Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

The Value of a Website in a Social Media World

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The Value of a Website in a Social Media World is the name of the presentation I gave for the Women’s Business Council on Friday, February 14, 2014. The Women’s Business Council (WBC) is a sub group of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. The presentation was given at the monthly luncheon of the WBC at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Marlborough, MA.

5 Questions about social media and websites were addressed:

  1. What is included in the Social Media umbrella?
  2. How do I know in which social media websites I should invest my time?
  3. Has the value of my website declined, increased or remained the same since I have been using the social media websites to get my message out?
  4. Does it makes sense to maintain a website and multiple social media websites? ( I’m posting everything on Facebook; can’t I just forget about my website?)
  5. If I keep my website, what do I need to do to it if I’m also participating on social media websites?

The Social Media World

Members of the audience shared which social media websites they use, and how they use them. Some use social media to raise brand awareness. Others use social media for first-line-of-defense customer service and support, to post job notifications, and to advertise new products and services.

Interestingly, each participant (or the business that they represented) had clearly defined reasons for using each social media tool. Not surprisingly, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn were the three most popular social media websites with which they engaged.

Websites

I shared 15 reasons for maintaining a website as well as participating in social media websites, and a chart with suggestions on how social media efforts can support website content and updates in ways that help a business gain visibility and credibility, and get found more easily (gain higher ranking on search engine results pages).

The SEOs

We wrapped up with a brief discussion about Social Engagement Optimization versus Search Engine Optimization.

Note: Discussion was limited to business use of social media.

Thanks to the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce and the WBC for inviting me to present. I thoroughly enjoyed the attendees and their engagement in the presentation.

Download the flyer about the The Value of a Website in a Social Media World presentation.

Experimenting with foursquare

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been attending the online 2010 Social Media Summit. I want to stay on top of the latest trends in social networking and social media so that I can provide clients with relevant and timely data, but, also so that I can use what I learn for my own websites.

One of the up-and-coming social websites that was discussed last week was foursquare. Tristan Walker from foursquare said that foursquare is a “mobile social application” that, from a consumers point of view, “make cities easier to use”, and from a vendors standpoint, helps them “acquire and retain customers”.

Consumers
You open an account (free) with foursquare. As you go through your day and from one venue to the next, you log into foursquare and “check in”. When you check in, foursquare can tweet your location to your followers, make an entry in your Facebook, and make the information available to your foursquare “friends” (oh, yeah, building foursquare community). The default is to perform all three, but, you have the ability to (un)check any and all for each check in.

Home page at foursquare.com

The more places you check in for the first time and the more times you check in to a (repeat) venue, you earn points, and ultimately, prestige awards from foursquare. For example, if you are the person who visits a vendor most often, you receive the “Mayor’s badge” for that vendor. There is actually a dashboard panel that displays the statistics of your points, the badges you have earned, where you have been and how frequently.

Vendors
Foursquare’s appeal to vendors then is that vendors can use foursquare’s prestige awards as incentives for foursquare “members” to patronize their establishment. So, for example, a vendor might offer a free meal, haircut, or round of golf to the person who becomes the foursquare “Mayor” of the venue.

Conversely, if a vendor is not getting any “check ins”, they might offer a special in order to get the ball rolling and get some visibility on foursquare.

So you see that it is a win-win system for both consumers and vendors.

~

So, since the session, I created an account on foursquare and started to check in periodically. I don’t check in all the time because that just doesn’t balance with me. If you want to know where I am every part of the day, shadow me in person.

So, the reason I am writing this post is to let you know that it is fun, and I can see how it will become addictive – and probably more so than Twitter and Facebook. Afterall, you have your cell phone with you all the time, and, you are on the move when you are checking in. You can log on to foursquare and find out where your (real) friends are and hook up with them. You can have races with your friends to see who can check in where first.  You can challenge each other to see who can win the most Mayorships in a certain amount of time.

Mostly, it was fun checking in and seeing where my friends were checking in. The snag that I ran into was…foursquare didn’t always get the GPS signal right, so, I couldn’t check in. Last week, I was at Panera Bread in Marlborough, MA and foursquare insisted that I was in Ontario Canada and kept showing me Michigan and Ontario venues. I moved from Panera’s to the other side of the parking lot and it showed me the same places. While at other venues, I checked in, and the check in “recorded” screen didn’t display, so, I checked in one or two more times until I saw that screen… and, of course, as I look at my statistics, I was checked in multiple times for some venues that I only visited once.

Curiously enough, a friend (@mannismacneil) sent me a link to this blog post made by Doug Gross on May 11, 2010 –  Foursquare tweaks make it easier to ‘check in’. It begins,

For anyone who’s ever tried to check in somewhere on Foursquare, only to mutter, “No! That is NOT where I am,” help is on the way.

So, it is not a perfect system yet, and from a consumer’s point of view, it is downright disappointing when you have been on a roll checking in. It discourages you from checking in for the next “x” amount of time. Foursquare is going to have to talk vendors into providing some really great incentives in order for consumers to overlook these “inconveniences”.

As the product matures and the tweaks are worked out, I see a beautiful marriage between consumers on the go and vendors incentivizing them to visit their establishments. Win-Win! I like it!

What about you? Do you have a foursquare account? What is your experience…pure fun or a little frustrating?

11:00 AM UPDATE –> So I posted this at 7:40 this morning and 3 1/2 hours later @brett tweeted about Andrew Davis’ blog post about a vendor taking up with foursquares.  Finally a Brand Harnessing the Power of Location-Based Media

Sole Proprietor Doing it All

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

It’s been an interesting day so far.

This morning, I was catching up on the social networking websites and followed a link to a blog post that has ignited passionate responses. The post was written by a sole proprietor and talks how he outsources work to the Philipines, and how he recently read a book by an outsourcing expert and he is now convinced that he has’t been doing enough outsourcing and should start doing more immediately.

So my brain was thinking about being a sole proprietor and how I might outsource in a way that is aligned with my “doing business” philosophy. 

After the social networking websites, I started doing research for a client who wants to offer a subscription service on his website where subscribers could watch 1/2 hour and hour-long videos. I’ve been looking at Vimeo, Brightcove, vzaar, and reading blog posts that review each of the services. I even put the question to my Twitter audience, hoping for recommendations.

I have more online video services to research, but, in the midst of it all, I found this video. It is one of Vimeo’s Staff’s favorites. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think about someone that is (has to) doing it ALL him/herself…like sole prorietors who chose to or have to due to circumstances.

If you’re a Do-It-All Yourself-er, you’ll enjoy this metafor in video. Here’s a guy who is doing it all himself, changing it up to be more creative, leveraging things (sounds) that he just made, stretching his abilities, finding balance…

(Reggie Watts) Out Of Control from Jake Lodwick on Vimeo.

Thnking of how many times Reggie switches it up, reminds me of a full day of doing business as a sole proprietor.

Twitter Gains in Popularity

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Thanks to @mashable on Twitter this morning, I learned that Twitter is the most popular word in the English language for 2009. The post by Ben Parr entitled, Twitter Declared Most Popular English Word of 2009, notes that:

  • The Global Language Monitor lists Twitter as the top word of 2009 beating out “Obama”, “H1N1”, “Stimulus” (as in the U.S. Stimulus package), … and “2.0”.
       
  • Microsoft’s Bing lists Twitter as its second most searched term for 2009 beating out “Swine Flu”, “Stock Market”, …”Cash for Clunkers”. “Michael Jackson” was number 1.
      

I first wrote about Twitter in June 2008, in the post, Twitter – What the heck is it? At that time I was a newby and the power of Twitter was not evident to me. Around the same time I created my Twitter account, I also created accounts at LinkedIn and Facebook . I expected that LinkedIn would have the most value for my business, then Facebook. I really didn’t see the business value to Twitter.

Since then, I have experienced very unexpected results. In fact, Twitter has been more valuable to doing business – so much so that I use Twitter about 8 times more than LinkedIn and Facebook these days.  Twitter has been invaluable in getting quick answers to business questions and links to resources and How To’s. I have used it to drive traffic to my websites and those of clients, and with the help of bit.ly (short URL service), Google Analytics, and my raw log files, have been able to track the visits directly to individual tweets.

It took a while to determine a Twitter strategy. At first I followed many. As time went on, I learned what those I followed tweeted about. Then, I began sculpting the list of following to hone in on my target audiences and interests. About once per month now, I review my following and followers, and now my lists, to update them and keep them on target. I keep my business twitter account separate from my personal account.

Summary
I am not surprised that Twitter is the most popular word in the English language. I was a non-believer until I learned how to use Twitter in a way that was beneficial to my business. Once that happened, Twitter became a standard tool used in my business. I suspect that 2009 was a year of exploration and learning for others curious about Twitter.

NOTE: My Twitter profile has changed. I am now KarenCallahanMa

How has Twitter benefited your business? Use comments below to write about your experience.

Facebook Vanity Usernames now Available

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

At of 12:01 a.m., Saturday, June 13, 2009, Facebook released its latest feature – Vanity Usernames. Instead of using the standard username id (profile.php?id=1035661502) or

www.new.facebook.com/people/Karen_Callahan/1035661502

 URL, you can now create your own username and have a short link like:

http://www.facebook.com/YourVanityUsername

I chose ‘WebExpert’, so, my new Facebook URL is: http://www.facebook.com/WebExpert

From a marketing perspective, I probably should have chosen my name or company name – and that would be my recommendation to my clients 🙂 I was too excited to be able to choose anything I wanted, and let my emotions make the decision.

Update your Facebook account today – and – choose your name or company name.