Social Media To-Do List for 2011

It’s the start of a new year, what do you have to show for it? Instead of making useless resolutions that you probably won’t keep, take some time to consider some meaningful ones for your social media plan:

Defeat randomness: It’s tempting to be random because of the social nature of these sites. But don’t!
Start off with a plan and develop objectives that you can stick to. Just like failing with your New Year’s resolutions, you start off by falling off on one day of working out, then three, then weeks and months go by! This is why you see so many abandoned Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages.

Avoid over reliance of social media – Instead of trying to branch out all at once, it’s easier and more effective to focus on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, depending on your industry. Do a few things at a time so that you can do them well. You can always add more sites later if needed.

Another thing: if your site, products and services suck, do you really expect a handful of tweets to fix that? Think of social media as an extension of your brand’s image.

Invest in the biggest asset of time – Research and training will help you effectively carry out your social media objectives. It will also give you a better feel of the changing social environment and possibly build more more genuine online reputation. The main problem is that of time and many business don’t have the want or patience to invest.

What are some of your social media resolutions for 2011?

Social Media and Shameless Self Promotion

“Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the Fairest one of all?”

Your social media profiles are an online representation of yourself and your brand. This is why it’s so important to remember NOT to go overboard when it comes to self promotion. Not only will it annoy your customers but it can also drive them away.

But I’m Just Networking…
It’s unbelievable actually. Can you believe that some people still think shameless self-promotion is synonymous with “social networking” or even “social media marketing”? Instead of looking at it from only a sales perspective, you also need to consider that it helps to create brand buzz in your specific industry. It’s also helpful to improve customer loyalty and perception of your brand.

How to Avoid the Narcissism
This isn’t very easy as the nature of social media is pretty narcissistic. With phrases like “Follow Me on Twitter” and “Like Us on Facebook”, it doesn’t get any more self-serving. You can put your own spin on it: how about “Join” or “Connect”, instead? Ask your fans and followers questions and appreciate their input.

Things to Remember
It’s very cheesy but customers are number one. Instead of using social media all the time for self-promotion, think of it as a way to build connections so that fans can trust you before they buy.

Do you have any good examples of brands that shamelessly self-promote?

Ecommerce Sites Benefit from Sharing

Funky Sofa Marilyn

Social media is now a must-have, even for ecommerce sites. By looking at big brands like Zappos and Amazon, you can incorporate some useful sharing strategies for your small business or ecommerce site:

What do your customers care about?: With Funky Sofa, we take this as an opportunity to also showcase design inspiration and interesting furniture products from other retailers. This also allows us to stay up to date with competitors in the industry and to see what they’re doing.

Share interesting content: An onsite or offsite blog can also be an interesting way to share content. Funky Sofa often posts behind the scenes photos of the making of their products and furniture. Not much of a writer? Take a look at some retailers have boosted sales by incorporating video marketing.

Social Sharing Buttons Help with Engagement: Adding a “Like” or “Tweet” button to your site is easy. Take a look at the Marilyn sofa above. 41 people Liked this product and a blurb was published on their Facebook wall so that all their friends are also exposed to the Funky Sofa brand.

With Christmas time around the corner, ecommerce sites can benefit by sharing in the right way and without seeming overly self -indulgent. Remember, it’s not ME, ME, ME but YOU, YOU, YOU (we’re talking about the consumers here).

Check out some more on important ecommerce trends via Search Engine Land.

How Does Online Media Consumption Affect Our Lives?

Social media is used for work and personal matters and even for fun. Have you ever wondered how it’s affected your everyday life?

Foursquare mayors: If you’ve been in a battle for a mayorship or know of anyone, it’s a BIG deal. People often change their daily routines to make an extra check-in to keep the Mayor title of… let’s say Hooters? Battles have gotten so intense that Foursquare has had to change its rules to compensate for cheaters. Businesses can also now oust these cheaters.

Shopping on Facebook: Businesses like Threadless now give customers the option to shop straight from Facebook. This is pretty cool since you can also update your Facebook status about a product and share it with all your friends.

Working during the holidays: Despite stress and other complaints, a study shows that 59% of people will check their work email over the holidays. I guess feeling interrupted on your break is better than feeling left behind and having to catch up – 42% of the people in that study feel the same way.

Reacting on Twitter: Here’s a story from last week about Bill Nye the Science Guy and his speech at USC. Bill apparently fainted several times during his speech and experienced slurred speech. Even after a fainting spell that lasted at least 10 seconds, no one came to his help. A Trojan senior had this to say, “Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening.” REALLY, now? This is disgusting, that people could be more connected to their Twitter accounts than to actually helping a human being. I really hate to think it but sometimes, I’m afraid that Idiocracy has foreshadowed our future…

Late night usage: And of course, there’s those late night texts that we can’t avoid. Texting and video games not only affect teen’s sleeping cycles but can also cause more serious problems such as depression and  anxiety.

In many ways, online media enriches our everyday routines but this doesn’t come without negative consequences. How has it affected you?

Retailers Use Social Media to Promote Black Friday Sales

Many experts predict that consumer spending will rise this holiday season. As if email promotions weren’t enough, retailers are now using social media to push their Black Friday ads.

On Monday, the #blackfriday hashtag was a sponsored tweet that retailers used to share their deals. At first, I thought it was a little early but it makes sense for consumers who are planning to make big purchases. You can check out the ongoing mentions here. If you have any special  promotions going on, don’t forget to use the hashtag!

Many businesses are also using Facebook to unveil their specials long before Black Friday or Cyber Monday. How else can retailers get customers into stores? Last Saturday, GAP offered 40% off for customers who checked in using Facebook Places. Many are doing the same thing with Foursquare checkins.

Instead of a one day “special”, Black Friday seems to be growing into a month long event – which is a good thing for both retailers and consumers. Good luck if you’re braving the crowds this weekend!

Tips for Growing Your Twitter Profile

Twitter is currently over capacity yet again! What’s a better time to stop and share some Twitter tips? Check out these simple ways you can grow your Twitter account:

Tweet
It can be difficult to think about what to Tweet about. Novice tweeters could fall into the missteps of sharing mundane information of their everyday lives or over promoting their products/services. When it comes to the types of Tweets I like to mix it up between:

– Educational resources
– Recent events that are relevant to your field
– Your own blog posts or other site content
– Re-tweets from others that you find useful
– Occasionally participating in trending topics (mostly for fun)

There is no perfect formula, so it’s up to you to find the perfect blend of Tweets.

Timing
Regular Tweeters like to participate at peak times. I’d like to think that this is around 9am, noon and 5pm. These peak periods are usually when people are on a break or have the time to check their Twitter account. Whether you’re actively Tweeting during these times or scheduling, aiming for these peak times means that you’ll more likely to get a response on retweets. Emarketed reppin’ the West coast means that we can be behind on East coast conversations, so don’t forget to keep the different timezones in mind!

Tools
Scheduling tools (like Sendible) is a helpful to give your profile an active presence. Being lively on Twitter shouldn’t mean that you’re spending all your time on the site – that’s why scheduling tweets ahead of time can be helpful. Conversations aren’t something that you can schedule so make sure to check regularly for Twitter mentions!
As for gaining followers, I don’t like to use automated tools. I find that adding followers manually allows for better control for weeding out spam and irrelevant accounts. Don’t forget to list yourself on Twitter directories such as WeFollow.

Growing your Twitter account doesn’t have to be difficult but I am surprised to see different obstacles in the different industries. I think focusing on these three categories is a great way to start growing and maintaining your Twitter profile. Check out Twitter Grader to see how you’re doing.

The New Twitter is Finally Here

The new twitter design layout rolled out for many users at the end of September and has finally arrived for the Emarketed Twitter account!

Some cool new features include:

  • Endless scrolling for tweets on the lefthand panel. No need to click “More” to view additional tweets!
  • View offsite media – You can now see embedded videos and video directly from the right hand panel. For your convenience, you can see it all without leaving Twitter
  • Preview profiles before you follow. Clicking on a user will showcase a mini profile preview on the right hand panel. You can see all their info and quickly scroll for more or exit before you follow.
  • And of course, shortcuts for the busy folks:

Some bad things about the new Twitter:

  • Too much going on. Going from one panel to two is a big change. It took awhile to get used to, especially because everything is now in one place.
  • Doesn’t leave much room for design and branding. The customizable space on the right is significantly reduced.
  • Can’t view the time and date of a person’s last tweet without clicking on their profile. It only takes one click to see but I miss this feature when browsing users from a list.

Check out Mashable’s take on the new design and how it it’s based on the Gold Ratio. What do you think? Love it or hate it?

If Twitter is NOT a Social Network, What Is It?

Emarketed Twitter social media advertising

Earlier this week, Twitter’s own VP of business and corporate development, Kevin Thau, shook things up when he said that Twitter is NOT a social network. In his own words, “Twitter is for news. Twitter is for content. Twitter is for information.”

Maybe Kevin has taken allegations that Twitter is “pointless” to heart. Twitter is trying to revamp their image a place where news is broadcast and transformed. I’m not sure why Twitter wants to suddenly re-position their image as a news aggregator.

Twitter is a great place for social networking, so why would they want to turn away from that? I think it’s strange that they don’t embrace it but instead, turn to a direction that most users don’t associate it with. As one reader put it, “Since Twitter can’t compete with Facebook as a social app, they’re now redefining themselves as a news source. That’s my read anyways.”

What is Twitter to you and how do you use it?

The 5 P’s that Power Twitter

Emarketed Twitter social media marketing

Looking for some powerful ways to amp up your Twitter or social media campaign? There are many things to consider, so let’s focus on some P words that can help you on your way:

1) Participation – If you’re on Twitter (or any social site for that matter) you can’t expect success without participation. Communication consists of listening and responding, so don’t expect it just to be a one way street.

2) Packed – There’s nothing more inefficient than an inactive Twitter account. You can’t just sit back and expect things to happen. Your Tweets need to be packed with information, resources and tools. Sounds boring? Not really, this translates to: articles, blogs, infographics, etc. People are always looking and sharing helpful things.

3) Persistence
– Depending on your industry/business and the time you put into your Twitter account, it could be taking off slower than you expected. In the end, don’t give up. It pays off to be persistent and it can start with something as small as researching your competitors’ tactics.

4) Pleasant
– Real life is depressing as it is. No one likes a sad sack or creep on Twitter! Be personable and show that you’re a real person. Share something interesting you did over the weekend or a short anecdote.

5) Promotion
– This could be the most difficult P to tackle because it could backfire easily. What’s easier: promoting a new TV show or asking people to vote for a certain candidate? It all depends, so use this P sparingly. But then again, promoting doesn’t just have to relate to yourself. You can tweet about your favorite blogger or share a service that you’re happy about. Who knows, they might even reply or reciprocate. For example, the Salvation Army tweeted us some thanks after this post, which is pretty cool!

Hopefully, these tips will help for more than just your Twitter strategy. What about your blog or email campaigns? Feel free to share other P words!

Arcade Fire: Social Media and a #1 Album

As Katy Perry, Drake, Eminem and Lady Gaga dominate the summer music charts, it was nice to see a change at the top spot. Congrats to Arcade Fire! But what really helped them get there? Good music, unique live performances, loyal fans or a focused social media marketing plan? How about all of the above? Earlier this month, the band even played a live show from New York’s Madison Square Garden, which was streamed in real-time on YouTube.

A look at Arcade Fire’s social media profiles reveals that they are effective because they are so well-maintained. It’s also refreshing to see a band expand beyond just using MySpace. All the profiles are linked to their main site, where fans can find tour information and buy the new album. Over 97,000 digital sales have also helped Arcade Fire secure the #1 spot.

The ease and shareability through social media has given Arcade Fire (and tons of other bands) an opportunity to reach new fans that they wouldn’t have otherwise. A new Arcade Fire fan reveals, “I just found out about this band today and I must say, I’m quite impressed. They are amazing.” Isn’t this glowing review an example of what any band or business would like to have said about them?

‘Modern Man’ is currently my favorite track off the album. Check it out!