web analytics

The Joy of Text: The Right Way to Do It

SMS marketing can be an easy and inexpensive way to stay in touch with your customers. SMS — also known as Short Message Service — marketing is when you send a text message to your customer database in order to tell them about your service or product. Various sources will tell you that a majority of people now own cell phones and that text messaging is prevalent among those who do. Usually SMS marketing is a means to get your customers through your door — physical or metaphorical — in order to purchase your product. SMS marketing can be tricky, so it’s important to have the right people helping you along the way. As you get started with SMS marketing, here are some basics to think about.

Get customers to grant permission

Given the laws about soliciting people via cell phone — including by text — it’s important you ensure your customer signs up to receive your texts. One of the best ways to do this is to provide an incentive like a chance to win an exciting new piece of technology or a gift certificate. Provide the number for your customer to enter the contest. Be sure to let entrants know that entering the contest also grants their permission to receive further text messages from your company. Although some consumers utilize unlimited texting plans, others do not and will want to know they will be charged a fee for receiving your texts. Be frank but friendly; letting customers know pertinent information upfront will decrease the likelihood of angry customers blocking your texts in the future.

Keep customers engaged

Offer your customers promotions to entice them to continue receiving your text messages. Give them a certain percentage off by entering the code given in the text message. You could offer a bonus item to the first ten people through your door the following day. If you’re a company that gives out free samples, considering including some kind of giveaway with orders, whether placed in person or online.

Know your customer and your product

It’s important for you to understand when your customers will be free to check their texts and respond to your message. If you’re appealing to stay-at-home parents or foodies who plan meals at the start of the day, considering sending a text in the morning about a dinner special you’re offering. Tantalize customers when they are likely to be hungry and looking for options. A late afternoon text can prompt action from a customer willing to stop by your place of business on his/her way home from the office, whether s/he’s picking up dinner or popping into your store to pick up a sweater on sale.

Use SMS marketing timing to your advantage

If business is slow, use SMS marketing to boost your sales. The message you send will get to your customers in a matter of seconds. Use that window of time to offer deals or discounts to customers who buy from you within a certain time frame. Be sure to be clear on the details of the offer, such as noting your offer is only good on the following Monday — not every Monday.

Be prepared for customers to respond

Once you have appealed to customers and you begin attracting business, make sure you’re able to provide what was offered. If you offer a buy-one-get-one special, have enough of that item to get through the promotional period. If you’re asking your customer to click on a link in a text message, ensure the link works so the customer can get to your website. Make sure the customer has a good experience so they will continue to receive the SMS marketing messages. Customers who have to jump through hoops just to save a small percentage off the regular price might not follow through if completing their purchase becomes an ordeal.

Opting out

Always give your customer a chance to opt out of receiving text messages from you. Every message you send should include instructions on how to stop receiving messages from you. Ideally, you’ll never lose any customers, but making it difficult to stop messages — no matter how interested the customer was when s/he signed up to receive communication from you — will only result in bad word of mouth that can affect the rest of your customer base.

SMS marketing is one of the easiest ways to stay connected to your customers. It’s crucial to get permission, respect your customer’s privacy and make it easy for them to both contact and shop with you. Happy customers breed positive feedback and return business!

How to Create a Business Model

Think of your business model as a football playbook, as a way to implement
and execute your plan of success. The touchdown is your revenue. As the coach
(or small business owner), your job is to sift through the variety of ways
that will show how you are going to achieve your ultimate goal. By “drawing out”
your plan of action, you are simply showing how you will implement your
plans and what outcome is anticipated.
The purpose of a business model is to let others know about your product, the
value it brings to your target market, who that target market is, how you will
compete with similar companies in the same market, and how you will make money
using all of these components. Once you know the components of your business model,
structuring it will be easier to do, but first you need to know what type of
business model you should be looking at. This will be completely dependent on the
product or service you are providing and what you ultimately decide to do with the business

Though there are many different business models to consider, a basic structure
of a business model is a good place to start. Knowing how you will get your product
or service to the end user or customer will give you an idea how to choose the model
best suited for you. For small business owners in this day of technology, creating
a business model that will include social media is a key point for any market.

Traditional business models for example would include:1) direct marketing to customer
(think Dell), 2) retailers or sell to distributor and allow them to sell it for you,
3) exclusivity (rights to certain distributors only, such as music), 4) franchise and
5) advertisers (that sell ads for others). New business models are emerging with the
expanding technology of online. You will do well to utilize the social media platforms,
blogs, websites, content marketing, email blasts, and SEO.


Companies like Amazon, EBay, and Dell have captured the online
market with their business model. Some of their components allow the customer freedom
to shop whenever they please and have their items shipped straight to their home.
However, brick and mortar companies, such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy have amended their
business models to give customers the convenience of online shopping capabilities
combined with the ability to same day pick up.


So how do you draw out the business model once you’ve finalized your final draft?
Consider using PowerPoint or Google Docs for creating your model. Both
provide the tools you need to create professional looking business model designs.


An example of a simple business model created in PowerPoint:



As you can see, a business model can be as simple or as complex as you like.
Just keep in mind that the most important points of your business model should
be included. If your business is going to place the focus online, include that
as a point. Do not confuse a business model and a business plan. A business
plan is far more detailed and complicated than your basic model. Remember, your
business model is only to represent your plan of action, a visual of your ideas
and the ultimate goal in a simpler way.

Ryan Franklin is a guest blogger who writes about small business issues and technology on behalf of Ordoro.

Meeting Your Customers through Engagement

There’s a common suggestion many rock climbers have for those who want to start climbing: “Three on, one off.” This means you should have three extremities—two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand—touching the rock or wall at all times, ensuring multiple points of support. This is also a great way to think about cross-channel marketing. The more places you connect with customers, the more support you have. Even if a customer doesn’t connect with your business in one venue, they’ll hopefully connect with two or three others. This article will explain and highlight some tactics for cross-channel marketing, specifically in social media.

The pull method of marketing

Pull method marketing works when a product or service becomes so well-branded and valued that customers seek out the company’s stores and other places where their product is stocked. Rather than pushing the product at customers, marketers pull customers to the product through branding. How does a company brand their product or service? Cross-channel marketing to establish branding works like this: when customers hear about a product from a number of venues—like social media, email and television, as well as newspapers, storefronts and word of mouth—they then seek out and purchase the product or service due to the frequency and effective branding done by the company.

How should cross channel marketing work?

Pull method marketing is a simple theory, but a more complicated reality, as is cross-channel marketing. Cross-channel marketing creates a streamlined, repeated message that appears consistently in a variety of different venues, both physical and digital. But customers respond differently to emails than they would to ads on Facebook. Likewise, their presence and mentality on YouTube will be different from their mindset when sorting through the mail. Your marketing should be tailored to the particular medium—while repeating a streamlined message—so you connect with customers on a variety of levels. Cross-channeling focuses on meeting customers at each stop in a way that is applicable to the medium, re-establishing and repeating the company’s message.

What role should social media play?

Let’s look at an example when marketing on social media doesn’t work. The advertisements that appear on the sidebars of a website like Facebook or YouTube are often targeted to users based on their interests and search histories. While this is by no means a bad way to connect with new customers, it’s only doing half of the work that a streamlined, cross-channel campaign could accomplish. A more effective tactic would be to streamline communication with a customer through several venues, such as sending an email within a month of a similar-messaged ad that appears on Facebook and a video on YouTube. It’s important in a case like this to understand your customer and how they are likely to respond in a social media venue. Integrate data from multiple sources to better equip your cross-channel marketing strategy.

The fact is, customers won’t see every channel you employ for marketing. While it’s increasingly common for users to establish multiple presences online—Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube—they won’t be everywhere at once. What’s important is the availability and prominence of your message at each location so your message is consistent and streamlined when customers frequent a website or receive mail. This is a great way to achieve successful branding and your social media communication with customers will only grow from that point on.

Key to Success is Social Presence

In today’s time, we get to see that the internet has completely integrated in the lives of people. Everything is done online, like shopping, filling a form for admission in the college, paying the utility bills etc. Hence it is a necessity that entrepreneurs and big organizations alike should make a strong social presence in the growing economy. So if you own a large or a small business, the key to success is to go online, take necessary steps to improve the social presence and make your presence felt to the entire world with your products and services.

Why social presence is considered important?

We all know about the wave that is being created by two social networking giants Facebook and Twitter. Facebook now has around 955 million users and it caters to around 1 billion search queries per day. Whereas Twitter has around 500 million users, with 1.6 billion search queries per day.

The sheer volume of people using the Facebook and Twitter and the sheer number of search queries handled by these two social networking websites makes sure that small business should have a presence socially.

Moreover, having a social presence helps business to create a brand identity for them and helps them to cut down on advertising costs too.

How business can improve their social presence?

With Facebook businesses get an option to create their own page explaining about their service. Apart from this it helps businesses to interact closely with their customers. Apart from just having a Facebook page businesses can also participate in groups related to their niche and offer solutions and advice to the problems posted by people in those groups. When businesses work on this strategy it helps them to identify itself as a brand that offers help and easy to reach and this results in more people visiting and the page of a particular business.

Facebook also has their own ad platform where businesses can create an advertisement and those advertisements will be shown on profiles of the users who have interest in the niche where the company provides its. This feature also helps a business to improve its social presence in Facebook

With Twitter, a company can generate business based on the number of followers it has. Businesses can create their own profiles and post tweets about the service they offer. When posting the tweets they should make sure that the services offered should be preceded with #. This symbol is called a hashtag and identifies key words for the internal Twitter search engine. When someone searches for these words in twitter the results shows the tweet posted by the business and there is a good chance that user can follow your business and can become a customer.

Similar to Facebook, Twitter also offers paid advertisement to improve the social presence of a business. There are two paid advertisement options available with Twitter. First offer is called “promoted Tweets” and second option is called “promoted Accounts”.

With promoted tweets option, the commercial tweet you post is promoted when a user searches for those keywords. The tweet shows up in the newsfeed of the search results. Whereas, with promoted accounts your twitter profile can add more followers related to your niche on the basis of pay per follower.

These are methods through which a business can improve its social presence with social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter. The importance of businesses to improve its social presence is definitely increasing as recently Google plus has also integrated their Google places listings with Google plus profiles. Therefore, I can very well conclude that businesses need to improve their social presence in order to remain successful in future.

Philip is a guest blogger interested in writing informative contents related to social media. Recently Philip has updated information on how to improve social presence for a business on his website. For more information please visit social-presence.net

Your Message is Inbound

As social media changes the boundaries between personal and professional, personal and commercial relationships are merging. For marketers, this changes the traditional relationship between the company or the brand and the consumer. Now, consumers are likely to follow their favorite celebs on Twitter and become fans of their preferred brands on Facebook. If you can provide useful information to consumers, they’re more likely to stick around and are more likely to send business your way.

What today’s communication landscape means for marketers

At the same time this increased connectivity is happening, consumers are also becoming more self-reliant. Sounds like a contradiction, but it’s true. Consumers are more likely to do independent research on the Internet or through word of mouth before coming into a store or even reaching your website. A ZMOT survey found consumers needed 5.3 points of information before purchasing a good or service in 2010 and 10.4 points of information in 2011. They’re more likely to find this information themselves, using either a smartphone to look up information on the go or performing independent research online. Marketers are tasked with reaching out to people who may feel they don’t need to be marketed to because they can find the information themselves.

Connecting with consumers

Companies that do a good job with marketing tend to focus on useful information or action that turns existing customers into repeat business and generates buzz that can tempt new business. Being an information maven and sharing information before the point of need spells success in this environment.

Companies with a personal touch

  • Hyatt: This worldwide hotel chain generated a win for consumers and employees with its “Random Acts of Generosity” campaign. Each Hyatt location was given a sum of money to spend on guests by offering them a free meal, free drink or spa service. As a result, guests were more likely to prefer Hyatt when surveyed and employees enjoyed surprising guests. Consumers’ personal travel needs — food, shelter and comfort — were met with the Hyatt’s offerings.
  • Jet Blue and Southwest Airlines: Both of these airlines tweet flight information including flight delays and schedule changes. These airlines recognize consumers keep track of travel information from home and on the go and try to give customers timely information. Additionally, the companies also tweet flight deals. Might this increase the loyalty factor by making these airlines seem responsive? It would seem so.
  • Comcast: Internet providers like Comcast know customers complain when service is interrupted. The company personally monitors social media outlets like Twitter and responds directly to customer tweets, enhancing that sense of connection as well as problem solving.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines: Carnival tweets real-time information on ports and weather, updated information on programs and cruise features and fun photos of cruise destinations. Not only do they come across as a breath of fresh Caribbean air on Twitter, they also know how to lure in folks planning that fall vacation.

Companies like the above have a way of reaching out to their customers and making them feel their needs are being met, both in person and via social media. company whose human resources department treats their employees as well as they do their customers all but guarantees success. Happy workers are happy to provide stellar customer service, no matter their industry.

Trust that a good campaign will generate buzz that reaches beyond its scope, attracting good PR and new customers. Being responsive in person and through social media can help you monitor the success of existing campaigns and connect with your customers and staff.

Can Less Hours Equal More Productivity?

Have you ever sat down at your desk with a list of tasks for the day, only to walk away eight hours later having accomplished very little of what you set out to do?

In an office environment full of emails, conference calls and distractions, it’s easy to spend hours at our desk while making little headway.

What if you’d arrived in the morning with that same list of tasks, but only three hours to get them done?

Chances are, you’d have set right into the most important job, letting coffee breaks, non-critical emails and chatting with coworkers wait for another time.

Workaholics come in all shapes and sizes. Some entrepreneurs put in 100+ hours a week growing their own company, convinced that without their own constant personal energy, everything will crumble. Others simply feel like they need to keep up with the pace in their office. If everyone else stays until 7 pm, won’t you look bad for dipping out at 5?

In April, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg made news with a short video about her decision to leave work every day at 5:30 p.m. At first, she countered this decision by sending emails early in the morning and late at night. Eventually, however, she drew a clear distinction between ‘at work’ and ‘not at work,’ freeing herself up completely for time with her family.

Sandberg’s example should resonate with anyone who regularly misses dinners with their spouse or children due to late nights at the office. That’s reflected in Americans’ commendable productivity levels, which have risen 400 percent since 1950. In other terms, we could comparatively afford the same standard of living as 60 years ago with just a quarter of our work hours that we put in each week today. Exacerbating the problem, 86 percent of males and 67 percent of females in the U.S. are estimated to work more than 40-hours each week. In short, the notion of a 40-hour work week being the ‘average’ is definitely a thing of the past.

Most European countries mandate minimum leave for employees, generally at least 20 days per years. That’s in direct response to health studies demonstrating that people working 60 or more hours in a week are about a quarter more likely to get sick . People putting in 11 or more hours a day, in particular, are at a severely heightened risk of developing coronary heart disease than those who work just eight.

Working too hard can damage relationships, leading to strife, separation, and divorce. How much time would serious marital problems take away from your life and your work? Wouldn’t you rather spend those hours enjoying time with your spouse and family, rather than in the hospital getting stents in your heart or figuring out the details of how you’ll split up your family?

Think about your habits in a normal work day.

  • Do you read or work during meals?
  • Do you worry about your future even when things are going well?
  • Do you turn your hobbies into ways to make money?
  • Did your family give up on expecting you to show up on time long ago?

If the answer to those questions is ‘yes,’ pause to reflect for a moment on your priorities. Even if you’re a number-crunching details person who just can’t fathom how you’ll pull yourself away from the desk before 10 pm tonight, think about the ramifications that over-burdening yourself with work can have on the rest of your life.

Ultimately, keeping yourself happy and healthy will extend your lifespan and help to prevent unnecessary drama in your life. When it’s considered that way, heading home at 5:30 pm may be just the fix you need to increase your productivity in the long term.

Guest Blogger: Anita Brady leads the team at www.123Print.com. The website offers customizable print products for business and life situations, and has everything needed to market a business, where you can make your own business cards and design other promotional items that combine high quality and customization with an affordable price.

Can Social Media Really Work for B2B?

Right now, social media is right at the fashionable heart of marketing. You can’t move for tips and advice on how to utilize this most exciting of play-things, and all of the time the biggest brands are falling over each other to saturate the likes of Twitter and Facebook with their advertising message.

For the B2B marketer however, it can feel like sitting outside the door of a party that you haven’t been invited to. Sure you can hear the sounds of everybody inside having a great time, but you are left wondering how to score a ticket to this most exciting of marketing experiences.

Social media has always been a tough nut to crack for B2B, with the very nature of individuals sharing their likes and dislikes not always feeling very compatible with the world of marketing databases and corporate gifts.

Social networks are where people go to gush about their favorite brands or show off to their friends about the latest cool thing they have bought, and this can leave the B2B marketer scratching their head and wondering what is in it for them.

So brace yourself for some more advice, as we explore what is in it for the B2B marketer, and how they can reap the benefits of the social media world.

Just One Question

Whoever you market to, whether it’s individual consumers or businesses, you should always ask yourself the most fundamental of questions, why do you want to utilize social media marketing? There is only one correct answer, “because that’s where my audience is”.
The answer to this question will dictate everything for you going forward. It will help you to decide which, if any, of the social networks you should be targeting. It will help to dictate your message, your tone, your strategy, whether you are trying to sell to people, whether you are trying to brand build, everything comes down to where your audience are and what they are doing when they are there.
Don’t get drawn into the “fad” aspect of social media, see it as just one tool in your arsenal of communicating directly to your customer base.

Now What?

Once you have completed this process of identifying which social networks your target audience are using and what they are doing there, it is time for you to draw up some realistic expectations, targets and how you hope to achieve them.

Remember the analogy of social media being a tool in your arsenal? Well change that to it being a tool box. Some social networks won’t be suitable for what you are trying to achieve and it is up to you to root through them and find the best ones for you.

LinkedIn is a popular destination for B2B marketers because it is a natural place for business people to meet and discuss more work related matters, whereas Facebook might not be as appropriate given its informal, more friendship based approach.

If you take to Twitter, will anyone really want to listen to you talk about your products and services? Step away a little and talk around your subject and about issues that your target audience will find interesting. Nobody is going to sign up to a sales spiel, become an authority on your target’s subject.

Make It Work for You

One of the main reasons why B2B marketers complain that social media doesn’t work for them is because they find it hard to use it to sell directly to their customers. It is here where they are making their biggest mistake.

Social media is so full of opportunities and if you look at it purely as a sales outlet you are not making the most of them. More than anything else, it is a gold mine of valuable information.

Are you still sending out mailers addressed to “Buying Manager” rather than using LinkedIn to find out their name, address, office, phone number and direct email? Oh look, there is a list of groups that they participate in, I wonder if my target has asked any questions or started any discussions in there that I might be able to contribute to…

Social media gives you the opportunity to know your targets better than ever before and introduce yourself in a non-buying situation before you approach them in a sales capacity. You can use it to improve your conversion rates for other marketing, build yourself as an authority in your industry and communicate more easily than ever before.

The opportunities available all stem from asking that first question, why do I want to utilise social media marketing. Finding where your audience are and what they use social media for will dictate your whole strategy.

If you are still scratching around looking to use social media as your new shop, you are missing the massive opportunities that are available for the B2B marketer.

Guest Blogger: Alan Grainger is a Web Marketing Specialist at The Corporate Gifts Company, a B2B distributor of executive gifts. Follow them on Twitter @corporategiftco.

The Slut, The Politician and The Broken Record…..Which Type of Entrepreneur are You?

South Park Business Strategy: Step 1, Steal the Underpants. Then Step 2. Step 3, we're rich!

The South Park Business Strategy: The gnomes in the cartoon TV show South Park outlined their business plan. First, they steal the underpants. Then there’s step 2. At step 3, they are rich! Who else is missing step 2, just like the gnomes?

Any athlete out there understands the fine art of ‘finishing’. You can run the best mile splits of your life, but if you forget to cross the finish line, you won’t win the race. You can end the first half up 100 points, but if you don’t come back after half time, the game will be forfeited. No matter what you do in life, if you don’t finish, your hard work along the way will never truly be appreciated.

Unfortunately, I see many entrepreneurs who, for one reason or another, become stuck halfway through the race.  Instead of crossing the finish line, they end up wandering perpetually around mile 15 of their business development marathon.  All entrepreneurs have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Like athletes, they must understand where they are vulnerable and put mechanisms in place to prevent those weak points from throwing their business success over a cliff.

Although all entrepreneurs are slightly different, I’ve found there are three main camps that have the hardest time turning their ideas into viable businesses:

The Slut: This person has jumped into bed with more ideas than a Las Vegas hooker. They simply love ideas, and each month they become captivated with a new AMAZING one. Each new idea is ‘The One’ and will be described as the most ‘incredible’, ‘ground breaking’, ‘hot’ and ‘exciting’ idea to ever have been conceived. All their energy, attention and money will be poured into this new idea until sadly one day………….wait for it……………they find a new, hotter idea, and abandon all of their previous hard work to pursue this latest, even more AMAZING, concept.

The Good? They really do have some great thoughts, plus they are so passionate they can easily pull others in to help move things forward and create even more excitement.

The Bad? They will never take things far enough to turn an idea into a business. Perhaps it’s a fear that if they really evaluate the feasibility of their concept, they’ll end up finding out something they don’t want to know. Sluts also tend to dislike dealing with logistics and some of the other less ethereal aspects of creating a business. Continuing to have idea after idea allows them to sit in a bit of a safe zone. They don’t ever accomplish anything, but they don’t experience the pain of failing either.

The Politician: Full of grandiose talk, but not much substance, they have one clear concept they want to push forward, and they’ll talk to anyone who will listen, trying to get them on board. They may end up with a great network to assist in the creation of a business, but not enough actual meat to their concept to do much with it. They either have a lack of knowledge about how to fill in the details, or a lack of understanding that there are details that need to be filled in.

The Good? These folks are great communicators and salespeople; they can easily develop the network needed for business success, and therefore possess a huge amount of potential.

The Bad? They don’t know what they don’t know (and they may not know how to figure that out). Talk will only get you so far. Eventually, people need to see something that is defensible, fleshed out and complete. Normally, the politician has been successful in another type of career. Thus, they think they know what they are doing, but have no knowledge of how to put  an actual business together.   ‘Creating’ a business and ‘operating’ a business are two very different things.

The Broken Record: Stuck on the same chorus over and over again, this entrepreneur is the opposite, in many ways, to the slut and the politician. They stick ad naseum with one idea (even it if is a bad one) and agonize over little details without paying any attention to the big picture

The Good? They do realize that a business can’t be created unless you understand and work out the (sometimes sticky) details.

The Bad? Their focus is misdirected. They don’t realize that although it is true that details matter, they must be analyzed within the context of the larger vision.

None of these people will ever create a successful business. They might have great ideas, but they are clueless as to how to get to finish line. You don’t need to know it all as an entrepreneur, but you do need to understand your own bad habits. Figure out what is holding you back, and get out of the way of your own success.

Portrait of Laura K Petrolino

Laura Petrolino is Founder of Flying Pig Consulting a full service communications, business consulting and brand development firm specializing in helping small businesses, start ups and non-profits reach their goals and expand their market outreach. She is also co-host of the small business talk show, Call A Biz Hero. You can find her on twitter @lkpetrolino



Top 3 Online Tools You Need to Track Your Social Media Growth

Tracking your Social Media

Do you know how to track your social media?

Social media is becoming increasingly important as a way for businesses to connect with buyers, prospects, and the market. As social media grows, it will become critical for businesses to brand themselves and build relationships as part of the sales and marketing process. Social media marketing can be a great way for brands to start conversations with their users, but it can also be a time suck. It’s very important for businesses to understand what it is that they want to track and how social media fits into their overall business strategy.

Facebook Insight

Facebook Insights is an excellent free analytics tool built right into Facebook that allows you to track trends among your fans and see how they are interacting with your page. Insights is split into two main sections: users and interactions.

Users give you lots of basic demographic information about your fans, as well as show top referrers to your page.

Interactions can be a real goldmine, offering deep analytics into the updates you’ve made to your page and how users have interacted with it.

You can see which content has been most popular and which tanked, which helps understand what fans like to see on your page. Site owners with Like buttons on their sites can use Insights to see how many people saw the button, clicked on it, and how they got to the page.

Social Mention

Social Mention is a real-time search engine for social media. It’s a great tool for tracking buzz about your firm, product, or launch through Twitter, Facebook, forums, blogs, and other social media sites. A widget shows statistics over time like number of retweets, unique authors, as well as twists like the relative passion of the sentiment about your brand. Social media stats are broken down by content type, so you can see where the most attention is coming from. You can also sign up for emails to alert you whenever a keyword comes up in social content.


Not only is bit.ly the world’s most popular url shortening tool, it is also an excellent way to use analytics to track link clicks and user behavior. This kind of information would usually not be available if the link were to a social site or to one on which you didn’t have access to the analytics software. However, creating a bit.ly account gives you access to its full-fledged analytics suite, showing top referrers, historical data, and more. You can use their shortening service without having an account, but then you’d be missing out on all that analytical goodness.


Social media tracking is important. This list is only to get you thinking about how your business uses social media and how you can begin to track all those tweets and blog mentions. It’s important to analyze the data once you’ve gotten it. If social media isn’t directly helping your bottom line, it may be time to re-think your strategy. Above all, use your analytics to better engage and interact with your audience.

Ashyia Hill is a social media advocate at the small business credit cards comparison website, CreditDonkey.  Do you have any social media analytics tools that have helped you grow your business? Let us know in the comments!

Kim Kardashian Crowdsurfs Twitter as a Business Strategy

Kim Kardashian in a big feathery dressLast week I was drinking my morning coffee when I saw a brief interview on the Today Show with Kim Kardashian.  Matt Lauer was talking to her about her personal brand-based empire. Though they did not focus on it, Kim shared that she often crowdsurfed Twitter to make both personal and business decisions.

In case you are not sure who Kim Kardashian is, she is the star of the reality TV show “Keeping up with the Kardashians”.  If that didn’t answer your question (I know it didn’t for me), she is the daughter of Kris and Robert Kardashian. Her father, Robert, is a prominent defense attorney.  Her parents divorced and later her mom married Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner.  She has 9 siblings; 3 from her mom, 4 from Bruce and 2 from Bruce and her mom.  Her family dynamic contributed to getting the reality show. But Kim is a PR maven. Like Paris Hilton, she is another person who has managed to become famous just for being famous.

Though Kim did not rely on her fame as a basis of success, she has created a very successful business. Starting off as a fashion stylist, she and her sister opened up a clothing store called DAS. She has also launched that into a high end fashion line in conjunction with fashion house Bebe; an Armenian-inspired jewelry line;  a shoe company (shoedazzle.com); a fitness DVD, and most recently her own brand of perfume.

In the interview, Kim mentioned that she is often indecisive and will ask her Twitter followers for their opinion, whether it be about what color nail polish she should use or design concepts for the bottle for her new perfume.  She said that involving her followers made her more accessible. It allows them to relate to her more easily and feel like they are a part of what she is doing.

This is the key. Crowdsurfing is great for gathering opinions and thoughts, but it is also an excellent way to allow people to feel that they are playing a role in your decisions.  It keeps your audience involved and turns them into active participants. However, if you ask your followers for their thoughts and opinions and then completely ignore them, you will have accomplished the opposite of what you set out to do. If you are not actually interested in people’s opinions, then don’t ask.

Below is the short video interview from the Today Show – enjoy.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy