Image Source: mashable.com

 

There was once a time social media was solely for personal use. Naturally, people thought it would just fade away like other dotcom companies. Since then, however, businesses had come around to the use of social networking sites. Social media marketing is now an invaluable arm in product promotions.

When it comes to social media marketing, there are benefits in hiring the right agency to ensure that online initiatives are well-integrated into the company’s bigger strategy. Creating an effective campaign goes beyond daily posts on Facebook or Twitter.

A collection of experts

Reputable agencies are known to nurture a diverse workforce where every player brings in solid and area-specific experience. They also tend to hire some of the most creative minds to edge out competition. So compared to just a single person posting updates on social networking sites, an agency can come up with a full range of social media initiatives for a unified marketing campaign.

 

 

Shorter implementation time

And because they have the experience and manpower, agencies can rapidly transition to the implementation phase after preparations. Companies that hire agencies are spared of the learning curve, thus saving them time and money and freeing up their business processes so they could focus on their core competencies.

Third party

In most instances, outsiders looking in have the better perspective. Agencies commissioned to produce and implement strategies are not bogged down by corporate politics or bureaucracy. This way, they could offer more objective assessments of their company clients and the values that can be derived from the online marketing campaign based on analytics and research.

 

Image Source: socialmediatoday.com

 

John Bohan is an Internet marketing specialist who helps clients implement their strategies through social media. Get more information on social media marketing by subscribing to this Twitter account.

Consumer reviews are getting more popular these days. A growing number of potential buyers go online and read what buyers say about a certain product. In fact, the Nielsen research “Under the Influence: Consumer Trust in Advertising” suggests that consumer opinions are gaining more weight in credibility than editorials and advertising.

Image Source: viewpoints.com

With this idea in mind, Viewpoints, an online platform for consumer reviews, recently launched Viewpoints Pulse. Since it has traditionally been difficult for brands to collect reviews themselves, subscription to this new service allows owners to collate and manage their product reviews. Viewpoints Pulse also alerts the brand owner of new reviews, allows an administrator to reply to the reviews, and sends insight reports to the owner.

Image Source: viewpoints.com

Viewpoints reports that it has so far collected almost 600,000 reviews of 37,000 products. These products are classified under 450 categories. However, unlike retailer websites, Viewpoints employs an editorial-like process with the submitted reviews. The service vets reviewers through both automated filtering and human moderating.
Viewpoints Pulse offers widgets that can be embedded on the brand’s website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and client mailing list. With Google as a partner, Viewpoints regularly feeds the search engine with its reviews – giving the added benefit of visibility in Google search results.

Image Source: viewpoints.com


John Bohan
is an Internet advertising expert and a founder of SocialTyze. Subscribe to this Facebook page to get more social media marketing updates.

Taking Pinterest to space is the goal of astronaut Karen Nyberg. Read more about it here:

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Image Source: mashable.com

At its launch, Pinterest was immediately labeled as an inherently feminine social-media site in its method, largely, it seems, because its early user base — unlike a lot of other social media communities — was predominantly female. In fact, that’s the opposite of most other social-media communities. And it wasn’t because its captcha service asked “Are you male? (Don’t lie),” and then excluded all the men. Tech sites around the web wrote articles about how men found Pinterest confusing, how the site revealed that stereotypes of the feminine were founded in reality, and went out of their way to reassure men that Pinterest could be used for manly things.

Which is part of why I’m subversively pleased at the idea of a female astronaut using Pinterest to get people excited about science and space exploration.

The Daily Dot recently talked to Karen Nyberg about how and why she decided to take to social media, and take a giant leap for humanity by being the first astronaut to use Pinterest to do so. She’d already been pinning for her own pleasure for several years, so switching to doing it as a way to share her everyday life as an astronaut while on the ISS seemed natural. Sharing a photo was a way for her to connect with folks on Earth, and the comments, repins and thank yous were definite positive feedback.

Which is good, because pinning a picture from space is a little more difficult than it is down here. There are no cell towers nearby, for one thing.

Nyberg said it’s a multiple step process to pin or tweet from the space station; if she wanted to share an image, she first had to remove the camera card and go to a computer with a local area network on the space station to turn it into a jpeg. Then she’d email it from her NASA on-board email to a personal email account and go to another computer and log in remotely to an Earth computer for an Internet connection. From there she could open the email, get the picture, and put it on her social media accounts.

Nyberg’s pinning efforts were probably most recognized when she did what is pretty typical for a Pinterest user. She shared a picture of a craft project, after sewing together a stuffed dinosaur from materials found on the ISS. (She also shared this video of her outer-space hair-care routine.) You can read more about her experience doing social media from space at The Daily Dot.

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More interesting updates about world of social media can be accessed on this John Bohan Facebook page.

There are traps that community managers should look out for, according to this SocialMediaToday.com article. Read the details below:

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In my career managing social media campaigns for corporate clients, I have approached online Community Management from many different angles. First, when short-staffed, as a Community Manager (CM) myself, then as a CM supervisor when managing full fledged campaigns and finally, as the creator of CM protocols for projects that carried reputation risks. As a matter of fact, most of the projects I have worked on involved moderating communities for clients with controversial projects. Invariably, these ‘communities’ were online environments that pushed CMs to their limits and, as a result, led us to discover common traps that they may be drawn into by the nature of their work.

Each trap is here identified as such because it led to undesired community interactions and dynamics and required extensive damage control afterwards. As those who have managed online communities know, our job places us in charge of delicate ecosystems, each with their own carefully created balance. Anything that we do that generates conflict and disrupts the community only makes our job that much harder.

1. Taking it personally

Professional CMs typically serve as the online voice of a brand or organization. The entity here represented, henceforth referred to as the the Community Owner (CO), may draw public heat for any number of reasons. When members of the online community decide to take issue with the brand/organization, they may do so in a very direct, aggressive or even insulting manner. In these cases, the CM will often feel personally attacked and this is only human. However, reacting with anger or sarcasm towards community members, though also a very human thing to do, can rapidly generate reputation issues for the CO if not an all-out flareup. Though individuals permit themselves all kinds of passionate and uninhibited behavior online, the same rules do not apply to a business or institution, simply because the online ethos always favors the ‘average guy’ over the brand. Such is the balance of power on social media. The CMs under fire that I have worked with, learned to take regular ‘time outs’ during which they would leave the office, go for a walk and take a few deep breaths before responding with renewed poise. A bit of distance can often go a long way when your role demands almost inhuman levels of tolerance!

2. Uneven moderation

All CMs have their good and bay days. The trap of uneven moderation arises when a CM’s moods dictate the level at which House Rules are applied to online community members. The severity of enforcement of these Rules, ie. banning users or slapping wrists for inappropriate content should, in principle, be constant. If their application fluctuates from one day to the next, especially if the community deals with controversial topics, the CM may be accused of taking sides and randomly censoring certain points of view. This is bad and can quickly degenerate if the community is not reassured as to the impartiality of the CM. All of the risks mentioned here are greater when a team of CMs is managing the same online community, as their distinct personalities might lead to uneven moderation. To avoid the trap of uneven moderation, it is important to codify a shared and detailed Moderation Protocol and have regular meetings where all responsible CMs get on the same page with their tone and approach. Typically, these meetings involved sharing live case studies of community behavior and coming to consensus on how such cases should be treated.

3. Over-defending the CO

Most service professionals and employees fall prey to the ‘sympathy syndrome’ when it comes to their client or employer. This is the tendency to see things more and more from the client or employers’ side and to come to personally identify with their needs and vulnerabilities, out of a desire to please and quite simply because they are paying one’s wages. The sympathy syndrome commonly clouds the CMs vision when moderating online communities.

When at their best, CMs are facilitators for dialogue between the CO and the public. They set the table, generate engagement with good content and calmly accept all feedback and criticisms concerning the CO’s services or activities so that they can channel them back to CO execs. However, as CMs spend day after day adopting the brand’s persona online, they may eventually drift towards a defensive posture regarding negative input. This is a serious reputation risk! CMs should never directly engage critics to defend their CO unless given clearance and detailed instructions from seniors in Corporate Communications / Public Affairs. And even then, in my opinion, a CM’s role is ideally that as a conduit between the CO and community members. Once they take on critics, their role as facilitator will be shot.

When negative issues need to be addressed, it is always best to defer to another authority within the CO team, have answers published as blog posts, or Facebook notes and then relay them to the community. That way, the CM can maintain a productive relationship with their community and not spend every minute of their day starting and putting out fires. They won’t last long in their position if that is the case.

Protocols save the day!

To conclude, let me offer a little perspective. A Community Manager, at the time of writing, is somewhat of a pioneer and s/he is navigating in almost virgin territory. Social media communities (relatively new) for business or organizational interests (very new) are managed by human beings who, despite being addressed as humans, sometimes aggressively, need to maintain almost perfect composure and tact. Given the complexity of this position, it almost comes down to mission impossible and all of us, myself included, have fallen into the traps described above at some time. What helps save us from these traps are protocols that are written, discussed and internalized by teams working on community management.

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Get to know more about the tricks of the trade in the world of social media by visiting John Bohan blog site.

From being the mavericks they once were, social networks have become the institutions that they are now. Social network giants such as Facebook and Twitter have also made their presence felt in the mobile world.

Image Source: ekaterinawalter.com

With the ever-evolving smartphones came a new wave of communication applications. Social messaging is one app that can handle traditional SMS and MMS messages, as well as social networking messages, voice and video posts.

Social media analyst firm Ovum predicts a wider subscriber base for social messaging next year, aside from a barrage of additional services. Ovum expects to see social messaging players pose a legitimate challenge to mobile social networks and over-the-top (OTT) application providers.

Image Source: mashable.com

Based on Ovum’s latest Social Messaging 2014 Trends to Watch report, preferred social messaging services like WhatsApp and Viber are changing the users’ messaging experience. The said apps are mobile-first services; thus, “widening the possibilities of the type of social services that can be accessed on mobile.”

Neha Dharia, an analyst and author of the report, said that by 2014, developers of these services will move to create apps away from the social networks. With the clear success of the current stand-alone apps, more are expected to be developed next year.

Image Source: gsa.gov

Internet advertising expert John Bohan is the founder and general manager of SocialTyze, a social media marketing company that helps brands empower their consumers. Follow this Twitter account.

This article by Barry Feldman talks about the emails he gets from various sites that he actually makes an effort to read.

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Earlier this year, Google announced it’d be pulling the plug on Google Reader, their RSS app, and then did. Feed fanatics the world over were pissed.

Not me. I said, “Nice to know you.”

Yes, I used the thing. When I found a blog I dug, I subscribed to the feed. Then I found it impossible to keep up. A few days would go by and the little number by my Reader icon would indicate I had 1000+ stories in my queue. Naturally, I x’d them all out and the cycle began again.

Then I moved over to Feedly, a much more elegant solution. I have Feedly now and I check it less often than I change the oil in my car. RSS is for Really. Serious. Subscribers.

When I value a company’s content enough to want to know when they’ve made new stuff available, I use an amazingly old school “new” strategy. I give them my email address and they send me email. Email remains the king of online media. It’s the one platform everyone has and no one ignores.

I can’t count how many there are. I’m an easy sell . When someone offers a nifty sounding eBook or the like, I opt-in. Then I give ‘em the benefit of the doubt until they: (a) annoy me (b) let me down with crappy content or (c) don’t compel me to open their emails. If they fail one of these tests, I opt out. I get in the aggressive opt-out mode once or twice a month or I’d be buried in email

So that leaves just a wee 100 or so I get every day. (How the hell do I ever get work done?) Today, I’m not going to make my list exhaustive, but I’ll tell you about my favorites and hope that if, like me, you attend the school of perpetual online marketing learning, you’ll subscribe to, open and read some of the helpful emails from these great content marketers too.

AdWeek/AdFreak – AdWeek.com
AdWeek is long-time leader in news about advertising and media. I’ve been reading it for 25 years. Their AdFreak newsletter provides a daily dose of the best and worst stuff. It’s one of my favorites.

Buffer – blog.bufferapp.comThere are a ton of freemium tools, no doubt. Each of the companies behind them offer a blog. Buffer’s is probably the best. Beside covering online marketing, their talented writing team speaks to productivity, life hacks, writing, UX, customer happiness and business. Opt into their email to “join over 10,629 other good looking people.” A+ stuff. 

Copyblogger – Copyblogger.comCopyblogger is in my inbox once a day offering their post of the day. It’s always a worthwhile read. The writers are as good as they get and the insights are too. Note: I contribute posts to Copyblogger occasionally.

Content Gems – ContentGems.comContent Gems is a service for content monitoring and sharing. Their free email service is “like having a team of savvy spider monkeys searching the web for the best sharable content.” (Their words.) Each morning a heap of articles, summaries and links about content marketing and social media marketing arrive in my inbox. You can set yours up to deliver the kind of content you like. Quite convenient.

Content Marketing Institute – ContentMarketingInstitute.com
A number of staffers and contributors make CMI’s blog one of industry’s most reliably solid source of advice, insights, research and marketing stories. Their daily update delivers a summary of the post of the day. CMI has loads of great writers. I try not to miss posts by founder Joe Pulizzi and the insightful Robert Rose. Note: I occasionally write for CMI. @JoePulizzi @Robert_Rose

Convince and Convert – Convinceandconvert.com
Convince and Convert generally produces one high quality article or podcast per day and alerts you of it with their “One Thing” newsletter. The email also keeps you in the know about what marketing leader/speaker/consultant Jay Baer is up to and offers opportunities to attend Jay’s events. Note: I’m proud to say I write regularly for the C&C blogalong with a small collection of great writers. @jaybaer

Curata – Curata.comLike most of the companies on this list, it was an eBook that hooked me in the first place. Curata is a respected leader in the content curation software biz and covers the beat better than most.

Erika Napoletano – ErikaNapoletano.com
If there’s one email I open without previewing, it’s Erika’s. She’s truly awesome. She’ll make you laugh and cry. Warning: Erika uses a lot of “bad” words, but she make them good words. I plan to guest post here soon (and it better be great). @redheadwriting

FastCompany – FastCompany.comI love FastCo, one of the best magazines covering digital culture and delivers emails based on choices you make. Consistently solid in every way.

Heidi Cohen – HeidiCohen.comHeidi calls herself the “actionable marketing expert” and she is. She posts daily and emails each post to subscribers. I read almost every one and steal (curate) her ideas frequently—with the appropriate credit. Heidi often publishes expert roundups and includes me. I like that. @heidicohen

HelpScout – HelpScout.net
HelpScout’s email and blogs mostly come from Gregory Ciotti. He’s a friend and one of my favorite bloggers. Gregory never disappoints. His articles are deep dives into highly relevant sales, service and marketing issues, which tend to highlight research and the psychology of marketing. Must reads in my book. @gregoryciotti

HubSpot – HubSpot.comThe champions of inbound marketing. Admittedly, HubSpot’s into quantity, so not every notice is noteworthy, so I don’t devour every word. However, they nail it often, so my eyes are always open for their updates. Note: I recently became a contributor to the HubSpot blog. My first post: Copywriting 101. (Find upcoming stories here.)

LinkedIn Groups
Your LinkedIn account allows you membership in up to 50 groups. I tend to be maxed out. Each has email settings, so I get mail from most regularly. I can’t say I keep up with all of them, but in a quick glance, I can see what’s being discussed and join the party when I want.

LinkedIn Today –LinkedIn.com/TodayWith its customized magazine, LinkedIn Today, LinkedIn has become a leader in delivering news about the topics that matter most to you. Daily updates keep you informed about new content from the influential leaders in  your field.

Listly – List.ly
I use the List.ly service often and it’s great. I’ve also come to know the founder, Nick Kellet. He’s always on top of online marketing and delivers great updates. My Listly content is here. @nickkellet

MarketingProfs – MarketingProfs.comMarketingProfs sends a lot of email because they have a lot to offer—both free and paid. Their daily email highlights 5 new posts each day spread across their programs as well as offers to participate in their programs. MP is definitely a leader and authority in B2B online marketing. Note: I write for MP and lead webinars for a couple of different series.

Mashable – Mashable.comMashable’s “Top Stories” email arrives each morning and delivers a fun mix of stories covering social media, technology, business and pop culture. Kind of feels like the newspaper (remember the newspaper?) minus the politics and sports.

Orbit Media – OrbitMedia.com
Orbit never publishes anything that isn’t great. I’m a friend and pen pal of their founder Andy Crestodina. Andy once mailed me his great book, Content Chemistry, simply because he’s a great guy. Orbit’s posts tend to be deep, detailed how-to lessons on things you have to know to succeed in online marketing and so opening their email is a no-brainer. @crestodina

PRWeek – PRWeekus.comPRWeek is a very rich resource for curated content across a huge variety of topics. You tell them what type of information you’d like to receive via email. I like to open their emails because they always deliver links to great eBooks.

SlideShare – SlideShare.netSlideShare lands in my inbox for three reasons. They send out notices about new posts, mostly about their service. Secondly, they promote the top presentations on their site (which are sometimes mine or slide decks I’ve done for clients). Finally, they give Pro account customers rich and useful updates regarding the analytics of their SlideShare content. My SlideShare content is here. I also contribute to their blog.

Social Media Explorer – SocialMediaExplorer.comSocial Media Explorer publishes great stuff from great writers on social media and online marketing. Owners Nichole Kelly and Jason Falls are two of the best sources for insights and are both very entertaining writers. Note: Yeah, I write for SME. @nichole_kelly @jasonfalls

Social Media Today – SocialMediaToday.comSMT uses email sparingly, but smartly. A weekly email informs you of the week’s most viewed stories and editors picks, which might include webinars, infographics and podcasts. The site is super informative on a very wide range of topics. Note: I’m a featured contributor at SMT as well the author of a new column, “Content Marketing Minds.” (#CMMinds)

Swayy – Swayy.com
You tell Swayy what kind of content you want to share with your audience and they keep you apprised of the best articles, videos infographics and such. Handy.

Unbounce – Unbounce.com
Unbounce is laser focused on landing pages and conversion testing.Daily emails keep you updated on their posts, which come from a top-notch team of bloggers from both their staff and guests. I wrote one fun post for Unbounce about headline writing. 

Vertical Measures – VerticalMeasures.comOnce a day, VM publishes a really well researched article on search and content marketing and keeps you apprised with a great email. Their posts also look nicer than most. They also send weekly top picks from across the web and updates on the events the company is involved in. Note: VM president Arnie Kuenn is a friend and one of the first to give me aguest blogging opportunity. @arniek

Weidert Group – Weidert.com  Weidert is an inbound marketing agency in Wisconsin, one of the better firms that partners with HubSpot to deliver robust online marketing programs. Unlike a lot of HubSpot partners that mostly republish HubSpot content, Weidert does a great job of creating killer content and delivering updates via email.

Without a doubt, I’ve missed a few and left out others I also benefit from. Of course, I’m a media hound, so I make new discoveries almost daily. I’ll try to keep you updated on my favorite email sources.

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Read relevant articles about the World Wide Web from this John Bohan blog site.

Apart from creating brand awareness through the social media, targeting stakeholders who influence the market is a must in any marketer’s strategy. This article shows how.

Image Source: bizjournals.com

Most companies now realize that social media is here to stay as a form of marketing and customer service, providing a valuable direct link to customers.

But many also have yet to find their social media sweet spot.

Part of the reason is that some companies try to apply new technologies in traditional ways. The misconception of “if you build it, they will come” runs rampant among corporate marketers, along with the idea that their best social media bet is to try to position themselves directly in front of their target market with their product’s value proposition. It sounds logical but rarely is it successful.

For most companies, social media success can only come when they think OUTSIDE of their target market.

This is not to suggest they shouldn’t consider how to reach their target market. Rather, they should focus on how to reach their target market from the periphery.

Here are three ways you can think outside of your target market for social media success.

1. Influence the influencers

One traditional marketing target that hasn’t been given enough credit on social media, particularly in the business-to-business sector, is the influencer.

Think about who influences the buying decisions of your business buyer, then target those groups or individuals. If you reach the influencers, you’ll reach the buyer.

Let the architect know about the value of your building materials, and he’ll recommend them to the builder. Help the accountant understand how your new software platform can save her customers money, and she’ll talk to the CEO. Convince the coffee buyer that a new roasting machine could enhance the quality and lower the cost of the coffee he buys, and you can be sure he’ll talk to the roaster.

2. Ride the rising tide

As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. Sometimes the best social media campaign is no campaign at all. It may make the most sense to take advantage of the rising tide of another’s social media campaign.

If your resources are limited, bypass your own campaign and piggyback on one that already reaches your audience.

First consider social media advertising as a method to reach your target market. Targeted social media advertising can be extremely effective. Then consider a social media partnership. If you can identify an organization that markets non-competitive or complementary products or services to your market, join forces to push content that will benefit you both. This can also cut costs and human resource requirements by 50 percent.

3. Do a friend a favor

In certain situations it’s easier to create demand than to sell.

Consider the manufacturer that relies on distributors for the bulk of its sales. A social media campaign focused on new distributors is wrought with hurdles. First you must convince them your product is worthy. Then the price wars begin. If you clear these first two, then your product still must perform in the marketplace.

In these cases, focus on a social media campaign that will benefit your existing distributors and generate a social strategy that will build demand for your products. You’ll not only help your existing distributors, but you’ll create market demand and get the attention of new ones.

Don’t underestimate the value of social media within your overall marketing strategy. Give it the respect it deserves. Think outside of your market and you’ll no doubt blaze your own trail to social media success.

John Bohan is an Internet advertising veteran and a specialist in social marketing solutions. More on this blog site