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Friday, 30 July 2010

On Target With Blog-vertising


Moo cards for blogging workshopImage by Mexicanwave via Flickr
Blogs are meant to be pure streams of consciousness, unsullied by the taint of commercialism - right?

When you are reading a blog you are getting personal opinion free from the undue influence of third parties is a commonly held belief.

Unfortunately this is increasingly not the case. The reality is somewhat different, with a growing legion of "professional bloggers"

Blog-vertising (a terrible term) is increasingly becoming part of the mainstream as companies scrabble for market share inthe brave new world of social media.

As Steve Green reports "As an advertising channel,  the blogosphere makes total sense. Certain blogs not only boast a valuable and rich list of subscribers, but have also developed a highly evolved authority, making bloggers a sought after commodity for advertisers "

The recently launched ebuzzing matches bloggers with advertisers and bloggers only survive if their content remains relevant to the audience that they serve.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure IncomeThe company's stated ain is to "be a platform for bringing bloggers and advertisers together. It is based on a simple principle: Like. Recommend. Earn. 

It allows bloggers to monetise their blog, earning money by creating posts about things they genuinely like and want to recommend, whilst advertisers can create buzz for themselves in the communities that are most likely to be interested in them."

The strength of blog-vertising is that it is a highly targeted channel providing a greater return on investment.  Advertisers need to be where their market is and companies such as the Euro-centric ebuzzing are building "the buzz", which is so essential to build online reputation and drive sales.
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Wednesday, 28 July 2010

I Am Listening

The Good Son (Frasier)Image via Wikipedia
The immortal words of Dr Frasier Crane have some bearing on boosting the effectiveness of your social media marketing.

We need to know two basic things:
  • where our customers are and 
  • what they are saying?
Convince and Convert's Jae Baer suggests four ways of discovering if your existing customers are active in social media.

The first idea is to deploy good old fashioned espionage using modern digital tools.  Simply by providing your customer's email addresses to companies such as Flotown or Rapleaf is all that is required for them to data mine the  figure out which and how many of customers are on social networks, their preferences and other marketing details.  Your may also be interested to track you own digital footprint with Rapleaf.

Secondly (and one of the simplest methods) simply ask them and ensure that all of your lead generation forms and opportunities ask them about their social media habits.

Thirdly if you are using email platforms make sure that you are using tools that allow the recipient to recommend to others. Embedding third party code from platforms such as AddThis is one such option if the email solution itself does not provide the required functionality.  Simply run reports to discover which of your subscribers clicked your Twitter link and/or shared content on Facebook.

Finally Jae recommends "Gmail Stalking" as the two main social networks, Twitter and Facebook (and others) have "functionality that allows you to see whether your Gmail contacts are using the services and invite them to connect with you".

The beauty of his system is that it costs nothing and takes very little time.  Here is how he does it:
  1. Create a .csv file from a list of your customers’ email addresses (you only need email addresses, not names, mailing address, etc.).
  2. Create a free account on gmail.com specifically for this purpose. Don't use an existing account.
  3. Upload the .csv  list to your Gmail account.
  4. Next go to Twitter and create a new account using your special new Gmail email address.  On Step Two “Find Your Friends” of the Twitter signup process, select Gmail.
    Twitter will automatically read all of the email addresses of your customers stored in Gmail, allowing you to track the number on Twitter and/or follow them immediately.
  5. Set up a new Facebook account using your new Gmail address.
    On Step One “Find Friends” of the Facebook sign up process, indicate that you have a Gmail account, and follow the simple instructions.
    All of your customers on Facebook are presented to you, and you should be able to become their “friend” with a single click.
So having discovered where they are, what should we be listening for?  The answer is, anything that is said about your brand, as both the positive and the negative present opportunities for you to exploit.

Suzanne Vara of SocialMediaToday first recommendation is that a listening station be established "where you monitor the conversations about your brand, competitor and industry as a whole".  She sets out what should be listened for in your brand, competitor/s and industry:

For brand and competitors the list includes:
 - Inquiries
 - Praise
 - Complaints
 - Recommendations/referrals to others
 - Mentions of: company name, abbreviations, key players, product and specific services

Industry:
 - Broad keywords that are used to describe your industry
 - Targeted core keywords for your specific services and/or product
 - Non-industry used terms – if the general public calls it something different or abbreviates you listen for that as well.
 - Industry leaders

If you are not already listening your competitors will be, so now is the time to start. Facebook alone has 500 million users, each with their own story to tell. That's a lot of potential prospects.



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Listening to global voices

Blogger and technologist Ethan Zuckerman wants to help share the stories of the whole wide world. He talks about clever strategies to open up your Twitter world and read the news in languages you don't even know. - Source: TED


Ethan Zuckerman studies how the world - the whole world - uses new media to share information and moods across cultures, languages and platforms.
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