Social media monitoring services, surveys and analytics help determine customers social media preferences : Target Marketing

The buzz surrounding companies investing in social media marketing to reach consumers has created a lot of attention for sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the recently popular Foursquare. Millions of consumers are spending their time online with social networking and media sharing sites instead of other media.

Some companies are wasting significant resources by chasing after too many different services without taking the time to figure out which social networks and Web sites their customers prefer. Why not fish where the fish are? Here are three tactics you can use to better connect with customers on the social Web:

  • Ask Them! One of the most effective and accurate methods of finding out which social media sites your customers prefer is to survey them. That same survey can do double duty and invite customers to friend, fan or follow based on their preferences.
  • Social Media Monitoring. Free services like trackur.com or socialmention.com can help uncover which sites customers are using that also discuss your brand. Paid services like Scout Labs or Radian6 are very useful for more advanced monitoring and social CRM.
  • Web Analytics. Review your Web analytics to see which social media sites are already sending you traffic, and leverage that insight to decide where to participate.

Doing your homework on customer preferences for how they discover, interact and share on the social Web will shorten the time to reach the right people and help create a more relevant opportunity to interact.

Time being the great equalizer; requires that we measure our ROI for social marketing. Incorporating social media monitoring, web analytics and communicating directly with your current clients to find out their preference will enable you to put an effective social marketing plan together.

Customer retention is the new acquisition; are you engaging on social networks?

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Trending Story What Social Media Ad Types Work Best? [STATS]

Mashable.com says “As time spent on social networking sites increases, advertisers are funneling more ad dollars into campaigns targeting users on those platforms.” Have you tried any Facebook promotions?

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khogeveen7′s Channel

Tom Ferry’s video on Expanding Your Brand Online is a great vblog entry about why we need to develop a Facebook Business Page. Touch Marketing embraced this and offers our clients the opportunity to not only expand your brand on Facebook but also YouTube and Twitter. More to come….stay tuned!

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Why Your Brand Needs to Be on Facebook Now

Facebook IconDallas Lawrence is Chair of the Social and Digital Media Practice at Levick Strategic Communications, the nation’s top crisis communications firm. He blogs on emerging digital media trends and best practices for social media engagement on Bulletproof Blog. Connect with him on Twitter @dallaslawrence.

With 450 million users globally (and millions more being added each week) Facebook (Facebook

) is dominating the web in unparalleled ways. Yet, even as the social network has steadily grown over its short but remarkable history, many brands have remained on the sidelines of the social media revolution.

Facebook was the most visited site on the web for the week ending on March 13, 2010, surpassing even Google in week-long stats for the first time in history, according to Hitwise. The shift in user habits and audience targeting is palpable and it provides marketers, brand managers, issue advocates, and political campaigns today with an age old choice: Adapt and change or face irrelevance and extinction.

A Social Media Parable

In many ways, the fundamental decision facing those looking to compete in the next decade of social media dominance is reminiscent of Dr. Spencer Johnson’s bestselling business tale Who Moved My Cheese? It’s the story of two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two “littlepeople” named Hem and Haw who find themselves facing this same predicament.

As the fable unfolds, the book’s four main characters arrive in their maze one day to find that their once abundant cheese supply has disappeared. Sniff and Scurry knew this day was coming. They recognized that their cheese supply was dwindling and set out to find a new source.

Hem and Haw, on the other hand, hadn’t noticed that their cheese was running out. Rather than adapt, they retreated into the all-too-human reactions of fear, denial, and disbelief as they hopelessly waited for the change to prove passing.

For those who have not read this late-90s change agent bible, I won’t spoil the ending. The moral of the story however is clear: Change happens. To survive it, you must anticipate it; and to be successful, you must embrace it.

Realizing the Critical Value of Facebook

Facebook Logo

In the modern day maze that is the digital and social media realm, these lessons were again on display as the online community debated the value of the new Facebook user statistics this past week.

Viewed simply, the cheese moved again this month –- and just as intelligent companies adapted their marketing and communications models for the advent of Google (Google

) over the last decade, Facebook’s dominance has forced another “change or become extinct” moment. To thrive in a rapidly changing marketplace, corporate communicators must understand that the shift now underway is just as powerful as the one that transformed Google into the modern Yellow Pages and turned a Silicon Valley start-up into a $200 billion everyday necessity.

Unfortunately, most of today’s C-Suite decision makers lack the foresight of Dr. Johnson’s furry friends Sniff and Scurry. Far too many executives still see Facebook as a vast, uncontrollable outpost for college slackers –- one better equipped for picture sharing and random life updates than corporate reputation management, crisis response, and brand bulletproofing.

But the numbers don’t lie. Almost half-a-billion users each spend an average of nearly 6 hours per month on the site –- inhabiting networks that are largely free of corporate messaging, spam, and expensive advertising. This ought to make at least a few corporate titans rethink that next $1 million Super Bowl ad buy (even if Google did buy its first in 2010).

3 Ways Your Brand can Get Started on Facebook

Facebook users are openly sharing their life’s passions, personal interests, and their affinity –- or lack thereof –- for corporate brands, political candidates, and the key public policy stances. In effect, they are openly sharing every bit of marketing data a 21st century company covets.

For those still wary of change but now ready to dip their toe into the waters and begin to understand and benefit from the power of social, there are three free and relatively painless steps to begin the journey through the social media maze:

  • First, evaluate your current advertising efforts and identify how they can best be tailored to Facebook. Consider allocating 10% of your current Google AdWords or online advertising budget to a 90-day trial run on Facebook. Be sure to develop clear benchmarks for success, and remember, unlike Google AdWords, Facebook ads rely on both keywords and a variety of demographic information –- information you no doubt have already identified as key indicators of your target audience(s). You can now put this information to use to further micro-target your advertising buy, narrow the net you are throwing in the online marketplace, and increase the return on your investment.
  • Second, conduct a survey of your employees to see who is already on Facebook and thus, who may be your company’s most social media-savvy employees. You may find that your workplace is brimming with talent just waiting to be unleashed. For now, these future brand ambassadors may be ideal candidates to develop your Facebook presence and initial advertising program.
  • Finally — and this may seem obvious — become a face on Facebook yourself. Become familiar with the site, its features and the value hundreds of millions of people find in the world’s most populous online community. It may ultimately not be for you personally, but as with almost every new platform, the best way to understand its value is to give it a try yourself.

For those still looking for meaning in the numbers released earlier this month, the message is clear: Not only has the cheese moved again, the entire creamery has up and relocated. It won’t be coming back. And no manner of hemming and hawing is going to change that fact.



For more business coverage, follow Mashable Business on Twitter (Twitter

) or become a fan on Facebook


More Facebook resources from Mashable:

- How Facebook Can Become a Money Making Machine
4 Easy Ways to Engage Your Facebook Fans
5 Fantastic Facebook Fan Page Ideas to Learn From
HOW TO: Build a Facebook Landing Page for Your Business
10 Musts for Marketing to Women on Facebook

Facebook is where your clients and competition is. Is your uniqueness represented there? Investing in advertising here requires that you have a professional place for them to visit to determine if they’ll be interested in connecting with you. How much of your social marketing plan involves Facebook?

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Should my blog be on a subfolder or a subdomain? | Don Crowther

Where should your blog be located?

Posted by Don on March 23, 2010 · Leave a Comment 

It’s one of life’s greatest mysteries (well almost) “where should I put my blog?”

Basically, there are three options (this assumes your blog is supporting your site, not a stand-alone blog, like this one:)

where should blogs be placed

  1. In a subfolder (www.yoursite.com/blog)
  2. As a subdomain (blog.yoursite.com)
  3. On a separate site (www.somewhereelse.com)

While there are advantages and disadvantages to each, and the advantages of one are usually the disadvantages of the others, one of them clearly wins – the subfolder.

Let’s discuss each so you understand the rationale:

1. In a subfolder (www.yoursite.com/blog)
Advantages:

  • Links to the blog “count” as links to your site. Since building links is a major task, why do it more than once?
  • Traffic to your blog “counts” towards your site for traffic measurement rankings (and advertising calculations)
  • It’s a logical place to put it, people who guess may just get it right
  • Domain names are easier to communicate (don’t have to explain the different addresses for your blog versus your site)

Disadvantages:

  • Harder to split off the blog if traffic overwhelms the servers
  • Links from the blog to the site are counted as “internal” links by the server, making them less valuable than if they were “external” links if one of the other two options was selected

2. As a subdomain (blog.yoursite.com)
Advantages:

  • Links to your site from your blog are counted as external links by some search engines
  • Easier server management, as the blog can be isolated to its own server in high-traffic situations

Disadvantages:

  • Subdomains are counted as totally separate domains by most search engines, meaning that any links to your blog posts don’t count towards your site as a whole, hurting your overall search engine rankings
  • People naturally (stupidly) want to put www. in front of everything. Unless your server experts perform voodoo, www.blog.yoursite.com won’t generally work

3. On a separate site (www.somewhereelse.com)
Advantages:

  • Links to your site from your blog are counted as external links by some search engines
  • Easier server management, as the blog can be isolated to its own server in high-traffic situations
  • Opinions on the separate site can be more easily isolated from your main site, giving more freedom of discussing more topics (industry trends, etc.)

Disadvantages

  • Links to your blog don’t count towards your site total
  • Customer confusion – where is your blog and why does it have a separate URL?

Given the advantages and disadvantages cited above, why do I say that subfolders are the obvious winner? Simple, links.

Probably the hardest part of building online traffic is building incoming links. They’re vital for search engine rankings, and unless you plan to buy traffic to your site forever, you need to maximize every opportunity to gain incoming links.

Purposely creating a situation where the value of your links is reduced is illogical at best, stupid at worst.

Which reminds me of the chant that I hear my friend Ed Dale repeating over and over “Get more links”

Not a bad mantra, try meditating to that sometime!

The next time you hear someone ask where should we put our blog, tell them the answer’s simple – chant “get more links,” then put it on a subfolder!

Agree, disagree? Make your argument by commenting below.

Related posts:

  1. How engaging is your blog? – 11 engagement metrics you need to track

Filed under Blogging, Social Media How-To, Social Media Strategy · Tagged with

About Don
Don Crowther is a leading social media marketing and online marketing expert. He helps companies ranging from Fortune-500-level giants to entrepreneurs make more money online using proven social media and search marketing techniques.

Exactly! That’s all I have to say. SEO strength is the determining factor for where I advise clients to put their blogs! Additionally it makes more sense for consumers. Great website providers allow for this functionality within their web hosting.

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5 Emerging Social Media Sites to Watch in 2010 | Social Media Examiner

5 Emerging Social Media Sites to Watch in 2010

By Peter Wylie
Published March 9, 2010

Just as marketers are getting a handle on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, a fresh group of social media networks are poised to make a splash in 2010.

These networks have not reached mass adoption yet, so it’s not necessary to get active on all of them immediately.  But remember, Facebook only took 6 years to reach 400 million registered users.  You should keep an eye on these five upstarts to see if their innovative services attract large audiences in the near future.

Why You Should Pay Attention

Learning the ropes on new services before they gain mass traction can help you get value from them faster once they catch on.  Monitoring the innovations in the social media space also gives you an indication of how the market is changing and will evolve over the next few years. Marketers should stay abreast of broader market trends to assure their messages stay relevant.

The 5 Social Media Sites You Should Explore

#1: Foursquare This location-based social network/gaming application is rapidly gaining users and mindshare.  Users “check in” at local businesses and earn rewards for frequently visiting participating establishments.

The site receives more than 1 million check-ins per weekBusiness owners can get value out of Foursquare by offering incentives for users to check in, such as special offers for repeat visitors.

The site lists more than 800 establishments currently offering deals.  Those deals could include a free drink or appetizer for the Foursquare user who checks in the most (called the Mayor).

Currently available in 45 US cities and many major international cities, Foursquare has plans to expand further and grow its user base over the next year.  It has also signed major partnerships with TV network Bravo and restaurant guide Zagat that will expand its functionality and usage.

Foursquare

Google Buzz

#2: Google Buzz – Google’s latest entry into social networking has the potential to attract rapid adoption, due to its connection with the widely used Gmail and Google Maps applications.

Buzz allows users to post status updates and upload pictures and videos to a Google profile, not unlike Facebook and Twitter.  A user’s network is formed by contacts they interact with frequently on Gmail.

If a user makes an update public, the information also gets added to the “Buzz” layer now available on Google mobile maps.  Now, Google Maps users on iPhones and Android devices can view the things other Buzz users have said about businesses in the area.

Loopt

#3: Loopt – Another location-based social service, Loopt aims to connect its users with their friends by visually displaying their location and availability on a localized map.

Users can connect with friends in the area, see reviews and recommendations of restaurants, and find events in the area that might be of interest.  Businesses have tapped into Loopt’s location data to offer targeted promotions.  The B.R. Guest restaurant chain in New York sent messages containing special discounts to Loopt users near their restaurants.

Loopt is accessible on more than 100 mobile phones, giving it the widest distribution of any of the location-based services.  It is currently used by about 3 million people, which should increase as Loopt expands to more cities.  Marketers should explore the possibilities of interacting and promoting their businesses through Loopt, as well as monitoring posts to judge the sentiment of user reviews.

#4: BlippyBlippy aims to connect people around the purchases they make.  Easily the most controversial of the applications profiled here, Blippy publishes the amount and location of customer purchases (with user permission, of course), which the rest of the community can then react to.

While the concept may not seem attractive on its face, the site has already signed partnerships with a dozen major vendors and is funded by many marquee investors.   If the service begins to attract a large user base, this community could be very valuable to retailers looking at general purchasing trends.

Blippy

#5: Groupon – This site offers “collective buying power” by providing deals to groups of people who buy products and services in bulk from participating retailers.  The site uses social networking to get users to share offers with their communities, in order to reach the target number of customers the “Groupon” requires to activate.

Businesses could gain exposure and new customers by making offers on the site—if Groupon develops a large following. For instance, a colleague recently bought a golf lesson package from a local pro shop for 60% off, because he joined a group of 29 others in the “groupon.”  While the revenue from the purchase is helpful, exposing a large group of customers to your product is even more valuable.

Groupon

This is by no means an inclusive list, only 5 exceptional companies striving to change the social media landscape with fresh ideas.

Which up-and-coming social application are you most excited about? Who did we leave off the list that should have been included? Please leave a comment below…

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This article is talking a ot about location based applications as well as shopping online. What do you think about sharing your location and purchasing information via social media sites?

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Facebook Unseats Google As Most-Visited Site | WebProNews

“Although the “thud” wasn’t verified until this afternoon, it seems that an online giant fell a couple of days ago. According to new data from Hitwise, Facebook managed to beat Google in terms of visits between March 7th and March 13th, becoming the most visited website in the U.S. for the week.”

Meeting your customers where they are means – Facebook! How are you operating on Facebook? Do you have a social marketing plan that includes a business page on Facebook? Facebook is the new downtown, it is the new Big Shopping Plaza, it is where people connect, play and do business.

How do you interact on Facebook? There is instant messaging, direct messaging and of course wall-to-wall. Each has it’s purpose, each appealing to different users.

As I teach others the difference between Profiles, Groups and Fan Pages I am loving the innovative approach people are bringing to community building. Are you enjoying Facebook?

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Social Media Today | Optimizing Brands for Social Search

Where are you building your brand? SMO – Search Media Optimization is the new SEO as it is evidenced in this great articel by Social Media Today. The consumers are more comfortable with online communities and sharing continues to grow. Will you be listening to your customers or will your competitors?

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2010 January « Customer Experience Matters

In a new report called Rating Customer Service Experiences, 2010, I analyzed how 4,600+ US consumers rated their customer service experiences with 92 large companies across 14 industries. Led by Barnes & Noble, Kohl’s, and Marriott, 24 companies received a Net Satisfaction Score* of 80% or higher.

Great article with a glimpse of the companies that are investing in customer service. Retaining customers is so much more cost effective than constantly having to find new ones. Build those relationships and retain them as these firms are doing.

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Seth’s Blog: Losing Andrew Carnegie

Losing Andrew Carnegie

Carnegie apparently said, “Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors……Take away my factories, but leave my people and soon we will have a new and better factory.”

Is there a typical large corporation working today that still believes this?

Most organizations now have it backwards. The factory, the infrastructure, the systems, the patents, the process, the manual… that’s king. In fact, shareholders demand it.

It turns out that success is coming from the atypical organizations, the ones that can get back to embracing irreplaceable people, the linchpins, the ones that make a difference. Anything else can be replicated cheaper by someone else.

Posted by Seth Godin on March 07, 2010 | Permalink

This summarizes my opinion on business. You will never make more money than when you put helping others first. Your employees are your most valuable resource. Companies that provide their staff with an arena of all ideas are considered will be surprised to see how much wisdom and innovation that can occur.

Are you stifling your best resources efforts?

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