Social Networking

Take It From the Clowns…

When it comes to social media marketing, sometimes you’ve just got to listen to the clowns. Well, a very specific group of clowns anyway.

In particular, the mind-bendingly bendy group at Cirque du Soleil has once again thrown off convention and is currently leading the movement by established and successful organizations to move advertising online. While they haven’t completely abandoned traditional means of advertising, Soleil’s social media manager Jessica Berlin is spearheading the effort to make the high budget production known on forums such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and others.

In a recent panel discussion, Berlin divulged some key points about the benefits of moving advertising efforts online.
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Blog Directories and Communities

There are many benefits to implementing a business blog for your online business. The additional credibility and visibility that comes as a result of consistent blogging can often eclipse that of traditional marketing efforts. If the business blog is setup to enable communication and posting to social networking and social bookmarking applications, the exposure potential is even greater, as these are some of the most popular destinations for people online. Having your business integrated into these new standards of Web 2.0 marketing can result in impressive returns. These are important steps to take when starting a business blog campaign, but when it comes to marketing, you aren’t finished yet…

Beyond the setup of your business blog and integration into social media advertising, you need to consider the blog community, or blogosphere. It’s vital that other bloggers are aware of your spot on the web, as they are probably the most active and knowledgeable online community when it comes to better search engine rankings and interactive marketing. Participation on your blog is necessary to start building a readership and making some waves within the community, not to mention the process of building relationships with people who can have quite a significant impact on your business success. Bloggers must remember that no blog is an island, and the real goal here is to create as many bridges in the blogosphere as possible.
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All A-Twitter for New Features

If you thought Facebook and YouTube held court over the social media community, don’t forget that Twitter is also rapidly growing in popularity. For anyone out of the Twitter loop, the program is a free social networking service based around user updates, or “tweets.” Users can both create and read these tweets, which are limited to 140 characters. If you’re already a member of that community and want to maximize its benefits, check out some of these user-approved Twitter tools.

TweetWheel: Although the end results end up looking somewhat like a virtual spirograph, the application is actually quite interesting. Every one of your “followers” is placed on a circle and differently colored lines connect who knows who.
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Marketing On Facebook

Companies may actually be losing money when they block social networking sites like Facebook. Many companies block access to Facebook because they fear employees will waste time socializing, or share too much information about their company.

A recent global pole conducted by Sapphos estimates that about 50 percent of employees are blocked from or restricted in their Facebook use. MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn are also commonly blocked.

These companies may believe they are gaining an edge on employee productivity, but what they’re actually doing is eliminating powerful marketing, advertising and recruiting mechanisms. Facebook is one of the most trafficked sites on the Web and smart companies are taking advantage of that. Social networking can easily segue into social marketing with the right techniques.
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LinkedIn Isn’t Just ‘Pulling Your Chain’

The current job market sucks. Even the most educated and skilled workers are having a tough time finding work. The unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in five years and is expected to get even higher in the coming months.

In September, 6.1% of Americans were without jobs. This month the rate will likely top 7%. The forecast doesn’t get any better in 2009, when economists predict the rate to peak at over 10%.

Those out of work are frantic to find new employment, and those currently employed are preparing themselves for a time when they’re not so fortunate. At a time when many companies are cutting costs and axing jobs, “professional” networking sites, like LinkedIn, are cashing in.

LinkedIn, a social-networking website for the business community, has experienced a 25% increase in signups since the economy crashed late last summer. Since mid-September, the site has seen about 1 million new members every two weeks.
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Are you Afraid of the Digg?

If you thought witches and ghouls were the scariest thing you were going to encounter this Halloween, some established companies might see it a little bit differently. For them, the most terrifying prospect is…a social networking site.

But why would anyone be afraid of a little site like Digg or Facebook? The simple answer is control. Companies fear social networking sites because they can’t pick and choose what is said about the company through these kinds of outlets. But this hesitation to move viral (and relinquish this control) shouldn’t be too shocking. Think of all the time, money, and effort that are put into carefully creating any and all company marketing campaigns. Commercials are screened by test audiences before they ever make it on the air. Heads of the company have careful speech writers and PR pros coordinating all company information before it’s divulged to the public. And with social networking sites, companies move out of this controlled environment into the wild, untamed world of everyday human interaction.
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The Facebook ‘Relationship Status’ Symbol

It’s not real until it’s on Facebook. At least that’s the case for nearly four million daily users of the popular social networking site. When does dating become a relationship? And, after a breakup, when should you reveal your status as single to let others know you are available?

Facebook and MySpace have become part of our daily lives. If we’re not busy accepting friends requests, we’re making them, and if we’re not doing that we’re uploading new photos and videos to show others. We may check our FB accounts 5-10 times a day, even while we’re at work. Most bosses won’t even notice because they’re busy checking their own.
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Facebook Better than Porn?

Using A ComputerIn the world of internet searches and usage, there has officially been a changing of the guard. While pornography and adult sites used to reign supreme as the number one reason people flocked to the web, it seems people are now more concerned with updating their MySpace and Facebook pages.

That’s right. Social networking sites are officially more popular with the 18 to 24 year old demographic than porn. Bill Tancer, the author of Click: What Millions of People are Doing Online and Why It Matters, also found that celebrities and politics were hot search topics.

While most people would think trading porn for politics is a step in the right direction, they might be disappointed to find that there is little searching being done for actual political policies or information. Searches are geared instead towards images—especially for vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.
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What is Web 2.0?

When it comes to internet marketing, Web 2.0 has redefined the rules. Every fundamental aspect of owning an online business now must incorporate this concept to ensure the potential for positive results. The days of building a site and optimizing it for search engine results are over; there’s someone else who already did that and is moving forward with the next step in their campaign. To win the race, we’ve got to outthink our competitor and outperform them online. To accomplish that, we have to understand the newest concepts in marketing and embrace them as our own. Enter Web 2.0, the natural evolvement of the web and the information within it.

That being said, let’s take a step back. What is Web 2.0? What does it mean and how does it affect marketing and e-commerce? Unfortunately, a concise definition of Web 2.0 has yet to be realized, mostly because it’s an idea that’s still being debated. Wikipedia is the most comprehensive source out there, but it leaves something out in terms of what impact it has had and why it’s important to us.  Let’s start by attempting a simple, understandable definition for our purposes.

What is Web 2.0?

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New Study: Social Media Important In Buying Decision

Online BuyingMost businesses are just starting to figure out how to get their feet wet with social media. From managing an attractive, trustworthy identity in social networking sites to getting their product and company information posted in social bookmarking sites, this part of a marketing campaign usually takes a back seat to what businesses consider the more immediate concerns, statistics like traffic, sales and conversions. But a new study shows that consumers are using social media more than ever to do research on a company and their reputation before buying, and businesses better start listening, responding and improving if they want to compete in a Web 2.0 marketplace.
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