Facebook http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7860/all en-US 10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30 http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000071173689.jpg" alt="Man learning things he needs to stop doing on social media by 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest can all be very addicting. It can be fun and rewarding to post photos, articles, and updates that make us happy. However, there are certain things you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-social-blunders-to-stop-making-by-30">stop doing on your social media accounts</a> by the time you start entering the world of real adulthood.</p> <h2>1. Complaining About Your Job</h2> <p>Nowadays, employers frequently visit employees' and potential employees' social media accounts before making hiring decisions. That's why it's so important to always represent yourself well on your social media accounts. Remember, it's not just your friends looking anymore; your neighbors, coworkers, boss, and even your mother-in-law can see everything you are doing on your Facebook account.</p> <h2>2. Displaying Your Beer Pong Skills</h2> <p>Advertising your drunken nights and beer pong tournaments on Facebook may have been cool when you were in college, but nowadays, nobody's impressed by how much you can drink or how quickly you can recover from a hangover. Refrain from posting things that make you look young and foolish.</p> <h2>3. Posting Revealing Photos</h2> <p>The old saying, &quot;If you've got it, flaunt it&quot; shouldn't be the case when it comes to your social media profiles. Sure, it's great to have photos that show off what you're working with, but your co-workers and family don't want to see them. Keep your profile semi-professional and friendly, without being too revealing in your photos or updates.</p> <h2>4. Stalking Your Ex</h2> <p>It may have been okay in high school, but when your ex is married with children, it's time to stop stalking. If you can't resist the urge, you may want to unfriend them altogether.</p> <h2>5. Using a Fake Name</h2> <p>You're officially a grown adult, so it's time to start using your real name, especially on more serious social media accounts like LinkedIn. It's great that you have a band or blog, but potential employers and friends want to find you, not your hobby.</p> <h2>6. Sending Game Invitations</h2> <p>Nobody wants to join your Candy Crush game, so stop sending the invites. If you've sent Farmville invites more than once, they don't want to join and you're going to end up annoying your adult acquaintances with childish games. Often the game invites get sent automatically, so you may want to disconnect your gaming accounts from Facebook altogether before you end up unintentionally annoying your friends.</p> <h2>7. Caring so Much</h2> <p>You shouldn't let what other people post affect your mood or attitude. If they're bothering you, simply unfriend or block them. You have more important things to worry about in your adult life than someone harassing you or affecting your behavior. If you receive negative feedback, try to respond in a calm, mature manner and then let it go.</p> <h2>8. Checking Your Status at Work</h2> <p>Work is for work time and play is for play time. If you are still checking your social media pages at work instead of getting work done, you're just asking for trouble. Employers can access nearly anything nowadays and if given the reason, they may be able to track how often you're using social media while you're on the clock. Signing into social media will also distract you from work and cut into your productivity, so keep it to your home life.</p> <h2>9. Overusing Hashtags</h2> <p>Nobody, at any age, likes reading repeated hashtags. Hashtags should be strategically used for networking purposes only. Otherwise, they just look spammy and will hurt the reader's eyes. In fact, on certain platforms (like Pinterest), you can actually get dinged for having too many hashtags. This will have the reverse effect of what you're looking for because instead of attracting readers, the social media sites will block your post so even fewer people will see it, thanks to the overused hashtags.</p> <h2>10. Overusing in General</h2> <p>At the end of the day, you should just try using social media less altogether. Now is the time in your life to start making real connections, outside of your mobile device. Try to start limiting yourself to a certain amount of time per day.</p> <p><em>Do you have other suggestions on things that we should stop doing on social media by 30? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-social-blunders-to-stop-making-by-30">10 Social Blunders to Stop Making by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30">12 Foods Everybody Should Be Able to Cook by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-bad-habits-that-are-ruining-your-career">6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks 30 somethings Facebook inappropriate behavior LinkedIn millennials professional social media Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:00:51 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1579971 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Facebook Updates That Are Making You Look Stupid http://www.wisebread.com/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young-man-smartphone-177381725-small.jpg" alt="young man smartphone" title="young man smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While 73% of online adults use several forms of social media, <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/12/30/social-media-update-2013/">Facebook remains their first choice</a>.</p> <p>And that's what we love about Facebook. When we put up an update, somebody is going to read it. However, not of all your updates are as smart as you think. Actually, some of them might be making you look inconsiderate or, even worse, dumb. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-break-your-social-media-habit?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Break Your Social Media Habit</a>)</p> <p>Here are the top seven types of Facebook updates to avoid.</p> <h2>1. Accusing Somebody Before Checking the Facts</h2> <p>One of the best things about Facebook is the ability to interact with people around the world in real time. However, this ability should increase your awareness of what you're about to post.</p> <p>For example, when Facebook rolled out a feature that allowed its users to donate money to fight ebola, an user was quick to call out this as a <a href="http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/zuckerberg-has-perfect-comeback-troll-accusing-facebook-exploiting-ebola-161271">marketing ploy from Facebook</a>. The user even asked how much Facebook was donating to the cause. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally replied to this comment pointing out that his wife and he had themselves <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/14/zuckerberg-ebola_n_5982762.html">donated $25 million to fight ebola</a>.</p> <p>Before you post, make sure to check out your facts. After all, they're often just a Google search away. If you are too lazy to do it, you deserve to be called out.</p> <h2>2. Including Spelling and Grammar Errors</h2> <p>Nobody is perfect. A minor typo in a long essay or memo is understandable. However, short Facebook updates, such as &quot;Grandma, your amazing!&quot; and &quot;And that's why I told their wants fewer waters&quot; make spelling and grammar errors stand out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-grammar-mistakes-that-are-making-you-look-stupid?ref=seealso">12 Grammar Mistakes That Are Making You Look Stupid</a>)</p> <p>Here are some steps to prevent those mistakes:</p> <ul> <li>Most desktop and mobile browsers (e.g. <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-use-firefox-spell-checker">Firefox</a>) offer a spell checker, so use that feature to proofread your posts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The bulk of grammar errors result from homonyms, which are words that share the same pronunciation, regardless of their spelling. Some examples are your/you're, to/two/too/ and they/their/they're. Review this list of <a href="http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/HomonymChart.htm">200 homonyms</a> and keep an eye out for them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remember that you can edit the text of updates after they go live.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Thank people that point out your grammar and spelling errors. A simple &quot;thank you&quot; is the only right answer; anything else only highlights your mistake even more.</li> </ul> <h2>3. WRITING EVERYTHING IN CAPS</h2> <p><a href="http://uxmovement.com/content/all-caps-hard-for-users-to-read/">Using all caps in your Facebook updates</a> makes them harder to read. When you write in all caps, your text is <a href="http://www.bergsland.org/2012/06/typography/how-your-readers-see-your-letters-legibility/">40% less legible</a> than text using the right mix of uppercase and lowercase. You should reserve the use of all caps for very few instances, such as abbreviations and acronyms. Otherwise, you will come off as the crazy person in the park that shouts out random comments to strangers. That's a terrible look!</p> <p>Try this test. Read out loud each of the sentences below:</p> <ul> <li>&quot;What are you doing?&quot;</li> <li>&quot;WHAT ARE YOU DOING?&quot;</li> </ul> <p>While the first sentence sounds friendly, the second one sounds scary and intimidating. How would you rather be perceived?</p> <h2>4. Getting Your Priorities Wrong</h2> <p>Imagine this scenario. You just poured battery fluid all over your hand and are experiencing a terrible allergic reaction. You are desperately searching for antihistamine cream, but can't find any.</p> <p>What would you do?</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">a) Call a friend or relative for help</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">b) Head to your neighbor's place to check if they have any antihistamine cream</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">c) Drive or walk to the nearest pharmacy</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">d) Dial 911</p> <p style="margin-left: 40px;">e) Post about it on Facebook</p> <p><a href="http://emgn.com/entertainment/16-people-who-got-owned-on-facebook/3/">Don't be the person that goes for option e</a>.</p> <h2>5. Being Passive Aggressive</h2> <p>I agree with American Idol's host, Ryan Seacrest, in that the passive aggressive Facebook updates make you look like a brat.</p> <p>Here is an <a href="http://www.ryanseacrest.com/2011/07/05/the-5-most-annoying-types-of-facebook-status-updates/">example from Ryan</a>:</p> <p>&quot;I'll never be able to forgive you for what you did. I hope you realize that what goes around, comes around&hellip; you'll see soon enough.&quot;</p> <p>While people understand that you may have an ongoing argument with somebody, they may not understand why you're involving all of your 500 Facebook friends in it. Stop chastising that somebody with random and vague Facebook posts (also known as &quot;vaguebooking&quot;). Instead address your issue with that somebody in private and, more importantly, move on.</p> <p>Your Facebook friends will thank you for keeping their feeds free of drama.</p> <h2>6. Sharing Too Much Information</h2> <p>If you feed looks like this&hellip;</p> <ul> <li>&quot;Today, I'm heading with Bobby to the new Thai restaurant, Spices.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Only one hour until Bobby and I head to Spices!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Allright! Lunch time! Spices, here we come!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Just got to Spices, OMG, everything is so good.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Selfie with the waiter.&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Bobby got the panang curry!&quot;</li> <li>&quot;Nom, nom, nom, this is SO GOOD!&quot;</li> </ul> <p>&hellip;then you're annoying the crap out of your Facebook friends. A recent survey puts &quot;people sharing too much information about themselves&quot; at the top of the <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/03/6-new-facts-about-facebook/">list of what Facebook users strongly dislike</a>.</p> <p>There are plenty of studies that recommend that the posting frequency sweet spot is <a href="https://blog.bufferapp.com/social-media-frequency-guide">between 5 and 10 posts per week</a>. Keep your feed smart by posting around once per day &mdash; and maybe twice.</p> <h2>7. Sharing About Others Without Their Permission</h2> <p>&quot;Posting things about your or pictures of you without asking permission&quot; ties at number one on that same survey about Facebook user dislikes. It makes sense for two reasons:</p> <ul> <li>First, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/social-jobs-partnership/recruiting-survey-social-media-helps-connect-job-seekers-with-employers/404484379619706">half of American employers are using Facebook in their hiring process</a>. You don't want to be the reason why a potential employer didn't hire your best friend.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Second, some people just like their privacy. If you want to share updates and pictures of others, make sure that those others are ok with it in the first place. This is a major issue for parents: <a href="http://www.today.com/parents/dont-post-my-kids-photo-facebook-parents-plead-2D12092742">68% of parents don't allow others to post photos of their child on Facebook</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Don't assume that people (and their children!) want to be on your Facebook wall. Check for their permission and respect their desire for privacy if they decline your request. Be smart and stay out of trouble.</p> <p><em>What is your pet peeve of Facebook updates? Please share in comments &mdash; or on our Facebook page!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-facebook-updates-that-are-making-you-look-stupid">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-twitter-updates-that-are-making-you-look-dumb">6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-good-manners-make-you-wealthier">5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-youre-driving-your-coworkers-insane">12 Ways You&#039;re Driving Your Coworkers Insane</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-alone-time-is-good-for-your-soul">9 Reasons Alone Time Is Good For Your Soul</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development etiquette Facebook posting privacy social media Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1254699 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Sell Your Old Stuff on Facebook http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-old-stuff-on-facebook <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sell-your-old-stuff-on-facebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4357227835_0d31c600b6_z.jpg" alt="facebook" title="facebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have things we don&rsquo;t need or want. The traditional avenues of selling your stuff &mdash; such as Craigslist or eBay &mdash; seem to be overly competitive, or worse, a little unsafe. I&rsquo;ve recently taken to Facebook to get rid of unwanted items and even pick up a few things that would have been cumbersome to buy through those other online channels. Here is how you can use the popular social networking tool to earn cash and clear your home of unwanted clutter! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">15 Places to&nbsp;Sell Your Stuff</a>)</p> <h2>Find a Group</h2> <p>Most Facebook selling and buying groups are local, or at least limited to a state. This is because people within a certain geographical proximity feel more comfortable dealing with folks that are near them, and the more geographically targeted a group is, the more likely it is that you may actually know the person you are dealing with.</p> <p>To find a group, use the Facebook search field to enter your geographic local and &ldquo;buy&rdquo; or &ldquo;sell.&rdquo; If you live in a very populated area, you may also want to narrow your search by the type of item you are looking to sell (used baby items or farming tools, for example.)</p> <p>Note: There are several third-party apps run through Facebook that have a similar buy/sell listing feature. These are more like classified ads and are not considered Facebook groups. As a result, they are not subject to the rules and terms of Facebook, and I don&rsquo;t recommend them as an alternative to buying or selling.</p> <h2>Join the Group</h2> <p>Many groups aren&rsquo;t open to everyone, meaning you&rsquo;ll have to ask permission to join. Some of the most guarded groups &mdash; those that deal in high-end goods, like jewelry, vehicles, or firearms &mdash; may even require that you are friends with someone in the group and be invited personally.</p> <h2>Read the Rules</h2> <p>All Facebook groups should have a set of rules displayed in the &ldquo;Notes&rdquo; tab of the group, viewable once you&rsquo;ve been accepted. The rules will include details on how to post items for sale, how to deal with potential buyers, and what to do when your item has been sold.</p> <p>Other rules will include:</p> <ul> <li>The number of items per day you can list</li> <li>The number of photos that can accompany each listing</li> <li>Types of items that can be sold</li> <li>How to contact a buyer to coordinate the sale</li> </ul> <h2>List Your First Item</h2> <p>Decide what item you&rsquo;d like to sell first, and use it as a test to make sure you understand the rules.</p> <p>If done correctly, your listing will remain up and you should get comments from those interested in buying. Be sure that you are prompt about answering questions or arranging the details of the sale. If you don&rsquo;t feel comfortable selling to a particular person, for whatever reason, don&rsquo;t feel compelled to sell to them.</p> <h2>Follow Through</h2> <p>Once there is a verbal agreement to buy or sell, make sure you stick with it.</p> <p>Unlike eBay, there is no accountability system, and it is possible for deals to go wrong. Pick a public place to make the exchange, deal with cash or money order, and set expectations of what you expect as a seller. Use the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">same safety rules</a> you would with a Craigslist deal, but understand that you can mitigate quite a few safety issues by taking time to get to know the person on Facebook (friending them first, for example), or by dealing only with those you know, or who are acquaintances of those you know. (Facebook makes it easy to see who knows who; use that feature to qualify buying candidates of large or expensive items.)</p> <p>We have purchased several items in our local community, and even statewide, that we couldn&rsquo;t have gotten without the unique buying/selling forum Facebook can provide. We have done repeat business with people that we have had good deals with (100% in our case).</p> <p>In a time when everyone&rsquo;s trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">make a little cash</a>, selling through Facebook is a trend that will grow and become even more popular. Jumping on the trend while it&rsquo;s new can ensure that you clear you closet, raise some cash, and build your reputation and your skills before everyone else catches on.</p> <p><em>Have you made a sale or purchase through Facebook? What was your experience like?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-old-stuff-on-facebook">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craigslist-vs-ebay-where-to-sell-10-common-items">Craigslist vs. eBay: Where to Sell 10 Common Items</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-weird-things-to-sell-on-ebay-for-extra-cash">6 Weird Things to Sell on eBay for Extra Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-can-resell-on-ebay-that-make-the-most-money">5 Things You Can Resell on eBay That Make the Most Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-unusual-ways-to-sell-your-stuff">11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income craigs list eBay Facebook sell your stuff Wed, 06 Feb 2013 10:48:34 +0000 Linsey Knerl 967507 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Vet an IPO Before You Buy http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-vet-an-ipo-before-you-buy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-vet-an-ipo-before-you-buy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2974906840_c667250442_z.jpg" alt="guys using laptops" title="guys using laptops" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the aftermath of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">Facebook</a> initial public offering (IPO), the web has experienced a deluge of answers to the question &ldquo;What went wrong?&rdquo; What happens when one of the most hyped tech IPOs in recent history doesn&rsquo;t rise to meet investor expectations?</p> <p>For months I&rsquo;ve been advising family and friends against buying Facebook. The reasons were fairly simple. I felt the entire IPO was a matter of style over substance, with little data to back up long-term revenue growth and earnings potential. It was also entirely possible the value of Facebook had peaked, and the IPO was a way for Facebook executives to reap the rewards of the company&rsquo;s riches before an earnings decline. I felt Morgan Stanley, the firm underwriting the IPO, didn&rsquo;t understand how Facebook worked and certainly didn&rsquo;t understand the company. (In fact, rumor has it that over a year ago Morgan Stanley executives had to hire Zuckerberg to give a private tutoring session on how to navigate Facebook.) Hundreds of analysts more experienced and smarter than I am had a different perspective. Advice from media outlets came in droves, promising us the &quot;biggest IPO ever.&quot; Amidst all the frenzy, it became hard to distinguish the public image of Facebook from the public offering being presented.</p> <p>Perhaps the sagest advice came from PIMCO&rsquo;s CEO and co-CIO <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mohamed-a-elerian/facebook-stock_b_1533505.html">Mohamed A. El-Erian on the Huffington Post</a>, who remarked, &ldquo;&hellip;the manner that our brains have evolved and work may not always result in the best investment decisions.&rdquo;</p> <p>Instead of asking &ldquo;What went wrong?&rdquo; a better question for investors to ask might be &ldquo;How can we prevent this from happening again?&rdquo; Here are five ways to vet an IPO before you buy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-killer-free-investment-tools">5 Killer Free Investment Tools</a>)</p> <h3>1. Check the&nbsp;SEC S-1 Form</h3> <p>All companies are required to file what is called a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) before an IPO goes into effect. Facebook&rsquo;s can be found <a href="http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1326801/000119312512034517/d287954ds1.htm" target="_blank">on the SEC.gov website</a>.</p> <p>The S-1 will contain the meat of the information on a company. It&rsquo;s not exactly light reading, but it will have important data that&rsquo;s well worth a look. Not only does an S-1 contain information on the offering price of the company and estimated par value of the stock, but facts and figures on a company&rsquo;s business plan, long-term growth objectives, and estimated budget. There&rsquo;s a wealth of information to be had on an S-1 form, and it should be considered a &ldquo;must read&rdquo; before any responsible investor even considers purchasing an IPO.</p> <h3>2. Read the Corporate Earnings Report</h3> <p>Companies typically have a portion of their website for &quot;Investor Relations.&quot; Browse carefully, and you should be able to find detailed financial information, often called Quarterly Reports or Annual Reports. Financial statements can provide detailed information on current cash flow and revenue, but more importantly for IPOs, projected cash flow and revenue. Facebook's Investor Relations area can be found on their <a href="http://investor.fb.com/">investor subsite</a>.</p> <h3>3. Consider the Underwriter</h3> <p>The firm underwriting the IPO serves several purposes. It prepares a valuation report of the company to be offered and helps to correctly determine the share price. This is usually a big investment firm. In Facebook's case, Morgan Stanley was the underwriter.</p> <p>When considering an IPO, scan the S-1 for mention of the underwriter and ask yourself a few questions. Is it a reputable firm? Do they have a history of accurately pricing IPOs? Do they stand to profit from the success or failure of an IPO?</p> <h3>4. Get Second Opinions</h3> <p>It's human nature to want to be told we're right. But when it comes to investments, try to get a second opinion and listen to people who disagree with you, just to consider an opposing scenario. Listening to other points of view might spark new questions you hadn't thought about, or might confirm your previous opinion. Either way, gather information from a variety of sources to use as informational tools in decision making.</p> <h3>5. Do a Risk-Benefit Analysis (for Yourself)</h3> <p>Ultimately, buying an initial public offering is always risky. Even the most seemingly stable companies can experience an unexpected setback or glitch that lowers their value after investors have bought into an IPO. A risk-benefit analysis involves weighing the risks and benefits of an investment and determining what is right for your individual situation. Remember that there's no market history on share prices for the company you're about to buy into, no way to glean historical data. The fact is that while most people focus on the &quot;get rich quick&quot; aspects of an IPO, it's just as likely that they will lose money. Be realistic about how much money you are willing to invest, and risk, on an IPO purchase. Will you experience buyer's remorse? Can you stand to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-investments-you-can-make">lose part of your investment</a>? In other words, don't bet the farm. It's common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many people forget about risk when they think a big payoff might be in the near future.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/erin-c-oneil">Erin C. O&#039;Neil</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-vet-an-ipo-before-you-buy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-killer-free-investment-tools">5 Killer Free Investment Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-wealth-in-a-depressed-economy">How to Build Wealth in a Depressed Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">5 Ways to Profit From Obama&#039;s Cuba Announcement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-not-just-for-people">Retirement: Not Just for People?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees">Boost Your Retirement Savings: Avoid 401(k) Fees</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Investment Facebook initial public offering investment research Mon, 28 May 2012 10:36:09 +0000 Erin C. O'Neil 930828 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/facebook2.jpg" alt="Woman in front of a projection of her Facebook page" title="Woman in front of a projection of her Facebook page" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="159" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I used to work at a bank and was resentful of the fact that Facebook was blocked at work. I had to resort to checking status updates during lunch on my phone, or waiting until I got home in the evenings (horror!). Having since left my job and returned to law school, I wish I couldn't access Facebook during the day. The ever-present temptation of senseless entertainment has forced me to resort to mind games, like turning off Internet access during lectures. After thinking a lot about the matter, though, I decided not to let Facebook get the best of me; I&rsquo;ll make it work for me instead! So, to that end, I have come up with a list of ways to make Facebook a useful social media tool rather than an endless time-waster. Here are my top ten. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/secrets-to-finding-and-winning-facebook-promotional-giveaways">Secrets to Finding and Winning Facebook&nbsp;Promotional Giveaways</a>)</p> <h2>1. Stay in Touch With Family</h2> <p>My siblings and I recently scattered from our hometown in the Midwest to various extremities of the nation &mdash; one moved to L.A., one to D.C., one to Philadelphia (and all within a two-month time frame, no less). I don&rsquo;t miss them as much as I thought I would, though, because I can keep up with their lives through Facebook. True, this is one of the main uses for Facebook in the first place, but keeping up with family is different from mindlessly scrolling through my news feed to learn what Adam from high school ate for lunch. You can even <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups">create a group</a> specifically for your family (extended or otherwise) to share information and updates more freely without worrying about others&rsquo; privacy settings. In a secret or closed group, posts are only visible to group members, and members must be approved by others. Group members can chat, upload photos to shared albums, collaborate on shared documents, and invite all members to group events easily.</p> <h2>2. Keep Your Organization&rsquo;s Members Up-to-Date</h2> <p>Similar to creating a group to keep in touch with family, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php">creating a Facebook page</a> allows organizations, businesses, celebrities, and bands to keep up-to-date with people. Unlike groups, however, only &ldquo;official representatives&rdquo; of the organization can create Facebook page. Also unlike groups, page information is public. Others only need to &ldquo;like&rdquo; an organization&rsquo;s page to have that organization&rsquo;s updates appear in their News Feeds. Not in charge of a multi-billion dollar corporation? Not a problem. Facebook pages are also useful for promoting your <a href="http://www.etsy.com/sell?ref=so_sell">Etsy shop</a>, <a href="http://pages.ebay.com/storefronts/start.html">eBay store</a>, or your freelance design business.</p> <h2>3. Find a Job</h2> <p>One of the more recent trends in job searching is finding a new position using social media. If you&rsquo;re on the hunt for a new job (or you just want to keep informed on what&rsquo;s out there), jump on the bandwagon by using Facebook for this purpose. There aren&rsquo;t a lot of good job-search applications on Facebook; nor do companies generally post positions on their Facebook company pages. Instead of looking for open positions, you should use Facebook to connect with people at organizations or in industries in which you&rsquo;re interested. Once you have a clear idea of your interests, put up a few, targeted status updates asking friends for help contacting someone in the field for more information. Be extremely careful about using this tactic, though &mdash; no updates along the lines of &ldquo;Help! I need a new job and have no idea where to start!&rdquo;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re wary of status updates, you can search for a company on Facebook. If that organization has a page, and you have any friends who have indicated on their profiles that they work for the company, this will appear on the company&rsquo;s Facebook page. Along those same lines, you can use a company&rsquo;s Facebook page to learn more about their values, programs they have, and where they do post job openings.</p> <h2>4. Plan an Event</h2> <p>Quickly and easily create an event by clicking on &ldquo;Events&rdquo; on the left-hand side of your Facebook page in the newsfeed view. There you can manage invites (choose whether the event is public or private, as well as whether guests can invite other friends), keep track of RSVPs, and add essential information for guests. Using the Events App on Facebook is superior to managing RSVPs with, say, an old-fashioned Excel spreadsheet for obvious reasons. It&rsquo;s also superior to e-vite websites, though, because you don&rsquo;t need to know guests&rsquo; e-mail addresses, you can add guests or update information quickly and easily, and you don&rsquo;t have to sign on to a third-party site just to manage your event (you&rsquo;re on Facebook everyday anyway, right?).</p> <h2>5. Market an Event</h2> <p>This is a variation on the use above; however, it goes beyond just using the Events App. If you have a significant event to market &mdash; say, a nonprofit&rsquo;s annual fundraiser &mdash; you can market it in several different ways on Facebook. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/create">Create a public event</a> that is searchable and allows guests to invite others to extend your reach. You can also consider creating a separate Facebook page for your organization if it doesn&rsquo;t have one already, and link to that page in your invite to the event. Also, get in your friends&rsquo; direct line of sight by posting a status update informing them of the event and asking them to share with people they think might be interested.</p> <h2>6. Use Facebook E-mail</h2> <p>You already have an e-mail account or two. Why would you possibly want yet another? Facebook e-mail integrates your e-mail with your messages, chats, and texts. That way, you only need to look in one place to see all types of Facebook messages. You can even have other e-mails (Hotmail, Gmail, and Yahoo, for example) sent to your Facebook account. Don&rsquo;t know where your Facebook e-mail is? Go to Messages (it should be on the left-hand side of your news feed) and choose &ldquo;Claim your Facebook email.&rdquo; One caveat &mdash; messages sent from your Facebook e-mail to external addresses look like a Facebook message, complete with name and profile picture. For that reason, I would hesitate to use Facebook e-mail for work-related communication.</p> <h2>7. Use the Apps to Your Advantage</h2> <p>Facebook users install apps over <a href="https://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics">20 million times</a> every day on average. If you&rsquo;re going to jump on the bandwagon, pick those that will help you be more productive. Start off with <a href="http://docs.com/">Facebook Docs</a> to seamlessly integrate document sharing with Facebook friends. Launched in April 2010, Docs is still in beta mode. However, it may have a leg up on Google Docs because Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files can be shared with one click with an entire Facebook Group. Another way to integrate Facebook with your other communication needs is through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/mobile/messenger">Facebook Messenger</a>. This app allows you to send Facebook messages to your friends&rsquo; mobile phones, or to receive messages from friends on your own phone. Don&rsquo;t like the idea of Facebook syncing your cell phone contacts to your Facebook account? Learn how to <a href="http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/10/7333958-dont-freak-out-facebook-didnt-publish-your-mobile-contacts">change that privacy setting</a>. Lastly, find more productivity apps specific to your needs by searching the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/?sk=apps">comprehensive apps list</a>.</p> <h2>8. Publicize Your Blog</h2> <p>In addition to creating a Facebook page for your blog, you can also publicize your blog by using <a href="http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-link-to-facebook/">WordPress&rsquo; Facebook Plugin</a>, which automatically publishes blog posts to your Facebook account. This allows your post to pop up in friends&rsquo; News Feed. If they &ldquo;like&rdquo; your post or comment, it will show up below your post on your site. In addition, Facebook friends will have a &ldquo;send&rdquo; icon to easily e-mail your post to others. <a href="https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=blogger&amp;passive=1209600&amp;continue=http://www.blogger.com/home&amp;followup=http://www.blogger.com/home&amp;ltmpl=start#s01">Blogger</a>, <a href="http://www.typepad.com/">TypePad</a>, <a href="https://www.tumblr.com/">Tumblr</a>, and essentially all the other free blogging sites out there have similar widgets. Alternatively, you can import your blog into Facebook using <a href="http://www.insidefacebook.com/2009/02/22/how-to-import-your-blog-into-facebook/">Notes</a>. And, of course, you can always share individual posts by pasting the link as a status update.</p> <h2>9. Sell Stuff</h2> <p>Like <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html">Amazon</a>, <a href="http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/sell-getstarted.html">eBay</a>, and <a href="http://www.craigslist.com">Craigslist</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=128581025231">Facebook Marketplace</a> is another way to unload unwanted items. Listing items on Marketplace, like Craigslist, is free. The big draw of Marketplace is that people have the option of publicizing their posts in friends&rsquo; News Feeds, although items are searchable by others as well. Visitors to the Marketplace can ask questions on the &ldquo;wall&rdquo; of the item posted, or can comment (if, for example, they have a similar item and have a positive review). Another reason to use Marketplace &mdash; it&rsquo;s another forum to sell your stuff. Listing items (or searching for items you want) in a variety of places is sure to get your needs met more quickly, or more accurately, than would searching in one place alone.</p> <h2>10. Support Causes You Believe In</h2> <p>Facebook has a heart. That&rsquo;s right; its power can be used for evil <em>and </em>for good. Have a charity you strongly believe in? &ldquo;Like&rdquo; its Facebook page to learn more about how you can help and to stay up-to-date on its initiatives. If there&rsquo;s a cause you support that doesn&rsquo;t have a page (a small, local cause, for example), create your own Facebook page for that cause and share its mission to a broader audience. In addition to promoting a cause, you can also help financially with Facebook Marketplace. Using the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=57525537130">Sell for a Cause</a> feature of Marketplace, you can sell unwanted items and donate the proceeds to participating nonprofits (there are over a million to choose from). Facebook claims over 800 million active users of its site, meaning that if every active user donated $1 of profit to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">charity</a>, over $800 million would be raised. Not too shabby.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-facebook-friends-precautions-for-travelers">How Well Do You Know Your Facebook Friends? Precautions for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-productivity-tips-for-it-professionals">10 Productivity Tips for IT Professionals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Technology Facebook get things done social media Wed, 09 Nov 2011 09:48:57 +0000 Janey Osterlind 776185 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Social Media Killing Your Business? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-social-media-killing-your-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/is-social-media-killing-your-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/is-social-media-killing-your-business</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/is-social-media-killing-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012079857Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Social media isn't always a good thing, and it's certainly not a guarantee that your marketing is in the bag. Are you using social media in a way that builds <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/75-top-twitter-tips-from-todays-small-business-moms-1" target="_blank">a great reputation and enhances your business</a>, or are you achieving much different results?</p> <p>If one or more of the following statements is true for you, you may be killing your business with social media.</p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;re spending more time &quot;doing social media&quot; than you are on the important work of your business.</strong></p> <p>What an easy trap to fall into. Who hasn't sat down to answer just one email or spend five minutes on Twitter, only to lose a couple of hours? Social media can be a fun, new toy that distracts you from what you need to be focused on, such as, producing things people want to buy, perfecting services, gaining sales, dealing with customer issues, getting better deals from your distributors, training your employees&hellip;</p> <p><strong>You're confusing your customers with a fragmented approach.</strong></p> <p>If you haven't taken some time to develop a unique selling proposition (<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unique_selling_proposition" target="_blank">USP</a>) and the core message of your business, chances are you're throwing a lot of different things at your customers. Maybe you emphasize one service on your Facebook page, some other product with your Twitter account, and an entirely different aspect of your business on your blog or Youtube videos.</p> <p>Customers who find you at one social media outlet and like what they see follow you to the next platform, only to see a different message from you. What are you all about? They're getting different pieces of the puzzle at different social media outlets, but nothing that provides a cohesive overview of your business.</p> <p>Confused customers don't become loyal customers. If they can't quite figure out what your business is all about, they won't be ready to but any trust in what you offer.</p> <p><strong>You&rsquo;re failing to provide the basic information people want.</strong></p> <p>You've had this experience, most likely&hellip; You find a cool new site, a great blog or company, and you click over to find something basic: contact information, or a price list, or a description of service. And it's not there. Maybe there's no link, or there's a place holder page.</p> <p>When this happens, whether it's on your business blog, website, Facebook page, Twitter page, or any of the other social media platforms you might be using, it's a huge turn-off for customers. Internet surfers are notoriously short on attention span. They don't need to check back later, and they probably won't, because there are ten thousand other options out there instead.</p> <p>If you lose your potential customers because you're not providing basic information when and where they want it, you've probably lost them forever.</p> <p><strong>You're making your business look amateur.</strong></p> <p>Do-it-yourself works, to a certain point, and part of the appeal of social media marketing is the potential to jump into it and do a great job without a huge initial investment. For SMB owners, it's a dream come true: a great marketing outlet that doesn't cost thousands of dollars you don't have.</p> <p>What isn't a dream, however, is the very amateur image you can produce with a misinformed DIY strategy. Slapping together a color-block logo and a cheesy tagline does not equal good branding. A website that looks like a clip-art explosion punctuated by long blocks of error-filled text does not equal a good web presence.</p> <p>When you carry your unpolished branding efforts into your social media marketing, and then send potential customers to a dated, amateur website, you're not building your business. You're convincing potential customers that you really don't deserve to be taken seriously.</p> <p><strong>You're skipping from one media outlet to another.</strong></p> <p>If you get started on Facebook, decide Google+ is better, abandon Twitter for Youtube, you leave your customers frustrated and ready to find someone consistent.</p> <p>You don't have to be on all the social media outlets. You most likely shouldn't be on more than a few. Too many false starts and a mile-long list of online profiles simply convinces potential customers that you can't stick to something long enough to make it work.</p> <p><strong>You're providing content without direction.</strong></p> <p>All content and no sales funnel means you're not (actively) helping your business grow.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong: free is wonderful, and can be a powerful marketing tool, especially in terms of social media. However, content can't do everything. It can help you establish expertise, and get people to pay attention to you, but you can't leave them there. Once you've gotten their attention, what do you want them to do?</p> <p>To put it plainly, you're not putting that work into social media just so you can make the world a better place or make a lot of neat, new friends. No, you're putting that effort into social media so you can build your business.</p> <p>That means that the end result of successful efforts in social media should be something profiting your business, either in cold, hard cash or in selling potential (mailing list, surveys, opt-in forms filled out by rabidly eager new customers, and so on).</p> <p><strong>You're failing to respond to negative reviews and mentions.</strong></p> <p>The good news about negativity in the form of review and press online is that you have the ability to access it, track down the source (usually), and respond to it publicly in the same sort of forum.</p> <p>An accusation or negative review without rebuttal seems legitimate, even if it is not. A total lack of response says, &ldquo;Um, I really don't have anything to say to make this better...&rdquo;</p> <p>If there are legitimate complaints, it's infinitely better that your potential customers see you acknowledge and correct your mistakes. Trustworthiness doesn't mean your business is perfect; it means that your business has a policy of quickly dealing with mistakes and making them right.</p> <p>How are you using social media in your marketing? Are you actively building your business, or are you wasting your time?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/is-social-media-killing-your-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Facebook G+ marketing online marketing small business social media social media marketing twitter Sat, 05 Nov 2011 20:51:14 +0000 Annie Mueller 772751 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Key Social Media Findings That Affect Your Business http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-b...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000015597389Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Nielsen group recently came out with a fantastic report on <a target="_blank" href="http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/social/">social media usage in 2011</a>, and the findings were a bit surprising. Sure, there were a few no-brainers like &ldquo;U.S. internet users spend more time on Facebook more than any other site,&rdquo; but buried in <a target="_blank" href="http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/social/">the report</a> were some interesting nuggets. That may have a major impact on your business. These are five of the most interesting facts the study uncovered about how we use social networks.</p> <p><strong>1. Americans spend most of their time online on social network and blogs.</strong></p> <p>We all knew that Americans spent a lot of time on Facebook, but to put this into perspective, we only spend about 7.6 percent of our time checking email. We spend almost three times (23 percent) more time on blogs and social networks than checking email.</p> <p>The report also shows that 4 out of 5 active American internet users visit social networks and blogs, and blogs and social networks are used by over three quarters of active internet users (across 10 major global markets).</p> <p>There are a couple key takeaways from this.</p> <ul> <li><b>If you're not building up profiles on social networks for your small business, you're already behind</b>. Your customers are already there, talking about you, waiting for you to respond. Go meet them!</li> <li><b>Blogs are still very important for small businesses</b>. I can't stress this enough. Successful online businesses or destinations have blogs. They're great for communication, evergreen content, and even search engine optimization. People haven't stopped reading blogs like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/technology/internet/21blog.html?_r=2">some might like you to believe</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>2. 70 percent of active online adult social networkers shop online.</strong></p> <p>If an adult is on a social network, odds are she is somewhat computer savvy. She'll spend more time online than the &quot;average intent user&quot;, doing things like checking email, reading news sites and blogs, chatting, and shopping.</p> <p>If I was marketing a product, I'd make certain that I was marketing it on social networks. You have to sell where your buyers are, and a lot of them are on social networks.</p> <p><strong>3. 53 percent of active adult social networkers follow a brand; only 32 percent follow a celebrity.</strong></p> <p>Most people still subscribe to the myth that Twitter and Facebook are only for teens to follow celebrities talking about the daily activities of their cats. Not true... The people who most likely will be buying your products, (or are at least old enough to have a credit card), are looking for your brand on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Adults have made it clear that they want to follow brands across social networks.</p> <p><strong>4. 60 percent of social media users create reviews of products or services.</strong></p> <p>Consumers on social media rely on the recommendations of their friends or peers. They're also more likely to write reviews of your product or service. Active social media users greatly influence the shopping habits of their friends. Example: If my buddy from work says your product stinks, I'm probably not going to buy it. It's not a question of <i>are</i> they talking about your brand. They're talking about you. The question is: <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/pros-and-cons-of-online-customer-product-reviews-1">how are they talking about your products</a>? Are you listening? Are you communicating with them?</p> <p><strong>5. The number of mobile internet users is up 47 percent from last year.</strong></p> <p>Is your site optimized for mobile usage? Mobile usage is exploding across social networks. Here are a few more interesting facts from the study:</p> <ul> <li>Twice as many people aged 55+ visit social networking sites on their mobile phone than did last year;</li> <li>Mobile internet audience for social networking sites is up 62 percent since last year;</li> <li>2 in 5 social media users access these services from their mobile phones.</li> </ul> <p>Mobile usage is real, and it could greatly help or hurt your online business. Consider this: as people write reviews and discuss your product on social networking sites, their friends and followers read and click through to your product. From there, the mobile experience on your site could encourage people to buy your product, or quickly send them away.</p> <p><strong>Key Takeaways</strong></p> <p>What exactly does this mean for your business?</p> <ul> <li><b>If your business doesn't have a strong presence in social media or blogging, start today.</b> Don't wait. You're missing out on connections with customers, brand satisfaction, and more sales. People are talking about your brand. Make sure you're there to respond.</li> <li><b>Mobile usage across key age groups is exploding</b>. If you don't have a mobile site of some sort, you need to build one. Loading traditional webpages from the phone takes much longer, and those who want to buy on the phone want <i>instant gratification</i>. Create a fast and simple experience that allows mobile users to learn more about your product and buy right from their phones.</li> </ul> <p><i>Glen Stansberry is currently building </i><a target="_blank" href="http://www.appsourced.com/"><i><span>Appsourced</span></i></a><i>, an application that makes finding apps easier.</i></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center blogs business blogs Facebook google plus LinkedIn mobile marketing small business social media social media marketing Thu, 29 Sep 2011 22:06:25 +0000 Glen Stansberry 713549 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways to Use Your Social Networks Effectively http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000017180617Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Listen, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of William Dawes.</p> <p>Er, who?</p> <p>Dawes spread the word that the British were coming that fateful night along with Paul Revere. Longfellow&rsquo;s famous poem would make you think it was a galloping call to action, but what they both really did was more like a Pony Express ride with stops at important militia officer&rsquo;s homes.</p> <p>So why is Revere revered and Dawes forgotten? According to Malcolm Gladwell in <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Little-Things-Difference/dp/0316346624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1315863163&amp;sr=8-1">The Tipping Point</a>, Paul Revere was able to rouse the militia because he knew the revolutionary leaders in each of the towns that he rode through. Revere &quot;wasn't just the man with the biggest Rolodex in colonial Boston,&quot; Gladwell writes. You&rsquo;ve heard of Paul Revere because he was also a &quot;Connector,&quot; one of the people who &quot;link us up with the world ... people with a special gift for bringing the world together.&quot;</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/improving-your-online-community-1">Networking is important</a> to all kinds of small businesses. Imagine you just started a niche business, Revolutionary Militia, Inc. If your network doesn't include information brokers, personal or paid, the news that &ldquo;the Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming&rdquo; will never spread.</p> <p>Your network of friends and acquaintances is more than just a communication channel. It gives you access to information, skills, and power. To make the best use of your network, you should find the nodes you rely upon, strengthen existing relationships, and encourage others to share their expertise.</p> <p><strong>1. Find the Nodes</strong></p> <p>Look carefully at who you rely on, sources of business and social information, creative inspiration, specialized expertise, and so on. Consider the strength of your relationships, how often you exchange information, and what you offer in return.</p> <p>Now see if you can diagram your network; who&rsquo;s connected to whom, who introduced you to whom, who you introduced to others. It won&rsquo;t take long to find the nodes, the information brokers, the key contacts. Take special note of relationships you created. If there are a lot of them, if you&rsquo;ve mostly introduced people you like to other people you like, you&rsquo;ve built a network of people just like yourself. What you need is diversity.</p> <p>Sure, it&rsquo;s easier to trust someone who thinks like you, someone with shared experiences. They&rsquo;re easier to communicate with because they know what you&rsquo;re thinking and they&rsquo;re likely to agree with you, which makes you feel good.</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s not all good. You need exposure to different views to access creative and novel problem solving approaches. Conferences, for example, often turn out to be an industry talking to itself. It&rsquo;s rare at such meetings to hear a truly unique point of view. For example, if you design heavy earthmoving equipment? Try going to an entomology (bug) convention. Some bugs are extraordinarily good at moving dirt; you might discover some creative solutions.</p> <p><strong>2. Build Better Relationships</strong></p> <p>Strong relationships are not created through casual interactions. That&rsquo;s why team building exercises usually involve some activity that forces people out of their comfort zones. Paul Revere&rsquo;s militia was born from strongly held, shared values; and, to use a modern phrase, they had skin in the game.</p> <p>Sports, community service, volunteer associations, charitable foundations all offer the opportunity to develop relationships with people that can become nodes into other networks. Such relationships, based on extra-curricular activities, are likely to rest on spontaneous, unscripted, even unguarded interactions that are seem more genuine and thus stronger.</p> <p><strong>3. Develop Your Information Brokers</strong></p> <p>The strong brokers in your network are important to your success, especially the ones that aren&rsquo;t in positions of formal authority. Most will be flattered if you admit that you consider them crucial to what you do, and will offer to help even more if you show them you are genuinely grateful and sincere.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s no exaggeration to say that who you know is as important as what you know. With modern social networking applications you can create connections, but building a useful network takes more than that. You have to know the value of the networks you create, and you have to know how to build on them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/3-ways-to-use-your-social-networks-effectively">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-crucial-job-searching-steps-most-people-skip">6 Crucial Job Searching Steps Most People Skip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Facebook kiwanis LinkedIn networking small business social media social networks social service organizations Thu, 22 Sep 2011 21:14:13 +0000 Tom Harnish 705937 at http://www.wisebread.com Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn: Where Should You Be? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/twitter-facebook-and-linkedin-where-should-you-be <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/twitter-facebook-and-linkedin-where-should-you-be" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/twitter-facebook-and-linkedin-where-should-you...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/twitter-facebook-and-linkedin-where-should-you-be" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016787908Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More than once, I&rsquo;ve had a new client come to me and say that she wants to be on &ldquo;all the social networking sites.&rdquo;</p> <p>When I dig a little deeper and ask for details, that almost certainly means that the client wants her business on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But the why of the matter is a little harder. Basically they believe that since potential customers are on the big three social networking sites (possibly soon to be the big four with Google+), businesses had better be there, too. The fact of the matter is that there are some major differences between the three sites. Audiences vary widely, and the methods of connection vary, too. Which one (or ones) your business should be active in depends on a few factors.</p> <h3>Facebook</h3> <p>Facebook, as a platform, has many benefits. It is built to allow multiple types of communication and interaction, from sharing messages to posting photos. With its specialized markup language, it is possible for a business to create a Facebook page that gathers leads, offers up free ebooks, and many other strategies.</p> <p>Facebook users cover a broad range of demographics. In <a target="&rdquo;_blank&rdquo;" href="http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks/Summary/Findings.aspx">a recent report from the Pew Internet &amp; American Life Project</a>, it was reported that 92 percent of social networking site users in the U.S. are on Facebook. There is certainly an overlap between Facebook&rsquo;s users and people active on other social networking sites, but at the same time, Facebook offers businesses access to the broadest swath of people online.</p> <p>But there is a drawback for many businesses that might otherwise benefit from Facebook: many users aren&rsquo;t actively looking to buy. They visit the site to communicate with friends and acquaintances, and not to look for purchasing opportunities. This certainly isn&rsquo;t an insurmountable problem, but the businesses that are successful finding leads through Facebook are likely to fall more into the business-to-consumer category, especially lifestyle purchases that Facebook users are more likely to share with one another anyway.</p> <h3>LinkedIn</h3> <p>Where you might visit Facebook to connect with friends and just happen to add some business connections into the mix, LinkedIn is built with business in mind. Because of the nature of networks, many LinkedIn users will look at their own connections as a source for vendors. It&rsquo;s a great place to make connections with customers, especially if you are selling specifically to businesses. The site also offers an incredible number of opportunities to build up your expertise and share information; the result can be establishing yourself and your company's expertise quickly and with people that are regularly looking for experts to work with.</p> <h3>Twitter</h3> <p>Compared to the other two social networking platforms that have gotten big, Twitter is a very different opportunity. Twitter, by its nature, is extremely fast. You can post only 140 characters to the site in a given message and there aren&rsquo;t a lot of other features you can interact with (unlike the wide variety of features on both Facebook and LinkedIn). But those constraints are actually what makes Twitter such a valuable opportunity for businesses looking to connect with potential customers.</p> <p>The site makes it easy to post messages, whether it&rsquo;s a response to someone else&rsquo;s comment or a general broadcast. If you&rsquo;re willing to take the time to build up a following, you will have easy access to an audience that is more likely to act than those in your email list. You can also easily connect with people who aren&rsquo;t already in your network, through tactics like searching for users that mention specific keywords. And unlike Facebook, there are plenty of Twitter users who use the social networking site to search for products and services, making it an easier opportunity for businesses selling to other businesses. However, it&rsquo;s important to note that it&rsquo;s still a relatively small site, <a target="&rdquo;_blank&rdquo;" href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12889048">estimated to have around 200 million users worldwide</a>, and there are many industries that have not enthusiastically adopted it as a method to connect. Depending on your business, you may find that your target market is connecting elsewhere.</p> <h3>Where Does Your Business Need to Be?</h3> <p>First and foremost: Where is your audience? That&rsquo;s where you want to be. That means searching for people that fall into your customer base on each site, as well as surveying the customers you&rsquo;ve already got about where they&rsquo;re spending their time. Unless you have both the time and money required to build a great online presence on all three sites, it&rsquo;s worth prioritizing your efforts. Starting with just one platform is a perfectly reasonable choice for most organizations.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/twitter-facebook-and-linkedin-where-should-you-be">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Facebook LinkedIn marketing small business social marketing social media twitter Thu, 28 Jul 2011 20:29:37 +0000 Thursday Bram 630031 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Manage Your Online Reputation http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016270703Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Online reputation management is a hot topic lately. That&rsquo;s partly because it&rsquo;s easy to get burned.</p> <p>Ninety-two percent of consumers read reviews online, and a mere 3 percent say those reviews have no affect on their purchasing decisions, according to research from online rep firm RatePoint. That leaves a whopping 89 percent who will either welcome or wave off your business depending on what they dig up online.</p> <p>A wake-up call is long overdue for businesses still coming to grips with the stunning significance of online brand and presence. Managing your online reputation is a nonstop campaign that takes entrepreneurs to all corners of the web, not to mention social media. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-successfully-manage-your-online-reputation">Suzy Frisch</a> recently crafted an excellent overview of the importance of ORM and how small businesses can get a handle on an absolute necessity. She offers some crucial tips, such as being a first responder and replacing good news with bad.</p> <p>Basic steps like tracking mentions via Google alerts and social media monitoring and flushing the web with good news about your company are great starting points. But those introductory stages are often the end point for scores of businesses. The reality is there are other simple, straightforward, and low-cost techniques that can bolster online reputation. Here&rsquo;s a look at five ORM approaches you might be missing.</p> <h3>Using Twitter for More Than Searches</h3> <p>Definitely comb through Twitter for company mentions, reviews, recommendations, and other key communications related to your business. Twitter&rsquo;s <a target="_blank" href="http://search.twitter.com/">basic search function</a> can do the trick, but it&rsquo;s often easier to use an interface like TweetDeck, HootSuite, and their counterparts.</p> <p>Beyond that, utilize Twitter to funnel your original content. Tweets help original content get indexed faster by the search engines, which can prove a competitive advantage when it comes to ORM.</p> <p>And speaking of indexing, remember that pictures and Tweets get indexed; consider that the next time you use a photo or bang out a Tweet about a potentially controversial, problematic, or otherwise unprofessional topic.</p> <h3>Freshen Your Content</h3> <p>Content is still king. But it also has a long shelf life. Content you created four years ago to address then-pressing needs might still be ranking, even if those needs have long since shifted. Businesses and business owners can change a lot in four years, or even four months. Google likes fresh, so revisit and revamp existing content and consistently add new.</p> <h3>Double Down on Domains</h3> <p>Purchase the non-dot-com iterations of your website (.net, .org, .etc.). But don&rsquo;t forget about getting social media hubs in sync, like your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. For example, check out the lineup of sites and URLs when you search for online marketing guru <a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&amp;hl=en&amp;source=hp&amp;q=danny+demichele&amp;fp=1&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&amp;cad=b">Danny Demichele</a>. That&rsquo;s a pretty rock-solid run that helps keep potentially nasty pages pushed down in the search results.</p> <p>Beyond that, consider defensively purchasing domains that are linked to or in any way touch on your company or personal name. Snatch up sites that include words like &ldquo;complaints&rdquo; and &ldquo;reviews&rdquo; and your company name.</p> <h3>Maximize Public Profiles</h3> <p>This is tied in some ways to the domain approach. Creating public profiles can help bolster your brand and temper any waves when it comes to online reputation management. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are three of the most common ones, but business owners should also check out Google Profiles and information-sharing sites like Google Knol and Quora.</p> <p>An absolute must is <a target="_blank" href="http://knowem.com/">KnowEm</a>, as in &ldquo;Know Them?&rdquo; This site allows entrepreneurs to better track and manage their brands and fend off misrepresentation and squatting across the web.</p> <h3>Get Help from Affiliates</h3> <p>Affiliate programs can have significant ORM benefits for businesses in the right spheres.</p> <p>Consider the &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.webuyuglyhousesdallas.com/">We Buy Ugly Houses</a>&rdquo; people, who plaster billboards and telephone poles with those black and yellow signs. This is actually a Dallas-based company that essentially franchises its real estate flipping business model. When you search &ldquo;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.google.com/?q=we+buy+ugly+houses+dallas">We Buy Ugly Houses Dallas</a>&rdquo; in Google, every site in the top 10 is either one they own or owned by an affiliate.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a huge ORM advantage. Google is set up to discourage and demote sites owned by the same company to encourage variety. Having an affiliate program essentially provides variety through third-party sites you don&rsquo;t run or maintain. It also drives sales and traffic to your business.</p> <p>You pay a commission to the affiliates, but it certainly beats seeing consumers go instead to a competitor&rsquo;s site or some irrelevant profile, news story, or blog comment that&rsquo;s ranking higher.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-manage-your-online-reputation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-things-you-didnt-know-about-valentines-day">Weird Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Valentine&#039;s Day</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary Facebook online branding online reputation management ORM small business social marketing twitter Thu, 30 Jun 2011 20:51:34 +0000 Chris Birk 591365 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Superb Ways For A Small Business To Friend Facebook http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-superb-ways-for-a-small-business-to-friend-facebook <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-superb-ways-for-a-small-business-to-friend-facebook" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/10-superb-ways-for-a-small-business-to-friend-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-superb-ways-for-a-small-business-to-friend-facebook" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000016399334Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Love it or hate it, Facebook has proven to be a major source of traffic and income for small business websites. A recent study showed that <a target="_blank" href="http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/18/facebook-shares-are-worth-almost-three-times-more-than-tweets-for-e-commerce/">Facebook shares are worth almost three times as much as a tweet</a>. And these nuggets from this <a target="_blank" href="http://socialcommercetoday.com/infographic-facebook-shares-worth-2-10-incremental-sales-converts-at-10-9/">compelling infographic</a> ought to give a good indication as to how important Facebook has become to ecommerce in general:</p> <ul> <li>90% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know;</li> <li>67% spend more online after recommendations.</li> </ul> <p>Plenty of big companies have already seen incredible success with Facebook promotions:</p> <ul> <li>Pampers sold over 1,000 diapers in an hour on the Pampers Facebook store;</li> <li>Baby &amp; Me receives about 50% of online sales from Facebook;</li> <li>Spinback sees an average of 10.9% conversion rate for Facebook shares that lead to a purchase.</li> </ul> <p>If your small business is selling products online, then Facebook can be a fantastic way to add social proof and find more leads. Here are a few ways to snag some of that Facebook traffic for your small business website.</p> <h3>1. Get to Know Your Audience</h3> <p>Before you start, figure out if Facebook marketing is a good fit for your customers. After all, you may find that your audience or customers just aren't going to catch the Facebook fever. That's fine. Figure out what <em>does </em>work and focus your efforts there. There's no sense trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.</p> <p>If you find that Facebook <i>will</i> resonate with your clientele, then forge right ahead. Just don't put all of your eggs into the Facebook basket without testing the waters first.</p> <h3>2. Start Tracking</h3> <p>If you're going to start Facebook marketing, you're going to have to track your results. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/insights/">Facebook Insights</a> is a great place to start tracking shares, fan pages, apps, or just a regular domain. And it's free.</p> <p>You can also start tracking sales from Facebook by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bigcommerce.com/ecommerce-blog/how-to-track-visitors-and-sales-from-facebook-with-google-analytics/">setting up Google Analytics</a> to track sales.</p> <h3>3. Start Engaging</h3> <p>If you've got a fan page on Facebook and have started to get a few fans, it's time to start engaging them. Start conversations with your fans on the page. Ask intriguing questions. These are the things that will keep visitors coming back to your site. Facebook pages are fantastic platforms at generating discussions, so use it to the max.</p> <p>Compete.com has found that 68% of people who like retail fan pages do so to stay current with promotions and sales. Use your Facebook page to post coupons and sales as well as product updates. You might even think about posting special promotions <i>only</i> to your Facebook page to reward your fans. (More on that later.)</p> <p>Many small businesses make the mistake of simply setting up an RSS feed to automatically post content to the page. If you want to start sparking true engagement, then you're going to have to go to the next level and get away from automation.</p> <h3>4. Take Advantage of Friend Referrals</h3> <p>There's no stronger recommendation than one from a personal friend.</p> <p>Facebook is different than other social sites because the friend connections are stronger. If your friend in real life recommends a book to you, you're much more likely to buy it than a recommendation from a random guy on Twitter.&nbsp;</p> <p>Do everything you can to get shares. Add the Share button to each product or post, at the bare minimum.</p> <h3>5. Reward Facebook Fans</h3> <p>Often it's not enough to ask to simply get people to become fans of your business on Facebook. Sure, asking helps, but try <i>giving them something</i> in exchange for becoming a fan. A free newsletter, a coupon, <i>anything</i> that will get users liking your page.</p> <p>As an example, some musical artists like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/ladygaga">Lady Gaga</a> let fans who have &quot;liked&quot; their page listen to songs and watch videos that others can't.</p> <h3>6. Learn More about Facebook Ads</h3> <p>Facebook is going to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d4f537d2-7a65-11e0-af64-00144feabdc0.html">overtake Google and Yahoo!</a> as the largest online display advertising company later this year. Not only that, Facebook allows you to target very specific demographics of people who will see your ad. Facebook ads are a great way to generate leads to your Facebook page, and to generate sales.</p> <p>Aside from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/adsmarketing/">Facebook's In-house ad doc</a>, there are a couple of great guides already out there. The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/digital-marketing/facebook-advertising-guide/">How-to Guide for Facebook Advertising</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://subliminalpixels.com/facebook/how-to-set-up-and-track-facebook-ads/">Facebook Ads 101 - How to Setup and Track Facebook Ads</a> are great places to start.<span> </span></p> <h3>7. Create a Landing Page for Your Facebook Fan Page</h3> <p>If you don't have a landing page for your Facebook fan page, then you're already missing out. Instead of showing new visitors your comment threads or posts, direct them to a targeted landing page with more information about your business. Here's an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.allfacebook.com/facebook-landing-page-2011-03">easy guide</a> to creating a landing page for your fan page.</p> <h3>8. Think about a Contest</h3> <p>To boost the number of fans on Facebook, you might consider starting a contest. Contests generate interest and attention that you might not get from traditional content. Plus, friends love to share contests on Facebook.</p> <p>Gigcoin has a great article on how to evaluate <a target="_blank" href="http://blog.gigcoin.com/is-a-facebook-contest-or-sweepstakes-right-for-your-business/">whether a contest is right for you</a> or not.</p> <h3>9. Stop Giving away iPads</h3> <p>If you <i>do</i> decide to create a contest, make sure the prize is something <i>targeted towards your audience</i>. For example, if you have a small business that sells cookware, give away a free kitchen set.</p> <p>Whatever you do, don't give away a generic gift like an iPad. Search Engine Journal has an excellent writeup on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.searchenginejournal.com/idumb-why-you-should-stop-giving-away-ipads-on-twitter-and-facebook/29424/">why you shouldn't give away iPads for contests</a>. In short: they're too generic. You're not attracting targeted fans when you give away un-targeted gifts.</p> <h3>10. Consider Starting a Facebook Store</h3> <p>Selling items on Facebook has become quite a boon for many shops. Facebook has passed Google to become the most visited site on the internet, so it is only logical that selling products on Facebook is the next step. After all, the average Facebook user spends 14 minutes on the site <i>every day</i>.</p> <p>There are some existing applications like <a target="_blank" href="http://www.shoptab.net/">ShopTab</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://storefrontsocial.com/">Storefront Social</a> that allow you to quickly integrate your existing store into a Facebook application.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/glen-stansberry">Glen Stansberry</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-superb-ways-for-a-small-business-to-friend-facebook">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-ways-to-get-a-small-business-loan">10+ Smart Ways to Get a Small Business Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center Facebook facebook marketing facebook shares facebook store fan pages small business Thu, 23 Jun 2011 22:11:58 +0000 Glen Stansberry 581353 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Essentials For A Great Social Media Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-essentials-for-a-great-social-media-strategy <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/7-essentials-for-a-great-social-media-strategy" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/technology/article/7-essentials-for-a-g...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/7-essentials-for-a-great-social-media-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000013774566Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="127" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The key to success in social media for small business does not depend, necessarily, on which online platform you use. It's in how you lay the foundation for your social media strategy, and then how you follow through on that strategy. Before you create your Facebook page, lay your social media foundation with these essential items. Then you'll be ready to use social media to successfully build up your small business. And isn't that the point?</p> <h3>Set Up Your Home Base</h3> <p>All the awesome networking in the world is kind of pointless if, at the end of your great Twitter conversation or Facebook interaction, your new potential client can't click a link and learn more about you.</p> <p>While a social media presence matters, it matters because the goal is to turn those interactions into customer relationships. And potential customers, in order to become real, live, loyal, giving-you-money customers, are going to want to know about you, about your business, your services, your products, your pricing, your reviews, your history, your expertise. In short, they're going to want to know a lot more about you than that last 140-character tweet you sent or what you put in the Info portion of your Facebook page. Set up your home base on the Internet first: your business website, which may or may not include a blog.</p> <h3>Continuity of Message and Branding</h3> <p>We've talked before about how <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/how-to-create-a-professional-online-image-at-low-to-no-cost">to create a professional online image</a>, and if you haven't walked through those steps, go do so now before you start promoting your business through social media. Yes, there's a lot of talk about how people want to connect to a real person; they do. But they also want to know that the real person they're connecting to is a professional, an expert, and someone they can trust.<a target="_blank" href="http://www.halobusiness.com/teamhalo/marianna-hayes-chapman/">Small business marketing consultant Marianna Hayes Chapman</a> advises her clients to work hard on consistency, from their social media messages to the in-store experience they give customers. &quot;<a href="http://www.resultsrevolution.com/2010/07/consistency-is-a-customer-experience-requirement/">Consistency is a desired customer experience</a> that makes your customers feel like insiders,&quot; she says, and &quot;...a sure meal ticket to success.&quot;</p> <p><i>[Disclosure: I've worked personally with Marianna and can't recommend her enough as a small business coach, especially for locally owned businesses.]</i></p> <h3>Realistic Demographics</h3> <p>Research, research, research! Know your target market. You've heard this before &mdash; if you're throwing promos and coupons into cyberspace with no idea who is reading your messages, you're wasting your time.</p> <p>Get the information about where your target market hangs out online. Twitter attracts a particular set of people; Youtube attracts another; Facebook has a broader reach, but that doesn&rsquo;t guarantee that your people are there.</p> <p>Research will save you time and ensure that your efforts matter. Remember, you want to connect with the people who will be interested in your business, not just waste time connecting with whoever happens to be online when you are.</p> <h3>Specific Way to Measure ROI</h3> <p>How are you going to measure your success (or lack thereof)? If you don't have some systems for measurement in place, even something as basic as analytics on your website so you can see where your traffic comes from, when it comes, and how long it stays, then your business succeeding in social media is as likely as a blind jockey winning a horse race. It could happen, but if it does, it will be purely by chance. You don't have time for chance.</p> <h3>Defined Level of Commitment</h3> <p>Building a social media strategy depends largely on what you can invest in it, both in terms of time and money. Make some cold hard commitments, on paper, and then you'll be able to see exactly what your business is capable of in the social media world. If you have no money, you can't buy ads on Google or Facebook. If you have no time, and no employee to delegate the work to, you can't post regularly on your business blog.</p> <p>Before you start building your profiles and putting up logos, figure out how much time you can invest on a daily and weekly basis, and how much money you can invest on things like a professional website, graphic design (logos, branding, etc.), copywriting, ghost blogging, ads, and so on.</p> <h3>Designated Owner</h3> <p>Someone has to be responsible for making sure that the regular work of social media marketing is done, and in a way that is consistent with the message and brand of your business. Don't underestimate the amount of time and energy that it will require.</p> <p>At the least, you need to oversee what is being done, measure the ROI, and make decisions about how to adjust your strategy when needed. You may outsource or assign the actual work of social media: the content creation, the posting, the interaction. It will work best if you have one person in charge whose voice and personality can come through consistently across all your social media work.</p> <h3>Reason for People to Interact with You</h3> <p>Social media is a thriving, busy, crowded place. You can jump in and add to the noise, get noticed and then ignored, or you can create and offer something of value to the people already there. Then you'll get noticed, remembered, noted, followed, and appreciated.</p> <p>In short, don't come to the picnic unless you bring your own bucket of potato salad to share, and make sure it's good. Otherwise you're just one more person making noise.</p> <h3>Social Media Strategy</h3> <p>Once you've worked your way through those first seven essential steps, you're ready to create a roadmap to execute your social media strategy. Decide which social networks you want to focus on (it can be more than one, but keep in mind that it takes an incredible amount of time to manage even just one effective). Also, focusing on one main outlet at a time, allows you to evaluate whether your strategy is working. If you see responses, keep putting in the effort. If not, decide if you need more time or if you need to make changes.</p> <p>The most important thing to remember is that social media success takes time. It takes time in terms of time spent, every day and every week, to keep on producing value and getting it out there. It takes time to interact. It takes time to figure out what's working. And it takes time for things to start working.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-essentials-for-a-great-social-media-strategy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center branding Facebook marketing small business social media twitter Thu, 19 May 2011 22:34:38 +0000 Annie Mueller 541081 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Make Your Affiliate Marketing Program Shine http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-ways-to-make-your-affiliate-marketing-program-shine <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/10-ways-to-make-your-affiliate-marketing-program-shine" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/10-ways-to-make-your-...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/10-ways-to-make-your-affiliate-marketing-program-shine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000002477861Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Affiliate marketing can be a key strategy for selling products, especially online. At its most basic, affiliate marketing lets you turn anyone into a sales person for your business. You offer a commission for every product an affiliate sells for you. This strategy has become particularly popular as the number of websites and blogs have boomed. There are several software options that let you put up your products for sale and that provide accurate counts of sales made by affiliates.</p> <p>One of the biggest benefits I&rsquo;ve found with affiliate marketing is how far it can expand your reach. When I created an affiliate program for one of my products, it was reviewed and promoted by the largest site in my niche &mdash; reaching more than 100,000 people that I otherwise could not have marketed to.</p> <p>If you're considering an affiliate marketing program, consider the following ten tips that can help make your program a success.</p> <h3>Stay in touch with your affiliates.</h3> <p>If you ignore your affiliates, they&rsquo;ll ignore you. Sending out news about upcoming opportunities helps dramatically, but if you really want to make your program stand out, give some one-on-one attention to your affiliates. Create multiple communication channels, from forums to newsletters, facebook to twitter and then use them.</p> <h3>Create a guide for your affiliates.</h3> <p>You&rsquo;re almost certainly not in a position to give away products to every person who signs up for your affiliate program and, even if all of your affiliates have your products, that isn&rsquo;t going to transform each of them into a fantastic salesperson overnight. But if you can provide tips and guidelines about selling your product, you can help new affiliates get over the hump.</p> <h3>Give your affiliates lots of images.</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s become standard practice for many affiliate programs to provide affiliates with banners that can easily be added to a website, but other images are just as important. Most buyers look first and foremost for pictures of anything they&rsquo;re considering purchasing, so making sure that your affiliates have plenty of images to work with can give them a huge boost.</p> <h3>Make it easy for your affiliates to hold their own promotions.</h3> <p>The point of an affiliate program is to reach as many different audiences as quickly as possible &mdash; and make use of the expertise of the people already working with those audiences. Your affiliates are going to have ideas for promoting your products to their audiences and to make those ideas work, you&rsquo;ll need to offer your affiliates the freedom and support to pull off their ideas.</p> <h3>Offer higher affiliate commissions.</h3> <p>While there is almost certainly an upper limit on the affiliate commission you can offer, there&rsquo;s probably some room to create tiers in what you offer your affiliates. For those affiliates who are particularly good at selling your products, there is little reason not to offer them a higher rate so that they can spend even more of their time on marketing your products.</p> <h3>Bundle products.</h3> <p>For many products that you may sell, there are other products or services that they can be paired with. Some affiliates may look for opportunities to create their own joint ventures &mdash; bundling your products with other vendors' products &mdash; but the more chances to sell packages of your projects, the more opportunities you can offer your affiliates to reach wider.</p> <h3>Bring in a phenomenal affiliate manager.</h3> <p>Hiring even a part-time specialist in affiliate programs can help you take your affiliates to the next level. A great affiliate manager can make technical problems a thing of the past, as well as help you identify truly great affiliates and grow your program.</p> <h3>Learn about your affiliates.</h3> <p>Can you mention any of your affiliates by name? Can you describe the promotions they&rsquo;ve used to sell your products? Can you list what other products they&rsquo;re affiliates for? That information can be crucial. You can educate the rest of your affiliates about the techniques particularly successful sellers are using, as well as come up with specific ideas that are relevant to their websites, blogs or other places they promote your products.</p> <h3>Create a promotion calendar and share it with your affiliates.</h3> <p>In every industry, there are certain opportunities that come up at different points of the year, when you can offer special promotions. Providing your affiliates with this sort of insight into your industry can make a real difference in your sales.</p> <h3>Make yourself available to affiliates.</h3> <p>Your affiliates are going to have questions that you&rsquo;ve never considered &mdash; as well as ideas that you want to hear about. If you just set up an affiliate program and leave it to run on autopilot, you won't hear neither questions nor ideas. It&rsquo;s crucial to make sure that you&rsquo;re accessible, at least by email, to anyone who wants to follow up on your affiliate program.</p> <p>Implementing every one of these strategies immediately may seem daunting. But the beauty of an affiliate marketing program is that you can build up your program in steps. You can add support materials, offer suggestions to your affiliates, and so on over time. Start with the most important piece &mdash; communication &mdash; and keep it as simple as an email newsletter. As long as you contact them on a regular schedule, you won't have any choice <i>but</i> to grow your affiliate program to keep pace with their sales pace.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-ways-to-make-your-affiliate-marketing-program-shine">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center affiliate marketing email Facebook marketing small business twitter Wed, 18 May 2011 22:33:42 +0000 Thursday Bram 537275 at http://www.wisebread.com Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/foursquare.jpg" alt="Woman showing a coupon on a phone" title="Woman showing a coupon on a phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="178" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Have you &quot;liked&quot; your favorite stores on Facebook? Do you check in on Foursquare at your favorite restaurants? If you're willing to invest a little time into social media, you can make it a useful part of your coupon strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-iphone-can-save-you-money">6 Ways an iPhone Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <p>Many businesses now share special coupons through social media sites, making it worthwhile to to check Facebook, Twitter, and all the rest of those sites out there for coupons to help you save money. Many coupons are restricted to those people who follow, fan, check-in, and otherwise promote a given company in the terminology of whatever site you happen to be on &mdash; but the benefits can make it worthwhile.</p> <h3>Creating a Social Media Coupon Strategy</h3> <p>If you go through and connect with the stores and businesses you like to buy from on the various social media sites you're active on, you've made a start to getting those coupons. But it's easy for such sites to create too much noise, especially if you're connected to many people. It takes strategy not to lose those coupons in the noise.</p> <p>On sites like Facebook and Twitter, you have the ability to create lists &mdash; groupings of different types of friends. By creating a list of those connections that you made for the specific purpose of getting coupons, you can make it easier to check in on such connections on a regular basis and see what sort of coupons they're offering. That way you can judge if it's a coupon that's worth your while without having to sort through all the updates from your friends.</p> <p>It's also useful to build up social media habits, such as checking in at the places you visit. Many stores now offer special coupons based on the number of check-ins or other statistics, like a virtual punch card.</p> <h3>The Trade-Off for Social Media Coupons</h3> <p>The coupons that come from social media sources do have drawbacks beyond the time that you have to invest in finding them, which isn't all that different from any other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">source of coupons</a>.</p> <p>The real drawback is that you're giving up a good chunk of privacy for the privilege of getting those coupons. With a site like Foursquare, anyone can easily see the places that you go and check into, as well as notice patterns in your behavior. The same goes for how easily anyone can see the actions you take on sites like Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p>It's a personal decision whether you're willing to give up some of your privacy for more (and in some cases, better) coupons. There's a clear benefit to those coupons &mdash; you get to save money &mdash; but it's up to you if that is enough of a benefit. Consider it carefully and, if social media coupons are worth your while, make the most of them.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">10 Ways to Make Facebook Productive</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-facebook-friends-precautions-for-travelers">How Well Do You Know Your Facebook Friends? Precautions for Travelers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-everybody-ought-to-know-about-twitter">What Everybody Ought to Know About Twitter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-twitter-updates-that-are-making-you-look-dumb">6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology Facebook mobile coupons social media twitter Thu, 03 Feb 2011 13:00:06 +0000 Thursday Bram 485888 at http://www.wisebread.com 13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3363028711_880ee0d6b3.jpg" alt="happy crowd" title="happy crowd" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many businesses are struggling to generate new ideas that will produce incremental sales or replace sales lost to once viable but now irrelevant products and services. According to a recent survey, businesses are having &quot;difficulty incoming up with new ideas to grow their businesses&quot; along with troubles in &quot;marketing and positioning themselves in a highly competitive market.&quot; (See the <a href="http://growsmartbusiness.com/wp-content/files/Network_Solutions_Small_Business_Success_Index.pdf">Survey of Small Business Success Index</a> [pdf], sponsored by <a href="http://growsmartbusiness.com/">Network Solutions, LLC</a> and <a href="http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/ces/">Center for Excellence in Service</a> at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business.)</p> <p>Some business owners and their management teams wonder if social media may somehow be useful in connecting with customers, bringing about boosts in either real-life foot traffic or online visitor volume, and stimulating sales. But they're not sure if they want to take the time to explore and leverage Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Half of those surveyed say that social media took more time than expected; many were concerned that this approach could backfire, allowing customers to criticize the business via the internet.</p> <p>Meanwhile you've got social-media expertise and loads of great ideas, but can't get anyone to take action on initiatives (such as these <a href="#13ways">13 ways</a>) that come from you.</p> <p>Recently, I spoke with the owner of a small but fast-growing company about methods that employees can use to win support for their ideas. Heidi Kallett runs <a href="http://www.thedandelionpatch.com/index.asp">The Dandelion Patch</a>, a retailer specializing in custom stationery and gifts.</p> <h3>Methods of approaching your boss about new ideas</h3> <ul> <li>Choose the right company. Figure out if your organization values innovation. Heidi is enthusiastic about new ideas and approaches but other business owners may not be.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Know what the company owner (or your boss) wants to accomplish in all areas, particularly social media. Understand the target audiences, appropriate methods of interacting with customers, and results desired.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find out what the boss holds sacred. Heidi, for example, is fiercely protective of her brand. She values positive customer experiences and community relationships.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider your mindset as a customer, how you like to interact with businesses, and behaviors that you find pleasing as well as those that may seem inappropriate. Let your boss know that you understand the need to reinforce the company's brand image.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Propose sample messages, campaigns, updates, etc. for the boss's approval, rejection, or tweaking to make sure that you are going in the right direction.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set priorities so that social media doesn't take over your day-to-day work. Heidi asks that her managers engage in social media before and after hours only so that face-to-face interaction is given No. 1 priority.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep up with the latest trends in social media. Expand your knowledge and widen your perspective by taking classes (such as these <a href="http://www.networksolutions.com/education/upcoming-events/">special events</a> offered by Network Solutions) and doing your own research.</li> </ul> <h3><a name="13ways"></a>Ways to use social media in business</h3> <ol> <li>Make announcements about changes in the business: new product lines, new store hours, and new locations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Offer limited-time discounts on certain products or custom items placed before specific deadlines.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Link to media coverage and press mentions of your business.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Educate customers on the everyday and innovative uses of your products.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Alert customers to seasonal changes in the business, which may mean new merchandise suitable for the season or sales in off-season items.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Embed videos with customer testimonials that share how your business differentiates itself from the competition.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Build bridges to new communities by sharing positive experiences that your business, its customers, and its employees have had with outside groups, such as non-profit organizations, professional associations, vendors, and area universities.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Issue invitations to special events hosted by the company.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tell customers where they may be able to connect with you in real life, such as community festivals or trade shows.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Post photos of special events, close-ups of specialty items, and in-store displays.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Solicit input from customers about ways to shape special events, promotional activities, loyalty programs, etc.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Get feedback on events, sales, and programs after you've introduced and hosted them.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Listen to what customers are saying, value-added features that they notice, and reasons that they are loyal to your company so that you'll differentiate in a way that is meaningful to the customer.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Even if your company has zero online sales, you can still engage customers through technology.</strong> The Dandelion Patch is focused on the local community; nevertheless, Heidi builds relationships through a website, YouTube videos, Facebook page, and more.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/effective-networking-in-a-one-horse-town">Effective Networking in a One-Horse Town</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Entrepreneurship Facebook LinkedIn networking small business social media twitter Sat, 16 Oct 2010 17:00:05 +0000 Julie Rains 262560 at http://www.wisebread.com