Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Enhance Your Website with Widgets - Tuesday Tip

Widgets are a great way to enhance your existing website. With widgets you can show off upcoming events and coupon promotions in a variety of ways and in different places. They help you accomplish several things:

  • Keep your website updated with fresh content
  • Communicate to people know what you have going on
  • Drive traffic with Events and Promotions

What are the Widgets?

Widgets are basically visual blocks of data which are interactive in some way. With Squareberry, the widgets are designed to show off upcoming Events and Promotions that you have scheduled.

There are several types of widgets in Squareberry...

The List Widget is commonly used on Home Page and sidebars on websites. It offers a simple vertical list of upcoming events and you have the ability to control the number of upcoming events it shows.

Calendar Widgets

The Day Widget shows simple day cells (like you would see on a full month calendar) but only shows the number of days you want shown.

The Landscape Slider Widget delivers scrolling panels of upcoming events and promotions. Viewers can scroll through or click to see the full details. The Landscape Slider can scroll vertically or horizontally. It is great for enhancing a home page or even the footer of a website.

The Portrait Slider Widget is the newest widget in Squareberry and offers a strong visual presentation. Its behavior is similar to the Landscape Slider, but the information is presented in a taller more visually striking manner. The Portrait Slider could greatly enhance a website home page or be used on internal pages.

With both slider widgets, the panels are automatically generated. If your event/promo has an image in it, the image is seen. If it does not have an image, a small map for the location is seen. If it does not have a location, then only the text content is shown.

All of these widgets can add visual appeal to your website. They also help to keep people updated and drive real world traffic. It is important to communicate the events and promotions you have going on. All of the widgets automatically update based on your schedule in Squareberry, so there is no need to keep updating them on your website at all.

Original post: http://squareberry.com/news/enhance-your-website-with-widgets/

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday Tip - Spread Your Schedule Out to Draw in Customers

Using the Social Media Planner

The Social Media Planner allows you to schedule your events, messages and promotions far in advance. You can plan, repeat, edit and optimize to lay out an ideal social communications plan. With the Planner, you can build the perfect communications plan to drive more real world traffic.

Spread Your Events and Promotions Out

Normally, you don't want to have your events and promotions pressed into a tight schedule. Spreading things out can help in a variety of ways:

  • You are covering more ground offering things for people to participate in at a variety of times.
  • You are more likely to get repeat customers. People don't usually want to go to the same place they went last night, but a week from now they will be more interested in returning.
  • It gives you more opportunity to get first time visitors. A first time vistor/customer is not in tune with your schedules and will be happy to find something going on when they are able to stop by.
Social Communications Planner

Promote Future Happenings During Current Happenings

A great idea is to promote future happenings during your current happenings. If you have a special event going on with a good crowd, use it as an opportunity to highlight upcoming promotions and events you will be holding. Never assume that everyone already knows about all the happenings you have going on.

Original post: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-spread-schedule-for-drawing-customers/

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Tip - Social Calendars Show What You are Into

Many organizations profile and display their employees at their location, on their website or even in marketing materials. Most of the time, this is done to show the human side of the organization and give the customer/viewer someone to connect with. Having real people's pictures and info let first timers know that there is actually someone there.

A Social Calendar can do the same thing! It is a great way to show off what the people in your organization are into and what they have going on.

Your Social Calendar

A social calendar is a great way to show off community events, staff birthdays, important dates and organizational happenings. Your social calendar could feature birthdays of all your staff members, your weekly staff meeting, a mysterious date a few weeks away when you have a big announcement planned or even Organization parties. Displaying a social calendar like this can breathe life into your organization the same way a "Meet Our Staff" page does.

Snagged Categories Show What You Are Into

Another great way to let people get to know your organization a little more is by Snagging categories and events from other organizations, teams, and fun calendars. This is a great way to show off interests and activities your staff is into.

Your social calendar could contain holidays, local sports teams schedules, birthdays of famous and inspirational people or even anniversaries of important date sin history. Your social calendar can be as personal as you like.

Can't find a category you want to Snag? Make it yourself! You could become the source for everyone else to Snag from!

Check out the Squareberry Team's social calendar here: http://squareberry.com/about-squareberry/squareberrys-social-calendar/

Original post: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-social-calendars-show-what-you-are-into/

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday Tip - Ask Questions + Get Feedback

Questions Get You Feedback...

...and feedback is good!

Social Media and other aspects of the web have given organizations a great opportunity for getting feedback, responses and more information from their customers than ever before. Organizations should take advantage of this to gain insight and optimize the way they do business, plan events, communicate and more.

Why is feedback so great? Well, it helps you modify and perfect the way you are doing things. It is important to constantly adjust your methods to fine tune them and create the ideal experience for your customers/visitors/etc. Questions can also help promote further conversation and discussion.

Ask Questions on Social Media

Social Media is the perfect outlet for getting feedback. You could post a simple question on Twitter or LinkedIn, or use the Question feature on Facebook. Your question is seen by the people following you, who can respond instantly. Before social media, gaining feedback so instantaneously was uncommon.

Ask Questions on Social Media

Respond to Comments/Mentions with Questions

You can instigate further conversation by asking questions to people who have already commented or mentioned you on social media. For instance, someone may mention you on Twitter, saying that they are at your restaurant. Responding with a question like "Have you tried the Salmon?" does two things: it recommends something to your guest and it carries the conversation on, encouraging them to respond further and keep the conversation going.

Squareberry Tally Feature

Squareberry allows you to place a single question on every event you make. Each question comes with 3 buttons allowing viewers to answer "Yes", "No" or "Maybe". This feature allows you to get quick feedback from your viewers while adding an interactive element to your event page.

Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-ask-questions-get-feedback/

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Facebook and FTC Reach Privacy Settlement

Some of us can now stop complaining about Facebook's privacy issues.

It didn't took Mark Zuckerberg to arrange a settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission too long compared to the recent NBA lockout talks. Facebook was being accused by the FTC in an eight-count complaint where Facebook has misled users regarding the security of their personal information. The social network enabled sensitive user information to be used by advertisers and software developers in order to track potential customers. However, Facebook fell short in asking permission about sharing user details without legal consent.

Mark Zuckerberg and his social network have defied odds after he created "The Facebook" in 2004 in his dorm room like issues with the Winklevoss twins and Eduardo Saverin. But the recent FTC charges humbled Zuckerberg and posted a blog post admitting that Facebook made a bunch of mistakes. "Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information. That said, I’m the first to admit that we’ve made a bunch of mistakes. In particular, I think that a small number of high profile mistakes, like Beacon four years ago and poor execution as we transitioned our privacy model two years ago, have often overshadowed much of the good work we’ve done." Zuckerberg said.

In order to settle privacy complaints, Facebook has agreed to submit annual goverment audits of privacy practices for the next 20 years. Facebook now suggests a process called "opting in" before making changes to their privacy controls and sharing their information. Facebook will be fined $16,000 for every violation per FTC order. Jon Leibowitz, Chairman of the FTC, thinks Facebook is making a good move in making a commitment to privacy without compromising valuable user information. “Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users,” Leibowitz said. “Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not.”

The Facebook-FTC settlement also marks a new phase. It enables social networks to establish more firm ground rules about privacy issues in order to justify using private user info to monetize its free service through advertising. This isn't new for social media enthusiasts because it's apparent that a free service like Facebook or Twitter needs to monetize their service by selling user information to sell to third parties. We all know that social media usage has increased every year which has urged brands and marketers to leverage valuable and private consumer information from social media networks for their campaigns.
Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/facebook-and-ftc-reaches-settlement-regarding-privacy-complaints/

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Use Media from Past Events to Promote Future Events - Tuesday Tip

It is important to document your happenings in some way. Whether you are recording with an HD video camera or just snapping some photos with a digital camera, photos and videos from your past events and promotions can help draw people in for future happenings.

Promote New Events with Old Events

What does that mean? Well, chances are you have had your "Family Night" or "1/2 Price Wings" in the past. If you have taken pictures or even recorded any videos you can use that media to promote the event the next time you have it. For instance, the video you shot during 1/2 Price Wings night of everyone watching the game and easting and drinking is perfect for showing off what it is like at your event.

Media Sharing

The next time you hold the same event, you can embed that video in the event you create and anyone who views the event can get a quick glimpse of exactly what it will be like. Seeing other people there, participating at your event will create excitement and help draw first time visitors in.

Use Media Sharing Sites

Taking advantage of sites like Flickr, YouTube and Vimeo can help you in a variety of ways. First, they give you a reliable, easy and flexible place to store your media. Plus, most media sharing sites are free. With your videos on YouTube, you can easily embed them anywhere you want, add more videos and create a strong presence on the world's leading video sharing site.

The media sharing sites can also help you with your search engine optimization. Having a video on YouTube called "Atlanta's Best Wings" can help drive your organization up ranking on that keyword.

Easily Share and Promote

YouTube videos are shared, sent and viewed by people all over the world. Having a stronger rich media presence on the web can help spread your organization. Additionally, it gives you more interactive and rich elements to use when promoting your happenings. Your YouTube video from the last time you held your event can easily be embedded onto any event in Squareberry, giving your events rich content to drive viewers into your real world location.

Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/use-media-from-past-events-to-promote-future-events-tuesday-tip/

Sunday, November 27, 2011

5 Ways to Enhance Online PR (Aside from Boasting a High Klout Score)

More businesses are realizing that leveraging social media strategies is essential to increase PR, why? Because the level of social behavior of consumers tend to evolve. It's obvious that social networks and platforms are increasing in use and of great importance as well. So for businesses to entice and capture their target niche, they need to put a premium on online PR rather than spending too much on traditional media. After all, Facebook has become a destination-location for both merchants and consumers. The social network has turned into a marketplace of sorts. And for every social network, influence means power.

But if you are a B2C business, is your Klout score enough to present yourself as "influential"?

Someone can be influential online but not offline. Klout is simply a measure of social media influence, but seriously, is it a true measure of influence? For instance, a CEO of a company has a low Klout score because he's busy in the real world sealing deals, the guy doesn't have time to engage with users on Twitter or Facebook. Does this mean he's not influential in his industry? A fine example of this is Michael Dell Klout score of 64 against Justin Bieber's 100.

So how can businesses increase PR without even boasting their Klout score or even registering on Klout?

Here are some simple ways on how businesses can enhance online PR:

Capitalize on Original Content

Nothing beats original content nowadays. While content curation is practical and easy for busy entrepreneurs, Google Panda is always updating which means curating content is either a good thing or a bad thing: the good - you build PR through backlinking, the bad - you risk yourself of being considered a content spammer. Always keep in mind that the more original recipe you use in your content, the more chances it could be shared. Original content is more appreciated by the social web through shares and retweets.

Be Geographically Competitive

Get online to get offline! It's easier to manage a social media outreach campaign for small and medium enterprises. It all starts by making local listings because Google now puts a premium on local search. Local markers pointing to your Facebook page, Twitter account, and Google+ page doesn't only increase your SEO, but makes it easy for a customer to know the location of your physical store. Always remember that you don't exist if you're not on the map! Be sure to have a detailed snippet of your business in every map listing like in Google Places. Increased local SEO means a boost for your online PR.

Ratings and Reviews Rule

Think buying fans is a good idea to increase PR? Think again. It's better to pitch bloggers a PR to write a review for the product or service your business offer. But you can also put up a listing on Google Places or Bing Local so you can begin to build reviews from satisfied patrons on these pages. Start the ball rolling by asking loyal customers to give you a review, and before you know it a snowball of a review will turn into an avalanche of reviews. Reviews and ratings increase online PR while catapulting your site to the top of local SERPs. You're hitiing two birds with one stone using such.

Organize Communities Using Social Media Dashboards

Organizing your communities on your Facebook page, Twitter, and LinkedIn is important especially when you feed them the most relevant and latest content. Social dashboards such as Hootsuite and Squareberry have proven their worth by minimizing the clutter in your weekly social media campaign.

A more organized weekly itinerary enables your social media team to carefully track which content is most shared, the best time to post a blog entry, and the time engagement is high or low. Sorting out your content is important as well, always ascertain which content is appropriate to feed your Facebook fans and the ones to be shared on LinkedIn.

Make Social Media Integration Work for Your Business

It's obvious that social networks want each other's piece of pie to grow their own userbase. But for businesses, it's an opportunity to come up with a polished social media integration plan. A business can make social media integration work to their advantage, the first step is placing your other social media URLs on your Facebook page which you could also apply to your Twitter account, LinkedIn page, and Google+ page.

Not enough users circling back on your G+ page? Why not tweet your followers to circle you on Google+, or better yet, ask your Facebook fans to check out your Google+ page. Besides, your users should have Gmail accounts that makes it easier for them to be acquainted with Google+ features.
Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/5-way-to-enhance-online-pr-aside-from-boasting-a-high-klout-score/

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Google+ Officially Now on Klout

Does Google+'s inclusion in Klout's ranking system increases the value of Google's social network?

Klout allowed users to add their Google+ account to their dashboard a couple of weeks ago after Google's social network released the Google+ API. Yesterday, Klout announced that Google+ is now officially part of its social influence measurement system with its Google+ scoring model.

Users who are active Google+ users will saw their Klout scores increase. Klout says its basis for measuring influence on Google+ is the rate of engagement public posts receive. Users who aren't on Google+ or simply don't want to include their G+ accounts to their Klout dashboard won't be penalized, but it wouldn't hurt to improve your Klout score by establishing a presence on Google+ and to increase visibility in social search as well.

According to Klout's blog, they are measuring influence of Google+ users who connected their accounts to Klout. Klout also says that 62% of users are active and their engagement levels on G+ will be the basis of their scores. Arguably, the king of Google+ is MySpace founder Tom Anderson who saw his Klout score increase from 64 to 77. But what's interesting is that ordinary users like nature photographer Tamara Pruessner is gaining some social media mileage that saw her score catapult from 11 to 67.

This only shows that users with low scores saw an increase by being active in Google's social network, but Google+ skeptics will dismiss that G+ being part of Klout computation is not necessary yet due to the fact that it only has 40 million users in tow. Here's a summary of Klout's announcement:

  • Active Google+ users on Klout will see an average Score increase of 2.177.

  • Active Google+ users tend to also be active on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Google+ allows for close interactions like Facebook, while retaining the ability to share widely like Twitter.

  • Users who see a big jump in score from Google+ generate a lot of discussion and engagement with focused, high-quality content.

  • My Take

    Whether it’s Facebook or Google+ that your including in your Klout dashboard, a Klout score is a mere number to a customer. What I’ve noticed about the whole Klout issue that’s been trending for weeks now is that Klout has made social engagement a popularity contest and an ego-booster for some Internet marketers and social media strategists. It doesn’t matter if you keep or delete that Klout account of yours, an ordinary Internet user will not bother to research what Klout is. The real clout score can only be achieved on how a business can successfully integrate relevant social media platforms and make it work in synergy to generate leads. And now, with Google+ joining the Klout mix, will we finally see the value that Google+ can give to businesses?
    Original source: http://squareberry.com/news/google-officially-now-on-klout/

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Run 'Daily Deals'

    "Daily Deals" are the hottest thing since... well since the last hottest thing.

    They are everywhere. From the industry leaders like Groupon and Living Social to retailers and travel sites. Special deals with huge money saving opportunities are very popular. Local businesses need to take advantage of this trend an capitalize on consumer demand for these kinds of deals.

    Run Special Daily Coupon Promotions

    Running your own daily deals is easy! With social media, local businesses have the power to instantly and effectively reach numerous people. Your followers will also spread your deals across social networks, via email and more. Your Daily Deal can spread around your local area quickly and help drive people into your real world location.

    Of course, you do not have to run one every day. It all depends on your business and market. For instance if you are a restaurant, you may want to run Daily Deals Monday - Thursday to help drive more traffic on those non-weekend days. You could run a coupon promotion that says: 50% Off One Hamburger - Today Only.

    A coupon with "Today Only" and a large percentage off is eye catching. It gives a sense of real savings and it has a sense of urgency. These kind of coupon promotions can help drive real world traffic.

    Mobile and Social Media Coupons

    Beyond social media, it is important to be communicating to mobile devices. Your daily deal promotions should be optimized for mobile devices and reach people no matter where they are. Mobile users are often already out-of-home and looking for places to go.

    Squareberry's coupon promotions feature makes this easy. You can schedule promotions far in advance and watch as automated reminders about these promotions are sent across social media, email, SMS and more. Your daily promotions are also displayed on interactive website widgets and calendars. Learn more about coupon promotions here >

    Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-run-daily-deals/

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Exposed: How Facebook Tracks Users

    We all know what Facebook's biggest asset is: user data. And now, it has been divulged how it uses personal information.

    Facebook officials have now revealed how the social network utilizes user information. Byron Acohido of USA Today wrote a piece on how Facebook uses user data such as browsing behavior and online search habits. Areas like sexual orientations, political views, and religion are some issues about users that can be utilized to turn them into potential customers. Ad targeting platforms, business propositions, and user information all generate a synergy of opportunity for Facebook.

    Some of the social network's officials engineering manager Gregg Stefancik, spokesman Andrew Noyes, and corporate spokesman Barry Schnitt were interviewed by Byron Acohido. They told USA Today that Facebook uses accumulated data through cookies which happen to improve plugins and security. They also acknowledged that they were able to produce a running log of web pages of its userbase every 90 days.

    According to Facebook’s engineering director Arturo Bejar, "The company relies on tracking cookie technologies similar to the controversial systems used by Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo and others in the online advertising industry." This means that user data is vital to sustain online commerce, and online tracking enhances online commerce in a significant way. Check out this infographic about Facebook's cookie tracking technique.

    Do you still feel secure about the information you share on Facebook? Is this the payoff of using a social network for free?

    Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/exposed-how-facebook-tracks-users/

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Of Kutchers and Klouts

    On March 21, 2006, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) sent the first tweet to invite others onto the service.

    On November 10, 2011, Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) wrote a controversial tweet that might have shut down the concept of personal branding.

    Kutcher saw a headline about Penn State football coach Joe Paterno getting the boot and tweeted about the controversial issue and defended Paterno, saying "How do you fire Jo Pa? #insult #noclass as a hawkeye fan I find it in poor taste." Thing is, Kutcher didn't seem to read all the details because one of Paterno's assistants had 40 counts of sexual abuse of children and didn't report it to authorities.

    Suddenly...Flash Mobs!

    He deleted the tweet after 30 minutes and said, ": “As an advocate in the fight against child sexual exploitation, I could not be more remorseful for all involved in the Penn St. case.”

    Bad move, Ashton. Haven't you heard of people taking screenshots?

    After that came a barrage of tweets calling the King of Twitterland an idiot amongst other insults (which are not related to his lousy acting). As with any other influencer on a social network, Kutcher's Twitter reach of 8 million will react to any tweet he releases. Flash mobs will surface and douse you with negative feedback if you made a tiny mistake about a tweet, especially when you're a celebrity. Worse, those 8 million users might have retweeted Kutcher's tweet to make a snowball into an avalanche.

    Kutcherfication: Ashton Turns Over His Twitter Account

    Kutcher turned over his Twitter account to his team at Katalyst Media. He says they can properly manage his Twitter account's content. On his blog he said:

    "A collection of over 8 million followers is not to be taken for granted. I feel responsible for delivering an informed opinion and not spreading gossip or rumors through my twitter feed. While I feel that running this feed myself gives me a closer relationship to my friends and fans I've come to realize that it has grown into more that a fun tool to communicate with people. While I will continue to express myself through @Aplusk I'm going to turn the management of the feed over to my team at Katalyst Media to ensure the quality of it's content."

    Clearly, Mr. Kutcher is chickening out and running away from his responsibility to his 8 million followers. It's a quick escape from a lemon-y mistake that he could've been turned into lemonade. After all, Kutcher's clout made some players in the Valley notice and took time to discuss business with him.

    But now, he's turning away from the very people who made him king of the world's best micro-blogging service. He's turning away from the simple yet challenging responsibility of being a purveyor of substantial and genuine information. All of this because people are bashing him for his misinformed tweet. FYI, Kutcher is actually a mover of social good like #Malaria and movements to stop child trafficking.

    Why your Klout Score Can't Save you from Lemons

    Ok. We all know it's the not first time that Ashton Kutcher made social boo-boo using his Twitter account. While Kutcher has a "social responsibility" to his millions of followers, he's not a PR expert or anything for that matter. But Ashton Kutcher is a brand himself, and should be aware of that but he sees his Twitter as more of a communication tool than a podium for both substantial opinions or insipid tweets. It only shows a person's Klout is not commensurate to a brand or celebrity's ability to make lemonade out of lemons.

    Personal branding junkies such as social media experts and digital marketers should learn from Dell Hell that lead Dell to put a premium on social monitoring. Personal branding through meticulous content management and apt user engagement makes a difference in your online PR. Always keep in mind that a mere Klout score of 90 is not enough to make your online PR always shimmering or squeaky-clean to your target niche. Come to think of it, Kutcher could have just apologized for the mess instead of instantly deleting his controversial tweet.

    What do you think? Was it a good move for Ashton Kutcher to turn over his Twitter account to his Katalyst team for better Twitter management? Does your company have strategies for reputation management?

    Original source: http://squareberry.com/news/of-kutchers-and-klouts/

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Events + Promos that Encourage Bringing More People

    Events and Promotions can drive more people into your real world location. It is important, even in the digital world, to show that you have fun and interesting things happening in the REAL WORLD. After all, your end goal is to get people to come to your organization's real world location. You need to find ways to drive real world traffic through your marketing communications.

    A great way to do this is by creating events and promotions that call for groups to stop by or encourage individuals to bring friends with them.

    Real World Events and Promotions

    Events are great. Events with a lot of attendees are better! You want your events to draw as many people as possible. A great way to maximize this is by encouraging people to come in groups. For instance, if you are hosting a "Trivia Night" you may want to tell people ahead of time to form teams or encourage their friends to come and cheer them on. Instead of one or two people coming that night, you may get a group of 5 or 6.

    Mobile Coupons

    With coupon promotions, it is great to run specials that require more than one customer. For instance: "Buy One, Get One 40% Off". Now your coupon is driving in a pair, not just an individual. But, there is no reason to stop with pairs. You can publish coupon promotions like: "30% Drinks for Parties of 5 or More".

    Mobile Marketing

    Mobile Marketing is essential to driving in groups. During social nights, friends are out looking for places to go and things to do. In many cases, where they end up is not determined until right before.

    Mobile devices allow followers to see you on social media, email, SMS and more. Your events and promotions need to be communicated on mobile devices. Mobile coupons are a great way to drive people straight to your location with the intent of spending money. Events show there is something to do at your organization's location. Followers easily share your happenings with friends and family as they plan where and when they are going next.

    Communicating your events and promotions on mobile devices is essential to driving groups into your location.

    Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-events-promos-that-encourage-bringing-more-people/

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Google+ Didn't Forget About Twitter

    Google+ Pages for businesses were unveiled early this week and all the talk was about how the search giant's social network will fare against Facebook fan pages. A number of global brands and local businesses already have their Google+ Pages up. The most notable features to Google+ Pages for businesses is the Direct Connect function that enables businesses to be easily found using a [+] upon typing a brand's name. Social media pundits simply dismissed that Google+ Pages aren't replacing Facebook fan pages yet. Yes, 800 million users vs. 40 million users can really spark a heated debate regarding the value a social network gives to businesses.

    So is Google just launching a social network for the sake of having one? A lot of talk about Google+ vs. Facebook really suggests that the latter is a direct competitor to Google's social network. But wait, Google+ didn't forget about Twitter as well. We all know that content fuels the Web and without user-generated content social networks will be a desolate place. Google being the content connoisseur that it is, will also try to grab some of Twitter's userbase comprised of brands and journalists.

    Can Google+ be an Effective CRM Tool?

    While Twitter has been a great CRM tool for businesses. The growth of the micro-blogging giant is either a good thing or a bad thing: millions of users equals a slow system. And oh, Twitter Fail Whale! Don't get me wrong, Twitter is an excellent tool for monitoring and user engagement which is why Dell's customer service is a success. Michael Dell actually thinks that the Hangouts feature is a great CRM tool!

    Twitter might be a decent monitoring tool for customer complaints and suggestions, but seriously, 140 characters aren't enough to attend to a customer's complaint. This is where Google Apps come into play which can help businesses directly address an issue when someone complains about them on Google+. Customers always want a good conversation. It makes the CRM approach more personal yet professional. But in order to realize this, Google+ should consider opening their API for third-party apps.

    Google+ for Enhanced Advertising?

    Social platforms need to monetize their services through paid social ads. Social networks are free and they materialize from their biggest asset - user information. Twitter just launched Promoted Tweets a few weeks ago which inserts ads to the tweets of influencers and celebrities. I wrote in a previous post that trends are more influential than social ads. because trends are more viral. Would you rather advertise your brand or have people talk about it?

    While Twitter wants to make money out of its service, Google wants its users to make money for themselves. As businesses embrace a more social approach to increase brand awareness and increase ROI, so aside from Google+ Pages for businesses, Google launched "Why These Ads" to improve a local business' visibility in the SERPs. if you’ re having a vacation in Italy and then you searching for pizza, don’t expect Papa John’s or Pizza Hut to appear on the results. The best pizza resto within the area will be likely to appear.

    Photo via Google

    Coupled with enhanced regionalized ad targeting, Google+ Pages for businesses will not only increase SEO for local businesses but improve user engagement as well. A business' Google+ Page can be link to their website URLs and AdWords account. When those URLs receive +1s, it will accrue to the business which will increase the numbers.

    A Big Boost for News Publishers

    There's a reason why Google launched hashtag support and real-time analytics. The search giant also released the Stand-Out tag for news organizations and blogs to highlight their best feature stories. Google wants Google+ Pages to be integrated with websites. This will make content more relevant and fresh especially for news publishers and journalists.

    Twitter only shows the last 5 days of tweets and won't pinpoint where the article originated. Google+ makes convenient for news organization to spread a news feature using "What's Hot" feature. Aside from that, the Ripple feature enables users to view where a content originated from and how it has been shared. It can be a great addition to Google Real-Time Analytics in order to measure a particular content's virality. Google knows the value of making the latest content available to everyone and organizing content is what Google does best.

    What's in Store For The Ordinary User?

    People join social networks because they want to share content. Businesses establish their presence on a social network to feed content and merit user-generated content. Both merchants and customers will benefit from what Google+ can offer in terms of content-sharing. For instance, that bakeshop downtown shares a photo of a freshly-baked apple pie, I bet followers of their Google+ Page will +1 and share the pic to their network. A simple pic may not instantly drive flash mobs to the bakeshop to get a piece of that pie but the bakeshop makes people aware about their pastries. Google+ improves businesses' brand awareness and online presence.

    Speaking of pies, what does Google own? Gmail, Picasa, and YouTube. It's a cross-platform that businesses can leverage from. Google is a buffet where you can mix and match a service to improve your business. Twitter just sealed a deal with Mozilla that makes Twitter one of the default search options on the new Firefox 8 browser. Twitter is doing a Facebook here, remember when Facebook wanted users to have FB mail as their email? Twitter is not search engine and should stick with what it does best.

    For Google+, it has a long way to go before people realize the great function it offers. Some experts say that it doesn't have enough users to create value for brands and businesses. It doesn't have 800 million users like Facebook does nor it has a 300 million userbase like Twitter's, but Google is a search engine. And Facebook and Twitter are mere sites. The Web runs on content. Google+ ensures that social search will takes its place but it should continue to grow. With each new feature, Google+ hopes it will add more to its current 40 million userbase.

    Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/google-didnt-forget-about-twitter/

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    New Social Media Publishing Settings

    Squareberry is launching a new way to configure your social account publishing settings!

    Squareberry sends automated reminders about your upcoming events and promotions to social media channels. In the past, the settings for publishing these reminders were handles per social account. Now, Squareberry is offering greater flexibility and control. Publishing settings are now handled per category - with the ability to customize settings for each of your social accounts with every category.

    Social Media Publishing Settings

    Your category "Family Fun" could be set to publish on the Day Of for Facebook, and 2 days before and the Day Of on your Twitter account, while your "Live Music" category could publish 1 Day Before on Twitter and on the Day Of on Facebook. These social media publishing settings can easily be adjusted at any time.

    All existing accounts have been migrated to use these new publishing settings.

    This flexibility came straight from use feedback and requests. We appreciate all feedback and feature requests and encourage you to submit yours. Visit our Forum.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    Why Google+ Business Pages Could Overwhelm Facebook Fan Pages

    Google just launched Google+ for brands and businesses. The much-anticipated release of Google+ pages for brands has been discussed for months and how it might be better than Facebook fan pages for businesses, celebrities, and organizations. From your local laundry shop to that pizza restaurant downtown, Google+ Pages will help users connect by establishing a firm relationship between merchants and customers.

    Aside from enhancing local businesses, Google+ Pages will help people connect with their favorite sports teams, news organizations, and games like Angry Birds, Fox News, and Chicago Bulls. Google+ brand pages will carry a tiny square icon that suggests that it's a Page instead of an ordinary Google+ profile. Google+ Pages are now available worldwide to all international and local brands. But can Google+ Pages measure up against Facebook's Pages?

    I've compiled a list on how Google+ Brand Pages could trample Facebook Fan Pages:

    Search Engines Enhance Social Networks

    It's not everyday that a search engine builds a social network. Google+ Pages will have the edge in terms of SEO. As Google supercharges its ranking algorithm, expect Google+ Pages to be on the top of the SERPs. But Google is all about social business and not just social networking. If you want to bring relatives and friends together then you build a social network, BUT if you want to entice customers then you establish a social network backed up by the world's largest search engine!

    Enhanced Local SEO

    It's obvious that local businesses can leverage social media more than a multi-national brand does. And as Google makes its search algorithm more "regionalized", there's a great opportunity for local merchants to be noticed by customers. If you type "pizza" the best pizza restaurant located downtown will be on the top 5 results. Google+ Pages will enhance how local business owners do their SEO and it will be more convenient for them.

    Instantized Content

    People don't really backread their feeds on Facebook just to read news. They search for it! and having a newsfeed ticker on the side doesn't really quench their thirst for content. Users want instant content! Google+ Brand Pages are connected directly to the SERPs. The good thing about it is that Google just tweaked it's search algorithm to provide relevant and fresh results about trending news and recurring events. Aside from that Google+ makes use of hashtags already that whenever clicked it yields search results of the topic.

    Google Offers and Google Places

    Facebook Deals and Facebook Places are now irrelevant. Google Offers are gradually making it's way through local merchants in every key city in the country. With Google+ Pages, businesses can easily offer deals and discounts to loyal patrons and potential customers. Aside from that, customers can easily know where a store is located with the help of Google Places. I'm looking forward on how Google+ Brand Pages will be integrated with Google Wallet as well. It also helps that Android users are increasing and we all know that Google puts a premium on mobile usage.

    The Game Changer: Direct Connect

    We live in a world of instant connection. Some people use Google more than their toothbrush. Users are always researching for products, services, and brands. Google's Direct Connect feature will turn every query into meaningful relationships for customers and merchants. When searching for a brand, simply add a [+] to a brand or celebrity so Google can show a brand's Google+ Page. Google+ Pages for Businesses is significant for Google+. Google is the most-used search engine in the planet and owns majority of searches. Google+ is not only connecting a person to another, Google+ now shows the value of connecting customers and businesses.

    Tuesday Tip - Snag and Share

    Social Media is built for sharing. The networks connect people and places with ideas and happenings. Your organization needs and wants to be part of the conversation and sharing. In most cases, this means publishing original content about your organization. But, sharing ideas, events, and messages from relative and interesting sources is another great way to utilize Social Media. Remember, what is important is that people stay connected with you (for any reason).

    Social Media Sharing

    Sharing interesting information gives your followers stronger reasons to keep following you. You become more than just an organization or person, you become a source for useful and/or interesting information and ideas. Let's say you are a restaurant with a music theme. You could snag the category "Rock n Roll Star Birthdays" and show off the birthdays of legends of Rock N Roll. You can publish these as reminders on social media and more. You are now becoming a source for interesting music information that is appreciated by your followers.

    This kind of interesting and fun content can help your organization spread virally. People will turn around and Retweet and share your information to their friends and followers. It can help you gain more followers and reach more people. It also shws you have fresh content and gives your followers a bit of a change from your normal events, promotions and messages.

    Snag and Share


    Snagging is a Squareberry feature which allows you to grab categories of events and promotions to display, organize and publish in your account. You can grab a holiday calendar, your favorite football team's schedule or even a category showing off the national "Food Days". Snagging makes it easy to add a lot of content to your planner quickly and with little effort. In a matter of minutes you can build a full calendar of interesting events and dates.

    Original Source: http://squareberry.com/news/tuesday-tip-snag-and-share/

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    Google+ Launches Pages

    Go to Google and search "+Pepsi" - you will immediately be taken to Pepsi's page on Google+. This is an interetsing new feature which enhances Google Search, allowing people to easily jump to an official page on Google+.

    Google is now offering Google+ Pages to anything and any organization. They are designed to allow brands, products and local businesses to have a voice on Google+ and connect with their customers. Pages can even host Hangouts, allowing businesses to connect face to face with their customers. Google is sure to release more enhancements to their pages, including localization and more media/application options.

    Here is an article from AdAge about the new pages: http://adage.com/article/digital/google-open-business/230862/

    You can also see the official blog post from Google here: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/google-pages-connect-with-all-things.html

    The Squareberry Team is excited to integrate with more platforms and we feel Google+ is a great opportunity for Squareberry to take advantage of. Please stay tuned for updates on Squareberry integration with Google+, as well as other leading social media platforms.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Klout Standards: Do Customers Even Care?

    Klout has been the reigning industry standard in the ever-sporadic social media sphere for 3 years already. It has become a standard for measuring social influence and reach. And just like any social analytics platform, Klout has rolled out changes last month in order to determine new categories in measuring social media influence. For web-savvy netizens, a person's Klout score is a validation of how his social media accounts are reaching people and how they influence the users that they reach, but for customers who don't really care about how many followers they have on Twitter or fans on Facebook, your Klout grade is a mere number. Why? Because most people don't really have a firm idea about social influence measurement and scoring.

    Like any social media tool, Klout thinks their recent changes will improve the service amidst the violent uproar by users who saw their scores plummet. It's understood when people get upset whenever their numbers are reduced, but with Klout it's a bit irrational. Last week, people were dousing Klout with a gamut of complaints regarding their scores when in fact they don't really know what goes into their Klout score. How can you be seriously disappointed when your Klout score is reduced but you don't even know how your score is really computed? The same goes with how Google doesn't really divulge how it's algorithm works. That is why SEO specialists keep trying to nail the search giant's algorithm.

    Some of you might agree that a Klout score is simply feeding a person's ego online. A mere validation that you belong to the "who's who" in social media circles if your Klout score is high. No wonder Klout has been answering tons of queries and complaints regarding scores. So are the changes in Klout scoring crucial in reaching your target niche and turning users into potential customers?

    If you have great content on your Tumblr blog which are being reblogged by other Tumblr bloggers but you don't even share your posts on Twitter or Facebook, then you reach people through Tumblr alone even if you don't have enough retweets or shares. Should your Klout score be as high with those who tweet their blog post instead? Or for instance, you tweet your blog post which is retweeted by 10 followers that have at least 20 followers each. On the other hand, you share the blog post on Facebook as well and is shared by 5 of your friends that has at least 4k friends to share it with. Can you easily pinpoint which social account is better in terms reaching potential customers whenever you share your content? The idea here is that not every social media account is really significant to one's Klout score. If your reach isn’t as influential as your other social media account then a drop in your Klout score shouldn’t come as a surprise.

    Social influence measurement is a bit tricky, it's like acupuncture or astrology which doesn't have any firm scientific claims to prove it's validity and feasibility. You can't turn people into instant customers if they are clueless about something. And it doesn't really help educating people about something that keeps on changing. Even if it's the most widely-used social analytics tool in the planet today.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Scheduled "Real Time" Messages

    Social Media is all about NOW! People want to find out what is happening, what is being discussed and who is doing what. With more and more people using app friendly smart phones, the world has become even more instant.

    Scheduled Social Media Messages

    While you may be planning your social communications far in advance, it does not mean that things can not sound current and spontaneous. It's all about what you say and how you say it. For instance, a message sent by a restaurant may read: "Things are going great at our weekend brunch, you still have time to stop on in. Brunch is served for two more hours. Stop by!" This message could have been scheduled two months in advance to go out precisely at 11:00 AM on a Sunday morning.
    Scheduled Social Media Message
    Anyone seeing the message would think it was written that Sunday by someone at the restaurant, when in fact it was planned and scheduled far in advance. This message, of course, coincides with a real world happening that is taking place at the restaurant. Its wording is in real time and it has a call to action. People who see the message no exactly what is going on and what they can do.

    Social Media + Mobile

    These "real time" messages are perfect for social media audiences who are constantly looking to be updated with new and current information. In the world of smart phones, Facebook and Twitter mobile usage is huge. You can reach people who are already out of their homes looking for places to eat and shop or activities to participate in.
    "Real time" messages give the sense thats someone is there. There is activity and life at your location. People want to go places that are actively. Drive them in with your scheduled social media messages.
    With Squareberry, they may have seen an automated reminder about your event or promotion days before. They knew about it but for some reason had not gone. Your real time message can drive it home and drive them in to your location.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Essential Points in Improving Community Management

    As brands enter the world of social business, community management is becoming one of the most used buzzwords. Marketers now view the Internet as a market where they can increase brand awareness and promote products by leveraging social media networks. Facebook has become a destination-location for both merchants and consumers as well. In fact, some business owners think that Facebook pages are the new websites (SEO specialists will disagree!), but the way Facebook has paved the way for enhanced communication and portable medium for brand information made it more than a website. Facebook fan pages offer more than what a regular website can do to establish a business' online presence.

    A brand's Facebook page puts a premium on user engagement and community management. Both are essential aspects when it comes to marketing. Community management is one of the essentials in today’s public relations. It elegantly combines customer relations management and brand development in many ways. Veteran community managers know that every comment, suggestion, or rant of a customer is valuable and can help a brand improve in a significant way. Multi-national brands like Dell and Gatorade are two companies that augmented their social media outreach. Dell launched the IdeaStorm blog after the controversial Dell Hell, and then came up with its Social Media Listening Command Center to serve its billions of customers who talk about Dell online.

    Photo via Brian Solis

    Today, more organizations and local businesses are realizing the sheer importance of enhanced community management using their social media accounts. Obviously, Facebook consumes most of the time of users who go online. One of my colleagues at Squareberry even mentioned that for most people - Facebook is the Internet. I bet most of you will agree. Without a doubt, people are flocking the Web to log in on their Facebook accounts. And whenever a user logs in on his Facebook, it's always an opportunity for every brand to catch a potential customer's attention. Community managers are the bridge of between brands and customers. It's not enough that you use a monitoring tool like Radian6 or Squareberry. The community manager is the linchpin in improving Facebook Page Management.

    Here are some essential points in supercharging your social media account whether it's your Facebook page or Twitter account:

    Encourage Thought-Sharing

    Content has always been the fuel of the Internet. Without content, the Web will be a desolate place. As user-generated content or UGC becomes valuable to brands, community managers should entice fans and followers to increase brand mentions by sharing photos, videos, and most importantly, thoughts.

    Humanize your Page

    People always want something to discuss about. Feed them relevant content and they will easily respond with substantial feedbacks. The more they feel that a brand interacts with them, the more user engagement is increased.

    Think like a Publisher

    Feed your followers with "branded content", this will pave the way for their contacts to notice what they're Liking or Sharing. Thus, extending brand awareness outside of your followers' network. Branded content begets user-generated content as well!

    Offer your Fans "Control"

    Restrictions on Facebook pages is censoring user-generated content. You have to understand that your Facebook page is like a customer service center where every suggestion or rant should be attended to and approached in an objective manner.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Facebook Pages are the New Website

    Facebook Pages are the new website. As Facebook becomes an increasingly larger and more time-consuming internet experience, Facebook Pages will mor greatly become the central contact and information point for organizations.

    Custom Facebook Pages

    More and more organizations are seeing Facebook Pages as mini-websites complete with video, contact forms and more. Organizations know that Facebook is the largest portion of many internet users' time. To many, Facebook IS the internet. It is important to communicate your organization's purpose and brand as effectively as possible. Often, you have a very short amount of time to make that first impression on Facebook.

    Having a customized Facebook Page helps your organization do the following:

    • Stand out in a crowded space.
    • Deliver a more customized message and brand.
    • Grab attention immediately with videos and graphics.
    • Capture leads with contact forms and links to other sites.

    Customized Facebook Page

    Easy Custom Facebook Page Maker

    Customized Fan Pages are similar to many other things on the internet: you have to KNOW HOW to get them done. Often times this can be time consuming and frustrating. You may ask questions like: Does your server have SSL? Will my design fit on the narrow space allotted? How do I even add it onto my page?

    There are many ways to add in these custom tabs on a Facebook Fan Page, from completely custom design to management systems. Squareberry offers an easy Facebook Page Maker for adding a great looking Landing Page to your organization's Facebook Fan Page.

    You can add a YouTube video, featured events and promotions, banner image, custom text/HTML, links to websites, social sites and more, and Recent Tweets or Blog Posts. The Squareberry Landing Page helps drive your Facebook Page vistiors across the web to your complete web presence. The Featured Slider shows off upcoming Events and Promotions, helping to drive people to your real world location.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Turning Lemons into Lemonade: Will It Work for BlackBerry?

    Earlier this month, BlackBerry users were stunned by the massive service outage. RIM customers particularly in Europe and South America have experience difficulties in accessing messages and some email delays as well. Canadian-based RIM said that the huge outage was caused by a certain bug, most pundits speculate that RIM's saturated email system is the culprit for the system to collapse. After RIM fixed the issue, they tried to make amends with their customers by offering them a wide-array of premium apps for free. Aside from that, customers will get a month's trial of technical support service and current customers will get one month extension.

    Free apps? Is this enough to easen the pains of the giant lemon that RIM threw at its billions of customers? Reality checked, damage has been done. While BlackBerry has been the only reliable and instrumental communications tool during the Virginia quake back in August, customers are an unforgiving lot, customers are to be pleased and not to be asked for sympathy. Remember Dell Hell? A couple of years ago, digital journalist Jeff Jarvis blogged about the lemon he encountered with a Dell laptop. Dell's customer service was poor at that time, they ignored Jarvis. Little that they know that Jarvis' snowball started rolling which eventually turned into an avalanche of online rants. And before Dell knew it, Dell's blog post sparked a movement dubbed as "Dell Hell" which has every customer throwing their complaints about their Dell gadgets. Twitter was still an "infant" at that time, and Dell had no practical medium to use to address every complaint there is on the Web.

    After months of enduring Dell Hell, the computer giant came up with Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm blog both of which aims to empower the customer while enhancing customer service. Arguably, Dell is the pioneer of social media command centers which puts a premium in customer-company collaboration. Even CEO Michael Dell started a blog so he can interact with customers by using his blog as a podium for his personal insights. Dell has redefined customer relations management by turning a lemon into a lemonade stand. So what can RIM learn from the Dell Hell ordeal? Check out the list below:

  • Admit your Fault

  • Customers don't care if you're the best mobile service provide in the planet. They always expect you to deliver, but most importantly, you have to admit if a flaw like a service outage happens. Ignore a customer's rant and tons will walk away.

  • Offer a Consolation

  • People appreciate free stuff, but if you're offering free stuff as a consolation, always assure that the freebie is useful enough to make them forget your mistake. Also, a consolation means that your apology is really sincere, and that makes a customer special.

  • Assess Consumer Behavior After A Lemony Event

  • Always remember your customer is either your bestfriend or worst enemy. But most importantly, customers are your walking ads so better to monitor what your customers are saying about your brand on social media networks.

  • Improve your Command Center

  • Establishing your accounts across social media platforms is very crucial. Let an experienced community manager handle your Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, a community manager that knows how to calm flashmobs knows how his social media tactics very well.

  • Make Sure It Won't Happen Again

  • The title says it all, always evaluate what caused the error whether it's on the technical area or a CRM issue. If you make the same mistake twice, then you are your own problem.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Do Changes Help Sustain Social Media Networks?

    For the past few months we've seen a plethora of product changes from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. From Facebook's new user timeline profile to Google+'s hashtag support that has a tie-in with search results, it seems that social media platforms continue to be spontaneous and relentlessly throwing changes at users. Social networks continue to come up with innovations that enhance their sharing functions, but most of the time users get lost when they can’t comprehend to these changes that sometimes lead to a lack of interest in increasing social activity in networks.

    Unless you're a social media manager for digital marketing agency, working for a dotcom, or still hanging out at your folks' basement, a person who's pre-occupied with his day job doesn't log in every minute on his Facebook or Twitter account. How frequent a social network rolls out such changes that we don't know, but one thing's for sure - social networks think changes help sustain their existence on the Web.

    Instant Access Increases Usage

    Arguably, Facebook is a success because of changes that present itself as improvements of their functionality. Just think of it, MySpace and Friendster were stagnant in terms of functionality and accessiblity. And when I mean accessibility, there weren't enough smartphone users when those social networks were riding the waves of momentum. It's not a secret that a glut of social media activities are being done by using a mobile phone.

    Today, anyone can log in on their social media accounts through their mobile phones. Thus, instant and spontaneous access keeps social giants like Facebook and Twitter alive and sporadic in terms of use. Friendster and the old MySpace bit the dust because they were complacent in making innovations to improve functionality, but the lack of exposure on mobile gadgets failed to increase usability through instant access.

    "New and Improved" Doesn't Always Bring Improvements

    The sub-title says it all, some changes are only good on paper. Social networks couldn’t ascertain if a new function or feature is useful or not, users determine if a new function even makes sense for their daily use. Just look at Facebook Deals, Questions, and Places, those sounded good before they were launched but were ditched after users discontinued use because interest was slowly fading.

    It simply suggests that users opt to ignore every function when it's eventually not used by a majority of users. And when people don't use a certain function anymore, it doesn't present any value at all. Recently, a survey from Mashable reports that about 56% of Facebook users who know about its recent changes actually dislike them. Facebook's much ballyhooed Timeline feature that gives a user’s contacts a glimpse of their "history" which poses some privacy issues for a number of users. Perhaps this is the reason why a definite date for Timeline's worldwide launch has yet to surface.

    Enhanced Content-Sharing

    The notable features on Facebook and Google+ are functions that urge marketers to think like publishers. Google+ rolled out its hashtag support and real-time search while Facebook launched its People Talking About metric. The former's function is very helpful because of its direct tie-in to Google search results, while the latter has given page admins and marketers something to look forward to, though has yet to present its value to ordinary users. The common denominator of these new functions is to increase user engagement through content-sharing.

    The only thing that Facebook's People Talking About metric has yet to show is the value of knowing who's talking about a particular brand or product in order to determine substantial demographics. User-generated content fuels a brand's Facebook page, marketers and page admins should not only urge fans to click the Like button beside a post, they should promote thought-sharing to generate UGC which increases SEO as well. User-generated content is essential to all social platforms, it's the fuel of every brand's Facebook page or Twitter account that helps sustain user engagement.

    The Rise of Social Advertising

    If Twitter wants to put hair conditioner ads on Justin Bieber's tweets, they can do it. Why? Social media platforms are free, but they have to monetize their service and generate revenues in order to exist. Just picture out how TV began, TV networks needed ad placements to produce shows. Nowadays, most people are not watching TV, they are watching TV on the Web. This is why the Internet has become a destination-location for advertisers and consumers.

    The use of social networks tend to consume people's time, for some it's been a routine already! And that's a clear opportunity for social platforms to monetize their service through paid social ads. It's a win-win situation, users get to use the social network for free and marketers can leverage social ads to increase ROI.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Show Off Events and Promotions on Your Home Page

    A website's home page is the ideal location to show off real world events and promotions. In many cases, web surfers only see the home page. If your goal is to drive them to your real world location or drive participation in an event or promotion, the Home Page needs to be part of your strategy.

    Home Page Widgets - What's Happening!

    Home page widgets are the ideal way to communicate your real world happenings on your website. Rather than plopping a traditional calendar or static graphic, these widgets will auto-update to show off your upcoming events and promotions. You can select specific categories when creating your views, to limit your widgets to just those selected categories.

    With auto-refreshing widgets, you never have to worry about making sure your website homepage is up to date. You know you are always showing off your upcoming events and promotions and driving people into your real world location. Special Events and Coupons are the perfect way to get more people to your location.

    Home Page Calendar Widgets

    Easily Add a Calendar Widget to Your Home Page

    Adding these widgets is very easy. With Squareberry, you are given simple embed codes for every type of widget. These can easily be added to any website. It is as easy as adding a YouTube video. You can create customized views with certain categories, allowing you to show off just the events and promotion you want with any widget or calendar.

    The Slider Widget gives any website motion and solid content. Events and Promotions slide by, creating an eye-catching display of your happenings. The List Widget lists your upcoming happenings and auto-refreshes to show off your next X number of events or promotions.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Like Button is Top User Engagement Tool

    It seems Facebook's plan to urge marketers and businesses to think like publishers are paying off even before launching the Subcribe button and People Talking About metric. AllFacebook reports that a white paper from Efficient Frontier shows some figures which concluded that user engagement has increased by 31% over the last year and overwhelming the 24% average increase impressions per post for the same quarter as well. Facebook's LIKE button is the linchpin for user engagement levels to increase and accounts for 84% of all Facebook user feedback.

    It only shows that content is more influential and enticing compared to paid social ads. Thanks to the LIKE button, marketers can ascertain if promoting a new product or service through their feeds is actually effective and increases brand awareness rather spending too much on ads.

    This is quite similar to my standpoint towards Twitter's advertising platform that trends are more powerful than ads. When a brand communicates and interacts on their social accounts, the more it merits a feedback because the approach is more personal which every consumer appreciates. Feed them ads and they'll probably notice yet ignore it sometimes.

    The great thing about leveraging "thought-sharing" posts on every fan page is that it's obviously cheaper yet practical compared to paid social ads. When you ask, give a tip, or share a joke to your fans, not only it's likely to be shared, mentioned, or liked, users will give feedbacks and that's instant user-generated content for a brand's page. Liking a brand or a brand's post is instant and spontaneous, no wonder it's the top user engagement drawer on the social network. The Like button is the catalyst that paves the way for more real-time engagement to happen. It's really up to page admins and community managers to inject some creative juices on their posts so users can be enticed to join the conversation to increase engagement levels.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Tuesday Tip - Promote Your Complete Online Presence

    It is important to promote all of the various places your organization is mentioned, listed, referenced or promoted online. You never know how someone interested in your organization will find you or where they will come from. Having a consistent and well kept complete online presence can help drive real world traffic from all corners of the internet.

    These online locations may include:

    • Review Sites: Yelp / TripAdvisor
    • Search Engines: Google Places / Bing Maps
    • Professional Listing Sites: Manta / Angie's List
    • Social Media Sites: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla
    social-media-online-presence [divider]

    Links Back to Your Website

    External links back to your website are an essential aspect of ranking higher in search engines. Having your organization listed across various websites and online areas gives you more links back to your website.

    Get More Followers in More Places

    Have more Facebook "Likes" and less Twitter followers? Have a bunch of Twitter followers but nobody "Liking" your Facebook Fan Page? It is fairly common to have a lopsided presence one way or the other. It is important to leverage your followers to gain more followers across social media sites.

    If you have a strong Twitter following, send a message encouraging people to connect on Facebook. If you have a lot of fans on Facebook but a small number of Twitter followers, encourage your Facebook fans to get on Twitter. Rather than just asking, it is a good idea to offer exclusive content or promotions to people on certain networks.

    For instance, you could post an update on Facebook which says: "We will be giving away a free gift card on Twitter this weekend! Follow us on Twitter to be part of the contest!". Special promotions or offerings like this can help drive followers from one social network to another.

    Encourage Reviews

    Reviews are a very important aspect of your online presence. They can help with SEO, drive new customers in and keep your reputation clean. Numerous bad reviews can turn away new people and hurt your online image. It is important to encourage people to write positive reviews about your organization online.

    Rather than just sending a message asking people to review you, you should make it easy. Find your listing on a review site and send the direct link out to your followers on social media. Make it so easy that all they have to do is click and write a short review. Not everyone will do this, but the more you try the more results you will get to improve your online presence.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    People Talking About Metric: What’s The Real Score?

    Facebook launched the newest addition to its Insights Page Analytics called People Talking About. The People Talking About metric enables users and page admins to view a fan page's various interactions such as Likes, Mentions, Photo-tagging ,and Sharing a post which are all fused into a single metric. While Google now thinks like a "publisher" with the launch its new content-enhacing tools, Facebook's making marketers think like publishers through the People Talking About metric.

    Like I've said on one of my previous blog posts, the new Facebook metric seeks to bring out more quality content out of brand’s fan pages because any user can easily view if the page's engagement is doing well. But as the new metric rolled out last week, I have yet to see the value the new metric brings to page admins and community managers.

    Where's The Value Then?

    As much I don't want to make a comparison, whenever Google Analytics releases a new metric it presents its value right away. Does the same goes for Facebook? Another column called "Virality" will be added on the Insights page that will gauge the reach of a particular content posted on a fan page. You can attain Virality figures when you have the numbers of People Talking About then divide it to the content's reach.

    The great thing about this Virality metric is if it can let page admins track the posts that bring more user engagement and increase interactivity levels within the page. Page admins can easily ascertain which videos entice more conversations or blog entries are shared the most.

    More Content to Increase Engagement

    As businesses become more social, Facebook page content isn't limited to what a company announces, promotes, or shares. User-generated content is what fuels every social media platform. But for pages to receive a plethora of UGC fuel, community managers should always be the linchpin of a conversation.

    While posting a photo or sharing a video could merit a Like or Share, it's a must for community managers to increase user engagement levels through thought-sharing. Why? While Facebook mentioned that People Talking About metric will only classify every comment whether positive or negative as one, Sentiment Analytics is a crucial factor in determining consumer behavior towards a brand.

    My Take As A Page Admin

    One of my colleagues mentioned that People Talking About will pressure page admins to increase interactivity. It's true, getting 10k fans every week to increase fan page count is already passe. Marketers and community managers should begin thinking like publishers because content triggers UGC which fuels virality in order to increase brand awareness.

    My only concern is that, how a page admin can identify who shares content or mentions the brand in order to generate a comprehensive demographics report. I know this brings another privacy issue to the table. Anyway, for page admins and community managers, I'd like to leave a message in relation to the People Talking About metric - Is the right target niche talking about your brand?

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Why Trends Are More Powerful Than Ads

    After the launch of promoted tweets, Twitter intends to leverage one of its primary assets - celebrity accounts.

    Before, advertising was limited to media such as TV, radio, and print. Today, social media platforms are making the Internet a destination-location for advertisers and consumers alike. Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are the reason why a person who doesn't even have an email account still goes online. Indeed, Twitter is one of the most-used media of communication nowadays, so it's a no-brainer if a free service like this will monetize its service through ads. After all, free television moved in a similar way through TV commercials.

    In a recent interview with NYmag , Twitter CEO Dick Costolo explains how the social platform will monetize its service. Twitter's promoted tweets were launched recently and users didn't seem to mind if these ads were somewhat disguised as ordinary tweets. It only shows that Twitter's recent foray to monetize the service is paying up as long as they don't overdo it. Costolo aims to use celebrities who are considered influencers to catapult ads to their followers without alienating followers of a celebrity such as Charlie Sheen or Justin Bieber. If Twitter wants to put hair conditioner ads on Justin Bieber's tweets than they can. Twitter intends to use a frictionless approach, which means that they might try inserting organic ads on every celebrity's tweet. Essentially, "frictionless" in this sense means presenting ads in a discreet manner. Arguably, the most discreet way of promoting a product or a service on Twitter would be using hashtags. Wouldn’t you agree?

    While this might be a good thing to Twitter in order to maintain its service, the essence of viral marketing might be a goner here. We all know that if a trend is all over the Twittersphere, it spreads like wildfire on other media whether it's social or traditional. The notion of social media being a two-way communication between a consumer and a brand is not yet passe. The concern here however is that when you start shoving a product or an ad down people's throats or smartphones, it becomes invasive due to the interruption. Reality check: trends influence people and ads interrupt them.

    Nonetheless, people won’t quit using Twitter, people still watch free TV, right? People won't mind the promoted tweets and ad-glazed celebrity tweets. Social platforms run on user-generated content to make something viral, and there's a reason why Twitter has a Trending List on the user interface - trends are more powerful than ads.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Facebook Launches "People Talking About" Metric

    Google launched a couple of new products last week such as the Google Analytics Real Time feature and the stand-out tag for news organizations. Google Analytics Real Time aims to improve how marketers pull the linchpin from their ad campaigns on social networks. Meanwhile, on the other side of the fence, Facebook is revamping their Pages Insights analytics tool. The social network announced a new metric to better assess a brand's page called "People Talking About."

    "People Talking About" is just a tentative title to the new Facebook metric. It will enable users to view the Pages below the total number of Likes. Like Google's latest content-enhancing tools, Facebook's metric puts a premium on user-generated content as well, it determines a Facebook page's rating if it has content that has deliberate impact which results into meaningful engagements. While Google thinks like a publisher, Facebook compels marketers and brands to think like publishers which is why the social network urges them to make their pages to carry more quality content to merit more comments and shares from fans.

    The People Talking About metric will gauge and measure all user-initiated activity that pertains to a Facebook page. The areas that the new metric will include are:

    • Likes
    • Posts (Page's Wall)
    • Shares (Deals, Pages, Content)
    • Comments
    • Mentions (Pages)
    • Answers to a Question Posted
    • Checking in at a Location
    While these areas are considered essential in order to gauge how a brand's page is performing, there's one aspect lacking - sentiment analytics. This suggests that every comment whether positive or negative will count as the same. Sentiment analytics is subjective in nature, hence, it should be handed down to social media mission control centers like Dell’s and Gatorade’s for further assessment rather than depending on Facebook’s analytics tool. The focal point will be the number of Likes and will remain as a top measurement for page performance. But as I wrote in a previous post, attaining your next 1 million fans is passe and that it’s time to feed your fans relevant content which will help sustain a brand’s Facebook page.