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5 Tips for a Good Twitter Header

Your header is the most important elements of design on your Twitter profile after your avatar. It will have far more visibility than your background and now will be visible on both the profile on the main site and the mobile site. So now its time to get to the brass tacks, how do you design your Twitter header?

There are not too many options, you can chose to have black or white text and then a graphic. The graphic is where you get to flex your creative muscle.

Tips:

1. Don’t make it too cluttered. Remember that most people will be viewing this from a smart phone, which is small.

2. Don’t put too much text. People are not going to spend a lot of time reading your header. In fact, there is already text on it from your profile description. Keep your text simple and easy to read.

3. Remember that Twitter headers are now responsive, so depending on what device, or screen resolution your viewer is using, it will change the positioning of text or images.

4. Check how your header looks on the main site as well as the mobile, there can be some shifting when you view it from a smaller screen.

To help you create a good Twitter header, you can use this template. Just right click and save as. Make sure that it is sized at 1500 x 500.

 

Inorganic Social Media: Buying Reviews

Your restaurant might be guaranteed organic, but your reviews might not be!

Gone are the days when social media was guaranteed organic. When you could count on feedback and opinions being the genuine article, and when a friend gave a good product review it was because they stood behind the product. Gone are the days when you talked all your friends into liking your page and writing you good reviews. Now, if you want it, you can buy it.

Want Facebook Likes? Go buy them.

Want Twitter followers? Go buy them.

Want Youtube views? Go buy them.

If someone can like it, follow it, watch it, or somehow boost a number by simply clicking a button then you can buy the button click.

These popularity buys have been empty numbers, meaning they are often bots or people being paid pennies to click your like button. They are not real fans. They do not care about you, your page, your product. They will not buy what you are selling, read your posts, tell their friends about it or comment…or will they?

The newest trend in buying popularity is buying reviews. Restaurants have be “faking” reviews for a while now by writing positive reviews for their restaurants on review sites. Often times their reviews were relatively transparent, especially if their glowing review was the only really good review in a sea of mediocre or bad reviews. But now there is a way around that.

Companies are paying people to write good reviews on sites like yelp.com or tripadvisor.com. They buy these good reviews from a company, and that company goes and writes a number of positive reviews on the review sites. The reason for this is due to the success of crowd sourcing.

Crowd sourcing has been a powerful byproduct of social media. Ask about a restaurant, store, product and hear what your friends have to say. Basically turn to the crowd to see what they like. This word of mouth advertising is the primary power of social marketing. But with being able to buy that crowd sourcing, will it lose its effectiveness?

According to a new study, by 2014 10-15% of online reviews will be bought. The FCC is trying to regulate these false testimonies, but will not likely be terribly successful. After all, how will they differentiate between real reviews and fake ones?

With an inability to effectively regulate false customer testimonies and an increase in purchased testimonies, will people continue to rely as heavily on online reviews as they have in the past? Will sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor lose their relevance? Likely not. People will still turn to these sites to see what customers have said, because even if 15% of the reviews are bought, the other 85% are real.

Of course, while a company can buy itself good reviews, what is to stop them from buying bad reviews for a competitor?

Lauren MacEwen Business to Consumer Logo Read original post on Business 2 Community

Communication of the Social Message: Tips for Business

For every brand, it’s important to think about public perception. How the public, your customers, thinks and feels about your company is vital for maintaining a competitive edge. Companies make impressions through their corporate message and how it’s delivered. As your organization grows, and you add talented players to your team, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that every member of your staff is on the same page. The last thing you want is for a team member to send out a Tweet or status update that’s completely at odds with your company’s overarching social message.

It’s also important to realize that your message may experience some shifts throughout the course of your company’s life. Every company needs technology to help keep everyone up to speed on your company’s branding message. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the resources and tools companies of all sizes should consider and implement.

Tools for Unifying Your Message

—     Collaboration Tools: Collaboration is the lifeblood of the modern business structure. With tools like hosted SharePoint services, companies of all types can stay connected in real time with employees. This is one of the most effective ways to keep everyone up to speed on branding. In most cases, if your employees are engaged with your collaboration platform, it’s easy to disseminate information in a way that is both non-intrusive and easy to access.

—     Cloud Data Access: Another similar way to deliver this information is through an integrated cloud storage service. Not unlike your collaboration tool, a cloud storage platform is a seamless way to deliver complex branding information in an easy-to-access package. While some companies are still wary of the cloud, studies indicate that more businesses are experiencing both the financial and logistical benefits of implementing cloud resources.

—     Virtualization Infrastructure: Regardless of what platform you use to deliver sensitive branding data to your staff, every company needs a powerful infrastructure to make branding data easily accessible for everyone. The problem many SMBs are facing relates to infrastructure itself. Smaller businesses often don’t have the financial resources to integrate and manage a dedicated server to deploy and manage complex branding and messaging information. This is why many SMBs are migrating to virtualized infrastructure solutions like virtual private server technology, which gives you the control and computing power of the cloud without costing what an entire cloud platform would.

Branding Communication is Serious Business

Keeping your team up to speed on your overall social message is no easy task. Not only is it difficult logistically, but you’ll come up against employees that disagree with how you approach your branding. It’s crucial to maintain dialogue about branding processes with your employees. If your employees weren’t on staff, they would be potential customers, so their feedback is valuable. The fact that not everyone is in the same geographic location can muffle this communication. Again, having powerful collaboration and cloud storage tools can serve as the proper remedy.

Social Media Positives: Conversion is Achieved with a Personal Touch

Marketing strategies are always evolving, and chances are, even the best methods today will be outdated within five years. However, that doesn’t mean that your business should ignore them. You need to be up-to-date with the best ways to reach your customer base, and right now, social media marketing is one of the methods at the top of the list. Familiarize yourself with the rules of the road when it comes to marketing on social media, both in terms of what to avoid and how to reach people and convert them into customers.

Remember you’re reaching individuals: Even if the person you’re marketing to is representing a company, you’re still interacting with an individual. Therefore, your marketing needs to have that personal appeal that will engage people. After all, your content is going to be lumped in with everything people are seeing from their friends, too. A casual voice, lighthearted tone and a little bit of personality will go a long way in connecting with your audience. Before posting anything, ask yourself whether it’s something you would be interested in looking at during your leisure time. If it’s not, rethink your content and adjust it to make it more interesting and relevant for the people you’re trying to reach.

Be trendy, but don’t break copyright: Sharing viral content on social media is all the rage, but you have to do so in a way that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. For example, many companies ran into trouble when they tried to post Harlem Shake videos because of copyright issues with the song. The safe method is to reference trends, while still keeping all of your actual content original. That way you’ll attract the attention of your customers without running into legal issues.

Keep the conversation going: Social media marketing isn’t your traditional outbound marketing. Rather, it’s a continual conversation with the people who interact with your company or brand. People are going to be posting questions or comments directed at you, or replying to questions or comments you make. Therefore, you need to be checking these and engaging with the people who have made the effort to engage with you. This often comes easily when people have positive reactions or honest questions about your products, but it can be more difficult with customer complaints. Remain polite and address everything, even the negative items.

Consider what people are interested in: People who are connected with you on social media don’t just want to hear about your brand and products all the time. Instead, they’re interested in information, fun facts, and news related to your type of product and services. Therefore, do lots of linking to interesting blog posts, news stories, and other content that will add value to those you reach. Go light on the promotional links, and tread carefully if you’re linking to anything that could be considered misleading.

Your business marketing strategy needs to include social media involvement, but it’s not going to be effective in converting customers unless you’re using the right tactics. Take a look at how companies similar to yours run their social media accounts and the results they’re getting in terms of customer engagement. Engagement often translates into sales, so if people are interacting with them, they’re doing something right. Of course, you don’t want to just copy your competitors, but to put your company’s unique voice and style into your social media marketing messages.

 

Email Marketing and the Importance of the Title

Email marketing isn’t dead, but it sure could use a style makeover. Those old, boring titles just don’t grab a potential reader’s attention anymore. It’s no longer enough to be informative; you have to be creative and just a little bit snazzy as well. You want to stand out among business emails, communique from your customer’s family and friends, messages they’re receiving about store discounts, and, unfortunately spam.

Why email titles are important

How many email marketing messages have you opened recently? If you’re like most of us, you’re very selective about which email messages you choose to spend your time reading. Nine out of 10 messages get deleted without ever being opened. There’s a reason for that. Nearly 90 trillion emails were sent in 2009. There’s likely more today. You simply can’t read everything that hits your inbox.

What that means is that the majority of your hard work composing, researching and editing your email marketing message ends up in the recipient’s computer trash can. Just think of the results — i.e., sales — you could reap if you could get an extra 10 percent of your recipients to open your message. That’s where email titles come in. Make the title enticing and the recipient turns into a reader.

How to write effective email titles

How do you write email titles that will grab a recipient’s attention? It’s a slightly different skill than is necessary for the body of your email message, so it may take you a few tries to come up with a winner. Don’t feel bad if it does. Here are some suggestions for success:

  • Keep it short: Although each email service is slightly different, you have approximately 60 characters (including spaces) to grab your reader. Anything longer than that will get cut off and not show in the recipient’s email log. Be concise and be seen.
  • Be intriguing: Nearly 90 percent of online consumers check their email inbox at least once a day. In this age of information overload, you can be assured most readers have seen, heard and read all of the obvious marketing lead-ins. Be original to grab the recipient’s interest.
  • Pick clarity over creativity: The average email reader wants to know what’s in the body of the email before he or she opens it. If your title, intriguing as it may be, doesn’t impart that information, the recipient isn’t likely to become a reader. Subject lines like “Hey” or “Check this out” can come off spammy and result in your perfectly legitimate email being moved to the trash folder post haste.
  • Use numbers: Numbered lists attract readers. Titles like “5 Reasons to Buy More Car Insurance” or “7 Kitchen Accessories You Can’t Live Without” will get read more often than the same titles without the numbers. Readers like detailed information that’s also packaged in an easy-to-read format.
  • Use your name: Email titles that include the name of your company or the name of the sender get opened at a dramatically higher rate than those without a name. Yes, your name is probably in the sender information, but add it again. You’ll be surprised.

Don’t settle for just any title atop your email marketing messages. The title is the key to whether any of the rest of your work will get read. Content is king and that includes email subject lines.

Customer Service: Your Social Media Tool Box

Like BackgroundJameson Brown of SocialMediaToday.com put it best when he called social media the “game changer” for the customer service industry. Instead of cold-calling and remaining in a stuffy call center, social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram have put a mega phone into the consumers hands. While they are tweeting or posting about their joys and woes about the products they use day to day, customer service reps are listening and (hopefully) responding.

One key factor that makes social media work for customers is the connection between the companies’ agent and the consumer. Without that connection, big name companies are using the networking opportunity to leverage their marketing position, which is only a fragment of what social media can do for a company’s growth. Here are a few ways that you can use social media and various networking tactics to broaden your scope of connection with your customer base.

Think Bigger

Think of the social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook, as platforms that allow you to make special announcements regarding new products, deals for your fans and followers, cancelations and service interruptions. Posting pics is great too, but customers really want to relate and interact with their company through these networks. After all, it is a “social” network, which implies that the customer is communicating a message to the company and the company lets the customer know that he or she is heard.

The Power of Twitter Connections

One great example of a social media/customer service connection happened when I bought a 2010 Ford Fusion. I was so excited, because it was my first hybrid car, that I immediately posted the pic on my Twitter page. About an hour later, I noticed that the Chapman Ford AZ dealership, that had sold me the car, had replied to my tweet saying that they were so glad that I was enjoying my new car. This connection made me smile and definitely made a difference.

In a recent study, conducted by Software Advice, four of their employees took part in an experiment where they mentioned in their tweets several large corporations, in various industries. For four weeks these participants tweeted complaints, compliments and requests for help, using Twitter handles (@nameofcompany) and the name of the company, so that the company could know who was mentioning them and respond. The results to the study were pretty alarming and showed how little customer service agents are using this extremely useful tool. Brands like Starbucks, Walmart and Apple were surprisingly non-responders, and their competitors took their sweet time and hadn’t even responded to half of the participants. If a customer is complaining about their awful experience at Starbucks and telling all of her friends to boycott the cafe on Twitter and Facebook and Starbucks doesn’t respond, they didn’t just lose one unhappy customer, it’s possible that they lost hundreds thousands if the customer was a celebrity with fans.

Be Efficient

Brown’s article in SocialMediaToday.com was singing the praises of a company that knows how to do customer service on social media networks the right way: Zappos.com. They have a customer service Twitter account that responds to questions in a timely and efficient manner. When a customer tweets about their Zappos shoes, they know that they will get feedback, even if it is just a smile emoticon and a quick “thanks!” Forbes’ Jenna Goudreau says that Southwest Airlines has been known to update flight delays on their Twitter page.

Most importantly, don’t let your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook or even blog lay dormant. Content is king, even if it’s a gallery of images that is regularly updated or brief updates on products and services, staying current and present lets your fans know that you are present and available to field requests, questions, or praise at any time day or night.


Yasmin Rose
A real go-getter, Yasmin encourages others around her to shoot for the stars and be the best in the world of business. She loves sharing tips on how to build your own start up and make it into a success.

Getting the message across: Best practices for Multi-channel Marketing

We’ve all seen the people who have stacks of papers, folders, and a dozen different electronic devices all spread out across a desk. Sure, they might just be messy, but often they’re some of the busiest people in an office, keeping track of hundreds of different things all at once. They might be the jacks-of-all-trades to whom everyone goes when they have a problem they just can’t answer.

Or, they might just be a marketer.

When it comes to Internet marketing, it’s always been helpful to be a multitasker. This is especially true if have a lot of clients. You can imagine the disaster that would happen if you cross-posted a status update to the wrong client’s Facebook account. No matter how quickly you got the rogue post deleted, you know someone would capture it. You would then have to deal with the public relations mess you created, and then you would likely lose a client.

Handling that to-do list

Cross-channel marketing isn’t as easy as hopping between social media platforms and making posts. Marketers could be handling email newsletters, SMS messages, social media accounts, websites – and all for multiple clients. If that sounds a little something like your reality, you may need to get some help from experts in cross-channel marketing, so you can always represent your clients in the best light.

Another advantage of getting some professional guidance is that you’re able to track how effective your marketing campaigns are. You want to know who’s reading your SMS blasts, your tweets and posts – and which form of communication is most lucrative for your client.

Sorting things out

Organization is your best tool in any marketing campaign. There are tools and software that can help you stay on top of marketing campaigns and allow you to focus on the platforms that appeal most to the audience you hope to reach.

Cross-channel marketing can be intimidating – especially if you’re someone who’s new to the world of hashtags, memes and viral videos. It takes some expertise to launch a marketing campaign across multiple platforms. You have to understand when to post, what to say, how to say it and how to time your message for the best results. Many companies report that they simply don’t have adequate staff to accomplish such a goal, or that their staff doesn’t have the knowledge to undertake such a campaign.

By bringing in an industry expert to help you analyze and fine-tune your cross-channel marketing, you can be confident that you’re getting the best results and making your clients happy.

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.

Cost of a Voter [Infographic]


Article first published as Social Media: What’s a Voter Worth? on Technorati.