that users can adorn with even sillier nonsensical captions. Yes, that was someone’s BIG dollar idea.
- It’s simple.
- It makes people happy.
I think a lot of small business owners forget to be simple. They think that in order to compete with the guy down the street that they have to be bigger and more impressive. That to be taken as seriously as the Best Buys or the Staples they need to offer a full line of products and amaze people with their sheer size. Somehow in the business world we’ve decided that size = credibility and authority. But that’s not true.
Your idea doesn’t have to be big. It has to be simple.
During yesterday’s keynote at SMX, Ben noted some other companies that have leveraged this idea of “simplicity”:
- Starbucks is the simple place between your home and your office.
- Google gave us a simple way to find information.
- Facebook make it simple to connect with our friends online.
- The Cheezburger network (which ICanHasCheezburger.com is part of) made it simple for people to be happy for a few moments of the day.
That’s what people are looking for. The Internet gave us the ability to reach millions in one shot. It changed the way a lot of businesses operated. It dared them to come up with the biggest idea they could and then market it to everyone. That’s rarely where success is found.
Instead, find the simplest idea you can and then market it only to those people who would be interested in the service. That’s how you find a loyal community, one that will grow and become viral. It’s also how you put yourself in the position to be able to make complicated products down the road. Ben asserted in his keynote that the reason Google can stick its hand into everything and release a slew of different products today is because, for awhile, they only did one thing well. They did search. That bought them the freedom to be where they are now.
You’re not Google and you don’t have to be. Instead of trying to do more than your competitors, figure out how to simplify what their throwing extra steps into. There are a million free services out there – Google Apps, WordPress, Skype, YouTube – that have made it easier to be “simple” without a lot of overhead. Take advantage and make it simple for people to find happiness. That’s what they want. And that’s what they want you to give them.
If you want to be better than your competitors. Don’t figure out how you can one up them and add extra features to their services. Instead, strip them down. Make them easier. That’s what we’re all looking for. A way to make it easier. Whatever that “it” happens to be.
Editor’s correction note: actually it wasn’t $1 Billion in revenue as originally noted, but 1 Billion pageviews and a multi-million dollar business, and the post has been updated accordingly. Still – EXTREMELY impressive for such a simple idea.
New Feature Makes LinkedIn More Like a CRM Tool
This content from: Duct Tape Marketing
LinkedIn pushed an upgraded feature through today that makes it a much more powerful small business prospecting and relationship tool in my book.
When prospecting on LinkedIn in the past you could type in a keyword or specific company search and locate people you might want to reach out to. For many folks this is the greatest benefit of LinkedIn participation. The tough thing was you had to look at the details of each profile you might find and make a decision about contacting them right then as there wasn’t a convenient way to save or group your chosen profiles for future use.
Today, LinkedIn added a tool in the paid version that allows you to create searches and then save the profiles that look interesting to folders in what it’s calling your Profile Organizer. So, let’s say you are scouting out journalists at a certain publication. You can do a search, set up a folder, and save all the profiles you like in that folder for later contact. They’ve also added a “note” feature so you can jot something of interest to yourself or even something that was said when you contacted them last. I think this feature makes the paid version worth a look. Of course, they’ve also made it free for 30 days. You activate the free trial by simply using the Save a profile feature.
The Profile Organizer shows up as a workspace under the contact tab and once active you’ll see “save profile” as an option any time you are looking at an individual or group of profiles.
The thing I like most is that this allows you to work in LinkedIn any time you have 10 minutes and makes that 10 minutes much more efficient. For me researching and contacting are two very different activities and take different frames of mind when doing them. I like that fact that I can organize all the profiles as I feel like it and then come back and do laser focused reaching out when I’m in that mood. The note taking field is what makes this CRM like to me. (Note: You don’t have to be connected to someone to save and note their profile either.)
You can read more about the Profile Organizer update here on the LinkedIn blog