Add Pieces of Flair

Office Space ignited our love for adding tacky buttons to our uniforms in a vain attempt to convey a persona. Let’s stop to ask ourselves, are we limited OR are we only limiting ourselves? Take some time to find your own source of inspiration. After all, no one wants to end up like a Milton… (spoiler: he’s the one that burns the office building down).

So, what are some of your favorite ways to add a little panache to your work/workspace?

Personalize Your Browser
Calling all Firefox fans! Their Personas toolbar has been out for awhile and it allows you to apply different themes to your internet browser. Not feeling any of the designs? You can create your own, of course. Create a header (3000px wide x 200px high) and footer (3000px wide x 100px high). Next:

  • Install the tool bar
  • Click on the fox icon on the bottom left of your browser
  • Preferences > Show custom Persona in menu
  • Custom > Edit > Locate image locations, apply and you’re done!

Jazzing Up Your Facebook Fan Page
Do you need to create a custom box or tab for your Facebook Fan Page? Don’t waste your time with other useless applications – Static FBML is all you’ll need. Check out Mashable’s latest showcase of 5 interactive Facebook Pages. Isn’t GAP’s campaign cute? With this application, you can also add picture galleries, videos and more. I really like how business-friendly Facebook is becoming.

Travel to Another Era for Inspiration

Sometimes, there’s nothing like a blast from the past to get our creative juices flowing. If you love vintage print ads, this is a collection that you can’t miss! Don’t know what it is, but there’s just something that is so exciting. Maybe, it’s the technicolor and lack of Photoshop! I’m not just talking about ads – literature, films, and movies can always help you feel inspired if you’re in a rut.

The Can and Can’ts of Social Media

There is much more to social media than just building up Twitter hype. Nowadays, businesses may be excited to implement a new social media marketing plan, but have unrealistic expectations of what it can really do. Like anything else, you can’t expect it to help bring you success if you don’t put in enough time and effort. Here’s a look at what social media can and can’t do for your business:

What It Can Do

  • Target your audience: If you’re looking into running ads on Facebook or MySpace, these two sites allow you to target specific demographics of your audience. This will be helpful in identifying your goals, as you can reach users by age, location, interests etc.
  • Improve customer interaction: On the surface, the point of social media profiles is to be social. You’ll want these connections to translate into something deeper but you can’t unless you can improve customer involvement. Social media allows you to do so by consistently involving the audience via blog posts, Tweets, and status updates.
  • Keep customers informed: Awhile ago, Bausch + Lomb recalled their contact solution because it was linked to eye infections. As a recipient of their newsletter, I got an email about the recall and a coupon for a new (untainted) product. Luckily, no eye infection for me! Social media can help with damage control just as well as it’s used to announce local events or new products.

What It Can’t Do

  • Have a short-term mindset: Your marketing plan consists of ongoing efforts, so why wouldn’t your social media campaign? Many people make the mistake by neglecting their social media profiles over time. Social media requires the three C’s: consistence, commitment, and creativity.
  • Replace your entire marketing plan: Although it’s successful for very few companies, a marketing plan solely based on social media is not realistic. Instead of looking at social media to replace your marketing plan, think of it as an additional tool you can use to complement your more traditional strategies.
  • Guarantee success: You may be popular on Twitter, but what does it really mean? You can’t guarantee success on any social media site if you don’t tie it back to your goals – this may be increased visits, clicks, purchases etc. Being popular doesn’t mean that you’re successful, but it can help!

How To Connect on Twitter

Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.

A Better Way to Circulate

Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.

Find Relevant Followers

If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.

Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.

It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.

Are You Developing Your Social Media Strategy?

Another rainy Friday morning in Los Angeles! We began this one with the first out of a series of implementation courses by The Art of Online Marketing and Rachel Perlmutter.

Equipping Your Marketing Tool Belt
From the beginning, a very important point was made and that is: social media is just another marketing channel. Think about social media tactics as another marketing tool. Like other traditional channels, this means that you need to set a strategy in order to realize your goals. A big mistake many make is that they get too caught up in social media without realizing any success. Friends and fans mean nothing if they can’t be translated into real life.

Your Virtual Reputation
Next, when you’re present on social media sites, how do you portray yourself? Do you have a professional picture? Are you comfortable with this picture and profile representing your brand? An easy way to think about this is to think about how you behave at an actual networking event. You want to be friendly and make small talk before pushing your business cards into other people’s faces. At the same time, be wary of the people you meet and see if they are actually interested in providing you with value.

Don’t Waste Your Time

Many may get caught up in the social media marketing hype because it’s “free”. But remember, your time is certainly not free! Self and time management will help make your time spent on social media sites more effective and efficient. Rachel suggests taking an hour or so out of the day dedicated to your social media activities. Who really spends hours on end on Twitter? Except for the Twitterholics, most people will want to break up their time spent into 10 minute blocks. Sounds like great advice for those who don’t want to waste their time.

Email’s Not Dead

The topic of yesterday’s webinar was social media and email marketing presented by Peggy Hatch with Blaine Mathieu. With the emerging world of social media, email marketing efforts can easily get left behind. While there are problems with email marketing, the solution may lie in combining it with social media efforts.

The Problem with Email
My favorite point that Blaine brought up was the email is the first form of social media. Remember how excited the world was when email peaked? Who could forget the classic, You’ve Got Mail? After all, when we want to share something with friends or family, a majority of us jump to email. According to marketing studies, only 22% of internet users use social media sites to share, while a majority still rely on email. When utilizing email for marketing campaigns, marketers have problems knowing where to start and how to properly integrate email into their overall efforts.

Social Media Sharing is the Answer
According to researchers, social media is not slowing. the growth of social media is not slowing. In fact, 8 out of 10 marketers agree that these sites are a great place to extend their reach. Why not create a dynamic duo of social media and email marketing? In a simple but effective example, Mabel & Zora sees sharing opportunities in their email campaigns. In all their emails, they provide social sharing opportunities where users can share with their friends. Maybe this means posting a coupon deal on their Facebook. In turn, their friends can share with their own network via Twitter, blogs, etc. As this webinar showed, the reach of email is wide reaching. Marketers can benefit from incorporating social media efforts in their emails and users will get an enhanced experience.

Who Uses Facebook’s Marketplace?

New and Improved

Earlier this year in March, Facebook re-launched its Marketplace that is now powered by Oodle. If you haven’t heard of it, the Marketplace is a classified ads section where users can list and respond to advertisements. The Marketplace gives users the ability to buy, sell, and trade all their goods with other Facebook users.

Marketplace Features

So, who really uses the Facebook Marketplace? You may have seen friends trying to sell their used chemistry books or their extra phone. But, did you know that there’s also a section for housing and free stuff? That’s what’s so great about this application. Originally created in 2007, the new Marketplace is revamped with a user friendly interface. While it is like Craigslist in its free listing of classified ads, but it also integrates an important social factor that Craigslist lacks. Wouldn’t you rather buy something from a friend or a friend of a friend than a complete stranger?

Seeing the Potential in the Marketplace

Marketers are warming up to the market place as they see ease and convenience of its features. With every listing, you can promote the sale of your goods and services by adding pictures, putting it in an appropriate category and even sending out personalized messages. Such custom settings make it easier for those looking to buy and sell real estate. Because Facebook thrives on the social thread, word of mouth will still be important. If your friends have had a successful transaction with a certain seller, they’re likely to spread the word. Before you brush it off, not everything on Facebook is a time-waster. In the past, Apple has even posted a listing looking for iPhone engineers on there!

Comparing Facebook Groups and Pages

The Facebook Fundamentals

Establishing your presence on Facebook is an important task whether you are promoting yourself or your business. Some may find that the process is not that straightforward. The first obstacle you will encounter is deciding whether to create a Group or a Page. For some businesses, choosing both is a possibility. So, before you put your time and effort in maintaining your new social media profiles, take some time to consider the pros and cons of each:

Facebook Groups

An easy way to think about Facebook Groups is that they are like any other group or club. A group administrator is in charge of providing members with information, news about events, and more. Other members can also be appointed to help facilitate information. Establishing a group is a great way to gain quick attention for a cause or event.

Pros
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Promote with ads
+ Create events and send reminders
+ Privacy controls (public, private, or closed)
Cons
– Not given any weight by search engines
– Unattractive URL
– No visitor information
– Limited to 5,000 members

Facebook Pages

In some ways, Facebook Pages are more informal than groups. There is no public administrator and users are called “fans”. With Pages, there are more options to track visitor information. Facebook pages are similar to normal Facebook profiles. But instead of a person, these pages are designated to represent a brand or celebrity. Some businesses opt for a Facebook Page to maintain a long-term relationship with fans.

Pros
+ Vanity URL
+ Good for hosting discussions
+ Communicate directly with members
+ Indexed by search engines
+ Ability to extend your SEO efforts
+ Can have over 5,000 fans
Cons
– Cannot send reminders for events
– No privacy controls, everything is public

Making Your Decision

Hopefully, some of these points have helped clear up any confusion. Experts generally agree that Facebook Groups are better for organizing users around a cause or upcoming event. Facebook Pages are useful for a company or celebrity to strengthen their online brand presence. Some argue that users feel more active as a Group member than an observing fan of a Facebook Page. Search marketers usually prefer using Pages because of their advantages in user statistics, while others may use a combination of both.

Small Businesses Benefit from Facebook

How to Take Advantage

Large corporations may have a bigger brand presence on social media sites but that doesn’t mean that small businesses cannot also benefit. Setting up a Facebook page for your business is a cost effective way to keep up with the latest customer trends. Facebook is an easy to use forum which allows customers easy access to upcoming news or events. Additionally, creating a strong online presence can help you rank better in search engine results and bring more relevant traffic to your site. An example of a small business that uses Facebook to its maximum potential is the Beverly Hills based Sprinkles Cupcakes. Founder Charles Nelson relies on building buzz through the Sprinkles Facebook page instead of traditional paid marketing efforts.

Stay Connected with Your Fans

Sprinkles uses Facebook to create a unique and engaging
relationship with their fans. They have even come up with a fun code system which gives the first customers with the secret phrase of the day the opportunity to get free treats! This is a great way to build word of mouth advertising, as well as bring customers to the store. A part of social networking sites is being just that, “social” – and being active can help small businesses succeed in this area. The key is to engage customers by providing help and insight or offering incentives and other promotions. By having a Facebook page, you can monitor the good and bad that is being said about your business. This is better than knowing nothing at all about how your company is perceived. It is even an effective tool that will give you the opportunity to fix those problems.

Using Other User-Friendly Sites

Local references and review sites are popular amongst customers who are looking to try new things. Yelp and Yahoo! Local Listings are perfect examples of these popular sites. Although there are many social networking sites out there, it is important to practice restraint and don’t overdo your efforts. Like any other investment, it takes patience to see a return on your hard work. Whether it is Facebook or any of these other sites, the key to strong staying power is steady maintenance of your page. It is foolish to put in numerous hours one day and then completely stop your efforts. Instead,  view it as a long-term project and set aside a couple minutes every other day to monitor your growth.

Facebook Advertising Case Study

We just launched a Facebook advertising campaign today targeting a demographic that likes to drink alcohol and/or use drugs. It will be interesting to see how this campaign does. The campaign is for a drug rehabilitation center located in Orange County, California. The ad management page is below along with a copy of the ad and the demographics. It’s currently targeting close to two hundred and fifty thousand Facebook users with an ad spend set for $100 per day.  The cost per click (CPC) is set to 0.55 cents a click. Stay tuned for updates on this campaign.

facebook advertising ad
Facebook advertising ad
facebook advertising ad manager
Facebook advertising ad manager