Diaspora – Your Next Alternative to Social Networking?

Join Diaspora

Privacy concerns about Facebook and Google+ are growing. Just check out this infographic about Facebook security. As Facebook announced its new Timeline, many people feel that these features are too stalker-ish. Do you really need or want to know your friends’ timeline of events from the day that they were born? New privacy features enable all friends to see all your activity – this means your boss, client, mom, professor or whoever else you happen to be friends with. Although Mark Zuckerberg made it seem so good, this “frictionless sharing” is what a lot of people are afraid of. This problem also carries on over to Google+ accounts, which seems to made even more for public search than Facebook.

While Facebook and Google + seem to want you to open up more to the public, it’s hard to see how you can socialize AND keep your privacy. But the answer you’re looking for may come in the form of Diaspora. The selling point of this relatively new social network is that it is secure – you can share WHAT you want, with WHOM you want. Another great thing is that you own the pictures you upload. There’s none of this nonsense where you give the company consent to use your pictures however they please, ahem.. Twitpic.

I admit that I’ve had my Diaspora account for sometime, I haven’t been making full use of it. I’m pretty sure that my non-internet marketing friends and family are even aware of what Diaspora is. Which is part of their problem… some early reviews say that the profiles are too plain and that there needs to be more features. Also, Diaspora needs a helping hand when it comes to monetary funds and have been asking for donations to help further their project. Sometimes, simplicity is best and I’d like to see where Diaspora takes things.

What do you think? Are you worried about social networking privacy features of other mainstream sites and would you look into using alternatives like Diaspora?

Would You Pay With a Tweet?

Would you post a Tweet in exchange for a whitepaper, ebook, song or any other digital good? That’s the exact idea behind Pay With a Tweet. With this “social payment” system, consumers “purchase” by tweeting about a certain “product”. By doing so, they create more buzz surround their purchase amongst their personal social network. If others are interested, they will do the same and further spread the promotion of your business. It’s a win/win situation for both parties!

So, does this really work and why would people click links anyway? A recent article by Dan Zarrella shows that accounts that tweet a lot of links are correlated with a high number of followers. And more links = more chances of clicks, which will help bring you more traffic. It’s no wonder that viral marketing comes to mind with this type of promotion. People will go click-happy over free things, especially if what you’re selling is good.

How exactly? The band, The Teenagers, have used this to start their own viral promotion of a new single by asking fans to pay with a tweet. Who doesn’t like free music?! But this service is also works outside the entertainment industry. Besides selling content, you can also get creative, as the site suggests: trial runs of your service, a sneak peak of an ad, or even samples your portfolio.

Pay With a Tweet also works with Facebook so you can pay with a Facebook update. What do you think and have you tried this free service yet?

Carmageddon & More for Your Targeted Email Campaign

If you live in or around Los Angeles, CONGRATS – you’ve survived Carmageddon! All weeklong, businesses big and small tried to capitalize on this event, from JetBlue’s limited $4 flights to local Pasadena eateries advertising $4.05 specials.

This email above from Amazon is just another example of a retailer trying to solve a problem customers faced this weekend: finding a source of entertainment. They are also doing a clever job of targeting by relating to the customer and relevant events that are happening around the. It makes sense that most people would try to avoid the freeways this weekend so retailers tried to entice them to do other things that didn’t involve traveling far. Or in Amazon’s case, involving any travel at all!

Why Choose Email?
Email has been and continues to be a strong source of marketing for businesses. Studies show that since last year: more emails are being sent, email unsubscribe rates have dropped and bounce rates have also declined.

Take a look at column one in this chart and you’ll see why other small business owners use email marketing campaigns: owners felt that email marketing was cost effective and that it had a high rate of response and sales in comparison to other marketing methods.

The Goal of Targeted Emails
In the end, you’ll want to remind customers that you have a solution to their problem. Establish a clear message (the shorter, the better) and make it easy for the customer to respond or take action.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of email marketing for your small business, make sure to contact us today!

Coming Soon: Google + for Businesses

Google sure likes the aspect of exclusivity when it comes to their new products, don’t they? Well, it seems to be working well for their latest project: Google +. Invites for exclusive trial accounts for Google + quickly exceeded “capacity”, as not everyone who was invited was lucky enough to score an account. I guess we’ll just have to wait! And for business accounts, it looks like we’ll have to wait even longer! Information Week reports that business users will have to wait until later this year.

Here are a few tidbits about Google +:

- You can easily organize and share with the different people in your life by placing them in different Circles
– Concerned about privacy? You should know that Google intends to make all Profiles public and searchable.
– Confused about the new vocab? Facebook has Likes and Google + will use Google + 1.
– If you’re interested in group video chat, Google Hangouts will be your new favorite thing!

What do you think about Google + and are you excited about it or do you think it’s just another social platform?
Make sure to check out Social Media Examiner’s in-depth guide to using Google +.

Is Video Chat the Next Social Networking Trend?

facebook video chatEveryday, social media networking is becoming more personal. So, does video chat sound like a good thing? Facebook thinks so as they unveiled their new joint venture with Skype today.

Video isn’t a new idea but Apple fans still went crazy over the FaceTime feature, which was the selling point of Apple’s iPhone 4 last summer. For now, there are many one on one chat services but look for group video chats and conferencing in the future. This way, businesses can really get into the game of using video chat as a communication tool.

I don’t expect to be using video chat anytime soon but I think it can be a helpful tool if utilized properly. Other critics pointed out that Skype and Google Video Chat have been around for a long time, so this new feature wouldn’t necessarily be considered “groundbreaking” on Facebook’s part.

What do you think of video chat from the perspective of the consumer and business? I could see this being useful to complement webinars, Tweetups and other social networking events.

The Value of a Facebook Fan

How much is a Facebook Fan really worth? When it comes to Facebook marketing, this is an answer that all business owners would like to know.

However, it’s more difficult to calculate ROI on social media marketing because post impressions, Likes and comments can’t always be directly tied to dollar and cents. Many have tried and here are some interesting results:

  • Last summer, Syncapse found the value of a Facebook fan to be approximately $136.38.
  • Earlier, Mashable calculated that a Facebook fan was worth approximately $3.60.

Although all these numbers, formulas and stats are interesting, I don’t think that most local businesses can benefit from these facts. In fact, obsessing over these numbers could really distract from your marketing strategy. To me, this is like focusing on SEO ranking reports without looking at other factors, such as search volume.

Like many other forms of online advertising, Facebook marketing can’t just be analyzed through one factor because one of the most important ones is pretty intangible and that is potential.

That’s why I found this recent study by Hitwise to be so interesting. According to the study focusing on retailers, 1 Facebook fan means about 20 additional visits to your website over the course of one year. I find this to be useful because it comes from another angle on website traffic and doesn’t focus so much on the  $$$. This study also puts customer loyalty into perspective and that is also another important factor that you can improve by using social media.

Do you think these numbers and studies about the value of a Facebook Fan really hold true? In the end, it’s about how much your Facebook fans matter to you and what you want to do about it.

This Week in Social Media: Twitpics, Hamburgers, & You

Do You Know What Happens to Your Twitpics?

Last week, we discussed Twitter’s photo search. This week, I came across an interesting article about Twitpic’s terms of service. Many people may not know or care all together. Apparently, when you use this service to upload and share your photos, Twitpic has permission (or rather, given itself permission) to pass your photos off to third parties. Many people speculate that Twitpic has added this to its terms in an attempt to make money from photos tweeted by celebrities or photos tweeted of celebrities. Or maybe even breaking news stories? Although it’s slogan is, “Share photos on Twitter”… it should be more like, “Share photos with Twitter”! In other words: before you Twitpic, think carefully!

Everyone Loves Burger Week

No holidays to promote your business? Make one up! This wOinkster burger weekeek is official Burger Week at a local Eagle Rock hotspot. The Oinkster, has made quite a name for itself by taking on signature classics of other famous hamburger joints – such as the Big Mac and Umami Burger. With CBS, LA Weekly, LAist and more picking up on this story, The Oinkster has reached above and beyond in the world of local news and social media. If you check out Twitter search results, there are non-stop tweets as eager fans await another tasty burger of the day.

This is a great promotional campaign because it can be translated well into so many different mediums. Although word spreads quickly through social media, this will also spark word of mouth recommendations. And when it’s over, the buzz still won’t stop. I look forward to people posting blog posts, Yelp reviews and Flickr pictures based on this magical burger experience. Remember, these will all help your business SEO-wise in the long run!

On Display at Your Very Own Museum

Speaking of magic, have you seen Intel’s creative Museum of Me? It has been a top social media news story this week and for good reason. Whether it’s intrigue or just plain fun, social media users love to feel like they are part of something more. Intel’s campaign does a fantastic job of showcasing users’ connections to their social network in a simple way. (Oh yeah, and they also promise not to store your Facebook information). This ad campaign is successful because it reminds users WHY they want to use your product in the first place.

Do you have any favorite social media stories of the week?

Why Should Businesses Blog?

blog

For most people blogging can be seen as an enjoyable way to showcase your creativity. But what about businesses? Is there really a point in business blogging? The answer is, YES – of course!

Blogging is great for your business and you an also express your brand in an unlimited platform. Before all the fancy social media sites were available, blogging was it and nowadays, it’s still the foundation of social sharing. If you’re still  not convinced of the power of blogging, hopefully these reasons will help convince you otherwise!

  1. Attract local customers – If you have a small business, it’s important to be connected to the neighborhood, events and its people. If you’re part of your city/town’s Chamber of Commerce, you can extend your local efforts when blogging. Whether you’re focusing on promoting local business, participating in family events, volunteering for notable causes or just sharing fun company events, blogging  will help give your brand a personal touch. The upside is that you’ll be able to promote this content on multiple social networking sites so that the SEO power doesn’t stop just at your blog.
  2. Dominate the competition – As a small business, you can use blogging to set yourself apart from the competition. Relevant and regular blogging will help if your competitors aren’t blogging (or blogging consistently as you do). Use geographic key terms to get that edge and over time, this permanent asset can bring your site more traffic.
  3. Showcase your knowledge – Learning is a big part of blogging. When you write useful information that’s intended to help others, it also benefits your business. It can reinforce what you already know in your area of expertise, as well as learn more about other things and what your peers are doing.
  4. Serves as a reminder. Forcing yourself to blog can be a pain if you don’t have the time. Ultimately, blogging is a great way to remind customers that you’re still around and that you’re still relevant. Blogging keeps you on your toes and also serves a great self-reminder as to why you’re still in business!

If you can handle blogging in house, more power to you! There are also outside help that can assist with your SEO  efforts. Contact us if you’re interested in how blogging and keyword advertising can help your business grow.