December 14, 2017

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Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Social Media Marketing Industry Report

The Social Media Examiner has done it again! They have published the free 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report.

This report will uncover the “who, what, where, when and why” of social media marketing.

A significant 1900 participants provided the type of valuable insight you won’t find elsewhere. In this free report you’ll discover:

  • The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
  • How much time marketers invest with social media activities
  • The top benefits of social media and how time invested impacts results
  • The most used social media tools
  • Marketers future social media plans
  • and more…

If you’re in charge of marketing for your business, you’ll want to closely analyze the pages of this report and use the information to the benefit of your business and to others.

Don’t delay, download it now!

4 Social Bookmarking Tips To Make Social Media Work For You

Social Bookmarking as a Social Media Tool

Considering all the social media tools available today, social bookmarking has probably been around the longest.  Initially I only had preference for one social bookmarking tool and I mostly used it to bookmark websites of special interest to me, to help me to find them easily, as well as to share good information.

Benefits of Social Bookmarking

My perception of social bookmarking has now changed completely.  I have learned that social bookmarking can give amazing backlinks back to my products and services. It will also increase the number of visitors to my blog. HOW? By submitting all your own blog posts and product sales pages to several social bookmarking sites. Let me share with you 4 social bookmarking tips.

1.     Make Social Bookmarking part of your strategy

In order to use social bookmarking as an effective social media tool, you need to make it part of your social media strategy. If you don’t have a social media strategy, click here for a free strategy template.

2.     Make Social Bookmarking a system

Next you need to develop your own social bookmarking system that you use consistently to produce favorable long term results.

3.     Do Social Bookmarking with Only Wire

Not only can you develop a system for social bookmarking, but you can also automate the whole process with Onlywire.  Onlywire is an automated content and bookmark distribution tool.  With Onlywire you can auto-submit any information to over 30 social networking sites (including your favorite social bookmarking sites) at once. I am a member who pays $2.99 per month for this service. Now that it has become part of my social bookmarking system, I cannot imagine being without this tool again.

4.     Automate Social Bookmarking

Now that you know what automation tool to use, it is time to get started. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open Mozilla Firefox (works better with Firefox than with Internet Explorer, although you may use IE as well)
  2. Go to www. Onlywire.com
  3. Signup at Onlywire (the following actions are explained within Onlywire as well)
  4. Install Onlywire addon for Firefox browser
  5. Setup accounts with each website (social networking services) you wish to utilise
  6. Enter username and password for all social bookmarking/ social networking websites you want to utilize
  7. Once logins are stored with Onlywire you can begin submitting content.
  8. Add the Bookmark & Share Button to your website. If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog with plugin support, download the OnlyWire plugin from WordPress.org.  Alternatively install it from your WordPress Dashboard.  At the end of each blog post, the Bookmark & Share Button will appear. For older blog posts, use this button on your own website to distribute the content automatically to multiple social networking sites.
  9. For new blog posts, you will see a tick box appear in the new post Dashboard view, that you need to select before you publish. When the blog post is published, it will automatically be published by the Onlywire plugin to all the social networking sites that you have selected to utilize.
  10. It is good practice to visit your Onlywire account after submission to verify the success or failure of submissions to social bookmarking sites. Some social networks require a final step, called Finalization, before the content is published.

Outsource Social Bookmarking

I am the first one to admit that setting up a Social Bookmarking system and then automating it can be a very lengthy process.  However the benefits will outweigh the time and effort spent by far!

If you are a business owner or service professional who wants to put a social bookmarking system in place, I recommend that you implement these 4 tips.  Next you follow the 10 steps to automate social bookmarking and make it work for your business.  Alternatively, you can outsource the effort to put the automated system in place. Then you continue on your own by bookmarking all your new blog posts.

Click on the Bookmark & Share button below to see Onlywire in action. And bookmark this article to your favorite social networking sites for future reference.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for any assistance at: linky@virtualprojectconsulting.com

Small Business and Social Media Adoption

Social Media adoption by U.S. small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.  If you are a small business owner or service professional this is a must read. These are the results from a study that was done by University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business by conducting a telephone survey of 500 small business owners in December 2009.

How Small Business is using Social Media

Small businesses are increasingly investing in social media applications including blogs, Facebook® and LinkedIn® profiles.

Small business owner, Dr. Alan Glazier, CEO and founder of Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, was forced to consider alternative options to keep his business visible during the tough economic conditions last year.

He said: “With a very small investment in social media marketing, I was able to generate new business opportunities. Our Google® ranking is consistently number one for many of the phrases people use to search for eye doctors in and around my city and our new visitors to the site have increased. My blog has been picked up by different news sources and led to media interviews. I am now recognized as a thought leader in social networking within my profession and lastly but most importantly, my marketing budget has been reduced by more than 80%.”

Social Media popular sites

Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular social media sites. In fact, 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

Another interesting notion is that small business owners now believe social media can help them on the lead generation front, and that is the primary motivating factor for engaging in these new customer service channels. So while half of surveyed respondents found the time it takes to use social media sites more daunting than expected, 61% are still putting in the hours and making active efforts to identify new customers.

Clearly social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses. While we expect more small businesses to use Twitter as a customer service channel in the year ahead, as it stands, Facebook and LinkedIn have become the predominant platforms for small business owners.

Social Media sources and usage

As the graphic below details, the small business owners who are using social media are primarily engaging in social media through company pages (75%) and status updates (69%) on Facebook or LinkedIn. What’s especially intriguing is that a much smaller percentage of respondents — just 16% — are using Twitter.

social media sources

Conclusion

Social media has become a valuable tool for small businesses.  Small business owners mainly use social media to identify and attract new customers. As validated by this Small Business Success Index, social media can be the best friend for small business owners who constantly seek new ways to maximize productivity while keeping costs low.

If you are a small business owner interested in finding out how your business can start using social media marketing, use our Social Media Starter Project kit to become social media active and to maintain your online presence for return on investment within a few months.

About Robert H. Smith School of Business:

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research.  A detailed copy of the report can be found at www.growsmartbusiness.com

Benefit Your Business with Twitter Marketing

Are you using Twitter as an online marketing tool yet? Twitter as a business marketing tool

Are you a business owner who does online marketing?  Whether you sell a product, or offer professional services, internet marketing is a must in this digital age.  To find clients and generate a sale, you must first drive traffic to your website or blog.  One effective way to do so, and FREE, is to use the social networking tool, called Twitter.

Understand what Twitter is

Before highlighting the benefits of marketing your business with Twitter, understand what Twitter is.  It’s a social networking website that also acts as a micro-blog.  After signing up for a Twitter account, you develop a list of contacts.  These are individuals you want to follow or receive updates from.  Many will return the favor, becoming followers of your updates.  There are no limits on how many messages you can send; however, there is a 140 character limit.  Updates, otherwise known as Tweets, are sent through instant messaging, mobile web applications, RSS feeds, Twitter website and the many Twitter tools available today.

Twitter in a nut shell

When you use Twitter as a marketing tool for your business, you want to go to Search.Twitter.com and look for tweets that are applicable to your website, blog, product or service.  Occasionally send updates to your friends. Highlight your new blog post, by giving a short summary and provide a link.  Summarize a product/service you are selling, or provide a discount code.  You can also reply to members that you follow. This is Twitter in a nut shell.

6 Benefits of Marketing your Business with Twitter:

1.   Generate interest in your business

In addition to generating traffic to your website or blog, you can also generate interest.  First, create catchy Tweets.  For example, do you sell a new eco-friendly product?  If so, don’t just instruct people to buy your product, but ask for their feedback.  Ask how it can help the environment.  Then, ask your followers to forward information on your product to their contacts.  When you have a catchy message and product or service, it is easy to generate interest on Twitter.

2.   Make a sale

Regardless of whether you sell a product or a service, a sale will generate income.  By increasing visitors to your website, you increase your chances of making a sale.  Go a step farther by making contacts that are within your targeted market.  For example, do you sell children’s clothes?  If so, your target market is parents.  Perform a search on Search.Twitter.com to find posts that focus on parenting.  You can offer a response that leads to your website, increasing your chances of making a sale.

3.   Obtain feedback

A great way to subtly increase traffic to your website or blog is to ask for feedback.  By providing a link, you will not only get website traffic, but you will also get what you asked for, feedback.  For example, do you sell great products, but are your prices too high?  Twitter members will let you know.

4.   You can update customers

When connecting with customers, invite them to opt-in for your newsletters.  Or, give your customers the opt-in for Twitter updates.  You can share promotional codes, new product releases, and so forth. Twitter as a marketing tool

5.   Use Twitter to hire help

Whether you want to hire a full-time employee or outsource a project or two, you can use Twitter to find qualified individuals to do the work.

6.   Build relationships with future customers or business partners

Most importantly, use Twitter as a means of connecting with prospects, customers and possible business partners. Treat Twitter connections like you would network with other people at a social or professional networking event. Allow people to get to know you and offer help before offering your products and services.

For more practical help on using Twitter as a social networking tool to grow your business, try out our social media starter project kit!

WEB 2.0 Other Popular Technologies You Must Know About

Are you using these popular technologies?

Today you will become acquainted with other popular technologies that you must know about for you business.

What is Tagging?

A commonly used term with Web 2.0 is tagging. Tagging is a way users can classify or organize and categorize data, and is common on many sites including social bookmarking.  How it works is users attach tags to data items like web pages, their blog entries or even photographs they want classified and categorized.  When you tag a blog page, you may tag it with terms like, “internet marketing” or “small business marketing”.

Web 2.0 is a client-sided application, meaning end-users, people sitting at their computer, can categorize, tag and store data on the Web and share it with others. For example, let’s say you bookmark 3 of your favorite sites. Usually, when you visit another computer, your bookmarks will not show up when you log in. When you use Web 2.0 technologies however, you bookmark your favorite sites to public forums, so you can access them from anywhere. At the same time, anyone else can access your favorites from any computer anywhere in the world.  This is a powerful and intelligent way of sharing data. Really Simple Syndication

What is RSS?

This is another WEB 2.0 technology that rapidly gained popularity. RSS technology, or “Really Simple Syndication” is a tool anyone can use to tell the world at large about new blog entries or web entries. What you do, is set up your site content using RSS tools or content aggregators. What happens is any time you post new information to your page, that information is fed to people that are linked to your feed. For instance, you can subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting RSS feed and choose to read it through Google Reader so that you can follow all your favorite blogs in one place.

Other Applications

Many applications allow readers to interact with the Web pages they browse. These applications are all part of Web 2.0 technology, and include SOAP, XML, and AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript) which allows websites to communicate with the browser behind the scenes and without human interaction. These technologies allow you to interact with a web page that is live in much the same way you would interact with a page from your own computer, a page you created.

In conclusion, even though WEB 2.0 is not new anymore, people are finding new and innovative ways to use it.  Strategically, you can use Web 2.0 to market your products and services and promote your business or site to millions of people around the world. Everywhere, people are taking an active interest in becoming members of a global community. You need to do this in a politically correct and decent way.

Thus, Web 2.0 has become a lot more popular than it had been in the past. Sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and YouTube are all growing at a rapid pace and are being used by collaborative types interested in linking and information sharing on the Web.

And if you’re convinced by now that you should become part of this exciting WEB 2.0 world full of opportunities, please have a look at Virtual Project Consulting’s Social Media Starter Kit. It will help you become active on the top 4 social media tools in a way that will grow your business exponentially.

Please share with us some of your favorite WEB 2.0 technologies that you use that makes a difference in your business?!? LEAVE A COMMENT

WEB 2.0 – How to utilize Blogs for Business

WEB 2.0 and Blogs

Most Web 2.0 platforms will ask you to contribute to the content contained on the site. By having a business blog, you can encourage visitors to add their insights to a page, through ongoing commentary to blog posts. It is possible to interact with these visitors by replying to each comment made on your site. By allowing visitors to post feedback or comments to your blog entries, the blog can serve as a mini community or forum. This is also a way to find out how visitors (prospects) think and what they want.

Popular blogs receive thousands of visitors every month. There are search engines whose sole purpose involves tracking blogs and related sites, including Technorati.com for example.

Most bloggers now include photos and other graphic elements in their web pages, along with text. You can even use MP3 or videos to enhance the quality of content provided in your blog. Online entrepreneurs and marketers are using blogs in many ways, to announce their passions, beliefs, purpose or to pitch their products and services while providing visitors with valuable content and information.

One of the reasons blogs are popular for marketing is they allow users to provide content that is updated frequently. You can post daily, weekly or monthly. The more frequently you post information to your blog, the more likely you are to maintain your page ranking and attract visitors to your blog.  The most successful business blogs have 300 times more content than the average blog.

Blog Strategies

How to utilise blogs for businessFrom Denise Wakeman, ‘The Blog Squad’, you can learn many blog strategies. According to Denise, the key to a successful business blog is frequency (at least 2-3 times per week) and quality. Let me share her 4 E’s strategy with you:

  1. Educate: Write “How to” posts, explain concepts, Questions and Answers etc
  2. Entertain: Tell stories, use video etc
  3. Engage: Do polls, ask for comments and feedback etc
  4. Enrich: Make yourself/your business stand out, differentiate yourself.

In conclusion the WEB 2.0 sites are user-friendly sites that promote socialization, collaboration and community building. These sites are also frequently used as a platform for small businesses and entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services to the public without blatantly advertising them. It gives individuals, like entrepreneurs, the opportunity to communicate with a global community.

Please feel free to comment and let us know how you use blogging for your business!  Also, if you need help with creating a WEB 2.0 social networking strategy for your business, have a look at the social media strategy template that Virtual Project Consulting is giving away for free!

WEB 2.0 – Three Things You Must Know

What is Web 2.0 and why you need it? WEB 2.0 for Newbies

Have you noticed how the terms collaboration and communication crops up everywhere? They are the buzz words that are part of Web 2.0.  The purpose of this article is for you to become crystal clear on what Web 2.0 is, the key features of Web 2.0 and what the implication of Web 2.0 is for your business.

1. Definition of Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a broad term describing many different kinds of websites, websites that provide a platform where end-users have control over the content of sites. Web 2.0 includes social networking sites, wikis, Blogs, RSS Feeds and other sites that emphasize collaboration and sharing among users. Some well-known examples of free Web 2.0 tools are:

  • Facebook and MySpace (social networking)
  • Twitter (micro blogging)
  • Squidoo (community website to create pages, called lenses, for subjects of interest)
  • LinkedIn (professional networking)
  • Craiglist (listing site for classified ads and forums)
  • Skype  (PC to PC calls)
  • del.icio.us (social bookmarking)
  • Technorati (blogging)
  • Flickr  (photo sharing)

2. Web 2.0 Key Features

Most sites, regardless of their platform, share key features if they are WEB 2.0 sites. Here are some of the key features and benefits associated with this new wave in technology:

  1. Web 2.0 encourages greater collaboration among webmasters and visitors, so that interactive communities are created on the Web.
  2. Web 2.0 approaches the Web as a platform for building conversation and communities.
  3. The “new” Web focuses more on social networking and sharing, through various means including through blogs, wikis and more.
  4. The philosophy behind Web 2.0 is one that promotes an “architecture of participation” where all visitors and users have the opportunity to contribute to a site’s development and progress.

The Web no longer serves as an entity in itself, but rather as a platform individuals can use to connect with others. WEB 2.0 is about people connecting with other people.

3. Business Implication of Web 2.0

Companies can now also share information and collaborate with one another in new and interesting ways. This will require business managers to start thinking more horizontally, moving away from a hierarchical model of communicating to one where knowledge is shared freely among employees, suppliers, vendors and even competitors.

Some companies are even encouraging their customers to take advantage of social networks to help them advertise. A company can also help businesses make working more practical and simpler. Rather than have individuals use stand-alone systems only, company’s can now encourage the joint use of software and computers among multiple users. Data can easily be shared from one person to next, meetings can be held online, and problem solving can take place from a much broader perspective.

Business entrepreneurs need to realize that this technology has existed for some time, but offers an interactive approach to marketing and everyday business operations. If companies haven’t done so already, they should examine how they can integrate Web 2.0 into daily operations while still hedging risks. If you decide to use social networking for marketing your business online, you should create a social networking strategy that integrates with your existing marketing efforts.

And to assist you with the creation of your own social networking strategy, I have developed a social media strategy template. It is easy to use and filled with recommended tactics for different social media platforms. It will also let you put measurement and maintenance in place in order to realize value over the longer term.

For more social media tips and articles, please subscribe to my blog, to the right…

Social Networking Communities

Building Smart Communities Through Social Networking

Let’s first look at what is social networking? Social networking is where people develop networks of friends and associates. It forges and creates links between different people. A social network can form a key element of collaborating and networking.

In sequal to the previous posting on how to measure the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts and what ROI categories to use, we will now look at what type of social networking communities to create to gain advantages from free social networking.

The common types of communities created are:

  1. Customer Community
  2. Employee Community
  3. Partner Community

The goals for creating these types of communities are:

Customer Community goals:

  • Better understand customer preferences and profile
  • Increase awareness of your brand
  • Facilitate sharing of best practices
  • Increase adoption of your products and services
  • Improve customer loyalty and retention
  • Receive real time feedback from customers regarding wants and needs
  • Increase persistent traffic to the website
  • Solicit customer-driven innovation
  • Empower power users and experts to find and fill job positions

Employee Community Goals:

  • Create a company culture of sharing and teamwork
  • Increase intra-company communication and collaboration
  • Improve employee retention and the bond between company and employee
  • Discover new ideas and accelerate innovation
  • Encourage cross-functional inputs to drive better decision making
  • Bolster minority and special interest group programs

Partner Community Goals:

  • Enable general communication with partners
  • Facilitate sharing of best practices & creation of a knowledge base
  • Encourage co-innovation to better serve joint customers and markets
  • Increase sales through real-time market intelligence
  • Provide a central repository for partner communication
  • Enable opinion sharing and recommendations

This is an extract from my Social Media Marketing Report.

If you’re interested in related social media articles, read here and please feel free to leave any comments.

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