Social Media for B2B & B2C Headline Animator

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Taking Advantage of Social Media




When 95% of senior marketing executives around the world say they believe social media will “grow in significance over the next five years”, you’d better listen. In a recent study conducted by TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony, some 49% of global executives believe that social media should be monitored at the executive level & be allocated significant resources. So what does this mean to you and marketing your business? If you haven’t created a social media plan to take control of your brand yet, strike now while the iron’s hot or be left in the cold!

As we've learned, Social media is not just another media channel to use in order to push your messages to the consumer. Wise organizations are using it to build stronger relationships with their customers. According to a study conducted by the Society for New Communication Research, 59% of consumers are using social media to “vent” about customer care. Additionally, almost three quarters (72%) said they sometimes research company’s customer care prior to purchasing a product or service. With so many opportunities online for consumers to share feedback on their experiences with your brand, it is very difficult for businesses to avoid and ignore the comments of consumers. It behooves companies to become apart of and to take the lead in the conversation.

In Social media there are two types of responses: Active and Passive. Companies who are “Active” have a corporate blog, post videos, and actively engage their consumers online as well as ‘reading & analyzing relevant social media to understand genuine & unfiltered consumer perceptions’. An “Active” response empowers the consumer with brand assets, in various forms (information, applications, widgets, etc) that they share and control and eventually embed on their personal profiles. Listening & interacting with the consumer is a greater priority than simply promoting a brand message. Though this is a difficult idea to embrace for most traditional marketers, it is quickly becoming our online reality.

The “Passive” response, which is the most common approach, encompasses buying & running ads on social media sites, creating viral campaigns and creating a dedicated MySpace/Facebook page to promote a product or service. Though the passive approach does make a definite impact, true success will only be gained by understanding & utilizing the “two-way” conversational nature of social media.

I hope this article helps to rev up your engines to get started fully utilizing all that Web 2.0 has to offer. It's the wave of the future and its time for you get your boogie board and hop on!


Yours truly,



B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Friday, August 15, 2008

Social Media & Business Owners

One of my favorite bloggers, Shana Albert from Socialdesire.com, had the guest blogger, James Duthie, write a blog that discussed how many businesses don't actually "get" the web 2.0 or social media. After reading it, I thought I would share it with my readers b/c it helps you get a great understanding of social media "gone wrong". But it also gives marketers a new perspective on how to use social media to market their brands. I believe it is important to understand what business you're in and what appeals to your customers. Once you understand this, you can use social media to your advantage. Check out the blog here: SocialDesire.com

If you have any additional thoughts you'd like to share about the article, let's discuss it! Leave a comment.


Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Blogging Etiquette 101

So we've talked a lot over the past couple weeks of about how to set up your blog and how to market it. But one final conversation around "Blog Etiquette" is needed. I'd just like to share with you some tips that I've found in my experience is helpful when visiting and commenting on other blogs. These aren't the hard and fast rules of blogging, b/c the web is changing everyday, so feel free to add to the conversation if you feel I may have left out a few. We all need to be become better online citizens and here's a few ways to do that:

1) When you find a great blog that you enjoy and learn from go ahead and take the plunge and become a subscriber. Its helps to grow their user base and encourages them to continue to write great content for you to read. They may even return the favor and do the same for you. Reciprocity is key!

2) If you're blogging about a topic you may have seen on another blog or about a person, simply link back to their blog or site. The web is designed for sharing and collaborating so take advantage of it.

3)When you have time, after reading a great blog, leave a comment! Blogs were created to initiate discussions online and what better way to start things off but by leaving the writer a comment. However, if you don't have time, consider using any of the social bookmarking tools like Delicious or Digg.com and StumbleUpon to give other readers a chance to find and read the posts as well.

4)When you do leave a comment, try and leave a few thoughts of your own. As I stated above, blogging is about starting a discussion and you will be surprised what we can learn from one another once we open the flood gates of communication.

5)If you have a blog of your own, its okay to reference it and even leave a link to it, however make sure its relevant. Random links to unrelated content is a waste of everyone's time and its just plain rude.

Chris Brogan, who also works with business on social media and social networking, has a very interesting blog on the "Netiquette" of everything from using Email to Twitter. Check it out...ChrisBrogan.com

I am sure you all have your own rules and opinions on blogging and I'd love to hear them all. So please leave a comment and share them with me, so we can get a dialogue going! See you all next post.


Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Monday, August 11, 2008

Marketing Mistake or Genius

I ran across this blog and I thought it was funny, yet inciteful and thought it would be useful to share with small business owners out there. Getting traffic to your site is a hard job, but w/some interesting strategies as the author describes here, it can be done. Check out the article and let me know your thoughts. Controversy Marketing

Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Marketing Your Blog: Part Deux (That's 2 in English)

Now that you've actually had time to work on your blog and you've practiced the six tips I gave you earlier (wink*wink), its time to add to that knowledge. The last 5 tips are simple but in my opinion they require the most work. When marketing your blog its important to remember you have to be involved in both posting content and commenting on other's content. Social media is a two-way street and you can't get anything, if you're not willing to give something back.

7. Press releases are for blogs too
I bet you thought press releases were only for announcing new services or products. Well, think again. Your blog is a service you are sharing with the world and there are a number of online sites out there that will help you disseminate your press release. Not only does it help you reach your target market, but it also helps to further legitimize your blog. One site you should check out is: PR Web.com


8. Join Blog Communities
Bloggers of the world are uniting all over the web and you should too if you want to promote your blog. They are a great way to socialize with other like minded individuals in your industry. Additionally, its a great way to drive traffic back to your site. Two very prominent communities to consider joining are:

Blogcatalog - simply get a profile & network
MyBlogLog.com - same as above

9. Don't forget the news sites
After posting entries to your blogs, make sure to add them to popular online news sites for further distribution. But be careful, you have to be aware of what a ton of traffic can do to your server if you're not prepared to handle the bandwith. We all want the traffic, but when interested readers are unable to access your site its similar to the "Kiss of Death". Here are a few news sites to add your posts:
Digg.com
Newsvine.com
Sphinn.com
Propeller.com

10. Spark some conversation
Don't just read other blogs, but get in on the conversation. This is by far one of the best ways to promote your business blog with other people in your industry. As I stated earlier, social media is a two-way street and the only way to get something back is to give something. It's called reciprocity. Sites like Bloglines.com or Technorati are great tools to find other blogs that interest you so you can get involved.

11. Review are not just for movies anymore
With so many new blogs popping up every day, what can set your blog apart from the rest? Get reviewed! There are a ton of services on the web now that will review your blog and give you feedback on how to improve it. Here are two services, I personally use & love Reviewback.com and my second favorite is Smorty.com.

Follow these simple steps and watch your blog take off in readers, subscribers & traffic. Next week, we'll flip the script and begin looking at some B2C social marketing efforts that Small business owners can use to attract more customers no matter what their industry. Till then!


Yours truly,


B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Small Business Owners: Marketing Your Company Blog

Have you started your companies' blog yet? Well if you have there are tons of new tools out there to help you market it and to get it seen by your target audience. Today we are going to go through 6 helpful tips to help you get your message out there and on Friday we'll tackle another 6 tips to complete the series.

1. Create a ping list.

A ping list is basically a list of URLs that you set up on any blogging software that "pings" the major rss aggregators every time you post a new blog. It is extremely helpful in giving your blog visibility. Most blog platforms have a setting where you can place a ping list. Need an example of some URL's you should use for your ping list - here's some of the one's I use:

http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping
http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2
http://api.feedster.com/ping
http://api.my.yahoo.com/RPC2
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping
http://www.blogdigger.com/RPC2
http://www.blogshares.com/rpc.php
http://www.blogsnow.com/ping
http://www.blogstreet.com/xrbin/xmlrpc.cgi
http://coreblog.org/ping/
http://ping.feedburner.com
http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/
http://rpc.weblogs.com/RPC2
http://xping.pubsub.com/ping/
http://api.my.yahoo.com/rss/ping

This doesn't even scratch the tip of the iceberg on the number of ping URLs available.

2. Syndicate your blog posts.

Many blog resources and directories will syndicate every post url or at least a snippet of your post. The two that I rely upon are Bloglines & Technorati. However there are a few others out there:

- Blogcatalog.com
- Google Blog Search
- FeedFury.com
- NewsIsFree.com
- Syndic8.com

3. Make sure you give your readers the tools they need to bookmark your blog to social media sites.

Ever seen this icon on a blog or a news article?


Of course you have! You want to be sure to include this icon on your blog so that your readers can bookmark all of your posts. If you want to incorporate this button on your page, try the one from Addthis.com

4. Make your RSS feeds available to your readers.
Nothing is worse than finding an interesting blog & there is no RSS feed button available. This is how readers are able to subscribe to your blog and it is a great way to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Typically, the rss feed is shown with the following image:
Make sure to include one of these icons on every page of your blog.

5. Sign-up for a Feedburner account.
If you are interested in knowing who came to your blog, how long they stayed, and a number of other important metrics, a Feedburner account is crucial. Feedburner allows you to change your feed, so you can keep statistics on your subscribers.

6. Submit your blog to the major blog directories
This is a very important step b/c readers looking for blogs on your chosen topic go here to find blogs of interest. Listing you blog on the directory will only help to increase your blog's visibility.

I hope your head has stopped spinning by now. If you have any questions about it in the mean time or want to discuss what I've written here, please leave a comment and let's discuss it. Til next time.....


Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blogging for Business

So the age old adage "Build it and they will come", applies to blogging as well. However, there are certain caveats to keep in mind in order for this work. Having a blog is one thing, getting people interested in reading it, subscribing to it and linking to it on a regular basis is a different issue.

Last week, we briefly touched on the basics of blogging. Now, we're going to go a little deeper on the etiquette of blogging. For my business, I try to keep my blog as conversational as possible. Have you ever read most corporate blogs? BORING!!!!!! Just like entertainment & sports blogs work to engage you by having interesting content, your business blog must do the same. A blog is not the same as a white paper, wherein your goal is to educate and inform. Your business blog should be more about starting a conversation with your readers, stimulating intelligent conversation, taking a side and allowing others to share their side as well.

Most business blogs fail because they don't take into account the human side of business. You must be able to relate to your readers as a human first, not a business. Sharing your personal insights & experiences in your business blog is what makes it human and its something most B2B blogs lack. Being conservative is great for your web copy, but in your blog, its okay to let your hair down a bit and just be human & relate.....after all isn't that what business is all about anyway? What do you think?

Yours truly,

B.Croom
Social Media Stepchild
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