Posted by: thinkeak | October 26, 2009

Blogging for Business

Blogging is social medium that provides numerous benefits for business including: communication tool to reach consumers and employees, position and establish your brand in the market, and build a reputation as an expert in your field. Starting a blog can appear to be overwhelming experience for anyone new to the blogging world, but it actually is quite simple. If your wondering how a blog will benefit or change your business, then read this article that from Business Week wrote on how Blogs will Change Your Business.

There are numerous ways to start a blog. The easiest and cheapest way is to do it yourself, setting up a blog page on a free blog site like WordPress or Blogger. Darren Rowse of ProBlogger provide numerous blogs filled with tips, advice and guides on how to get started building your own blog. Start with the basics: select a blog site, select a platform to write about (your business, a individual brand, etc), write about it then post it. Once you have the basic foundation, then expand into all the functions and generating views for your blog.

Another way is to hire a professional blogger to continually to build and write your exclusive blog page, or to have a professional blogger that writes on numerous subjects be paid or compensated to write about your brand. Be on alert, laws for bloggers who write about products are changing. Kayleen Schaffer wrote an article in the New York Times, New F.T.C. Rules have Bloggers and Twitterers Mulling: “Beginning Dec. 1, bloggers, Twitterers and many others who write online product reviews must disclose the receipt of free merchandise or payment for the items they write about.”

There are benefits to any blog route you take, just make sure you pick one and stick with it.

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Posted by: thinkeak | October 24, 2009

Copyright violations – it happened to me!

By Kristin A. Snyder
October 24, 2009

Copyright violation! It can happen to you! Is it a coincidence that the same week my IMC class is discussing copyright laws that I discover someone that goes by the screen name Udhayasolutions has copied my September 6 blog word for word. Oh wait, they did change the title. This person even went so far as to use a false source that links you to some internet site in another country. WARNING: do not click on it as it might crash your computer. This person posted my blog as an answer to a question, check it out at on Askville.

Yesterday I discovered the infringement and I took immediate action. I replied to the posting, I sent the thief a direct message, I sent Askville two “report abuse” messages, as well as sent Askville Co-Founder, ChristianC, a direct message all requesting that the submission me taking down or source corrected. I will be following this daily until a resolution one way or another is done. Twenty-four hours later, still no resolution.

I have learned my lesson. I have learned that I need to take more precautions on my blog site to protect myself. Even online there are still copyright laws that us. In fact I found another blogger who had very useful tips and advice, check out: Lorelle on WordPress. She has great tips on how to find stolen content, what to do about it, and how to protect yourself. I’m sure this will not be the last time that it will happen either.

Udhayasolutions – you stole my content, do the right thing and correct the situation.

Posted by: thinkeak | October 22, 2009

Engage the consumer through Facebook!

By: Kristin A. Snyder
October 22, 2009

Engage the consumer through Facebook!

Facebook is more than a place to stay in touch with your long lost high school friends; it should be a chapter in your businesses social marketing platform. Facebook currently has over 300 million active users, of which 50 percent log on in any given day. Businesses and brands can create a Facebook Fan page to generate traffic, buzz, and hype on your company or individual brand campaign. It’s a place where you can communicate with your customer on events, promotions, and special occasions. It’s a place where your costumers can gives you instant feedback on topic from latest holiday gift card design to what features should be included in your new product design. You can add pictures, video, bog updates, conduct and conduct polls. Most importantly, it’s a place to conduct a dialog with your customers. Chic-fil-a has 1.2 million Facebook Fans and is great example of a successful Facebook page that incorporates these elements.

Once you have your page set up its time to start getting “Fans.” But how? One way is by utilizing a widget that Facebook launched this summer. Fan Box is a simple widget that you can add to your website to allow users to become your Fan and view your Facebook page stream. This is what the the widget looks like on Coca-Cola’s website:

Coca-Cola Website

By having this widget on your website, it will make current and prospective customers aware of your Facebook site and allow them to become a Fan at that moment skipping the sometimes frustrating Facebook search steps. Check out the Facebook Developer Wiki for detailed instructions on how to implement this widget.

Posted by: thinkeak | October 19, 2009

Mobile Marketing…The next telemarketing?

By Kristin A. Snyder
October 19, 2009

Mobile marketing…is it the next telemarketing?

Remember the days of sitting peacefully at home, the landline rings just as you are sitting down for dinner. Yes, it is another telemarketer trying to sell you service you really don’t need, let you know you won a contest for some extravagant trip that you never signed up for. After years of annoying calls during evening hours when companies knew you would be home, the “do not call” list came into play and have cut back on the numbers. What about now receiving an untimely and unwanted text in the middle of a meeting or at home as your trying to fall asleep? Wait, what if you want the texts? What if they have something to offer that benefits you?

Mobile marketing has the potential to offer great benefits. Wired Magazine points out some fun and useful applications for your mobile phone. For instance:

Scan a Barcode, Find a Deal! This is a must have application for any woman! ShopSavvy assist buyers to find the best deal. All you have to do is scan a barcode with your phone camera, then it will show how much that product costs online and/or at other stores. Of course, you have to have the right phone that runs of the Android platform:

Charmin came out with the concept “Sit or Squat” years ago that received tremendous buzz. This application allows you to find the nearest, user rated for cleanliness bathrooms. Whew, talk about relief!

These are just two examples of positive applications that the user can opt into receiving. The ethical question arises when consumers receive SMS Text messages from companies with out knowingly asking to receive them. The cell phone is an extremely personal device that consumer’s carry with them almost at all times. Creating a unique way to utilize this medium to gain consumer attention definitely has it perks and will prove profitable for the companies that can skate the fine line. Lets just be sure not to repeat the negative telemarketing epidemic and make mobile marketing another irritating phrase that consumer cringe when they hear the words.

Looking to start a mobile marketing campaign without upsetting your consumers? Listen to these three tips before starting from the :60 Marketer:

By: Kristin A. Snyder
October 18, 2009

Oh Wiki your so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind…or do you?

Picture 1

There are many pro’s and con’s to Wikipedia. The question that I have been pondering: does it make since for small business to develop a Wiki page? In broad perspective the concept seems to be a winner. Wiki has become a quality tool for search marketing and a place people turn to in order to start research on a subject.

Try it for yourself, do a Google search and see that a Wikipedia page comes up as a top result. Appearing in more search results alone, to me, is worth developing a Wikipedia site. Having consumers find information about your business on more that just your own website tends to be a positive attribute. You can define what your business is, what it is about, and the history. However, developing and publishing a Wikipedia site for your business might not be as easy as it seems.

First you need have constant daily monitoring of the page. Keep in mind that once you develop a page, you cannot “set it and forget it.” Its not that simple, as anyone at anytime can edit the page (which is the entire point of Wikipedia’s “online community of people interested in building a high-quality encyclopedia in a spirit of mutual respect”). Anyone at any time can change the content or add submissions that are false, tag stories or pictures to your site. So do not forget and monitor your site, DAILY!!

Remember that Wikipedia says it is not numerous things including: a dictionary, a paper encyclopedia, a blog, webspace provider, social networking, a crystal ball. Let me add a place to make a sales pitch. Wikipedia also has rules of notability guidelines in order to be published and make it passed its administrators.

Matt McGee wrote a blog “Should Small Business have a Wikipedia article?” In short he is against it because it is too much of a headache. But is the headache worth it? You decide!

Posted by: thinkeak | October 12, 2009

Zero verbal communication, is that really good?

I tend to look at many things through a markers eyes and lately have had the benefit of being the consumer utilizing numerous online, mobile, and social networking features to make my life easier. It made me realize, that I really do not have to talk to one person in a live conversation to get things accomplished and I didn’t have to deal with the operator voice ended prompts. It mostly could be done with my fingertips while sitting at my desk!

This is my experience in the last two weeks while I moved:

• Three months ago I need a storage unit for short term until I had plans finalized. I researched, received
quotes, and booked online without talking to one person until I showed up at the actual unit.
• I was able to research reviews for moving companies and requested quotes online from one website for ten
moving companies without ever talking to one person until I had narrowed the selection down to my top
three. In fact, the top three were all recommend by friends off Facebook.
• I connected my cable, electric, and changed my cell phone plan all online. Each company sent me some sort
of automatic email or text response confirming service.
• I researched and ordered a fridge online and had it delivered. Ok, I did talk to the delivery guys the day of
delivery before they showed up at my door.
• I bought a new vacuum after sending out a recommendation request via Facebook to my friends.
• While waiting for my fridge to be delivered I order pizza and pop (aka soda or coke) online, and had it
delivered.

Come to think about it, the only thing that required actual verbal communication was leasing my condo. However, the majority of the details were worked out via email, text, and fax with my Realtor.

Certainly technology has made life easier, but too easy? Is zero face to face and verbal communication a really good thing?

Picture 11

Posted by: thinkeak | October 11, 2009

Black culture travel social site…will it fly or crash?

by Kristin A. Snyder
October 11, 2009

Black culture travel social site…will it fly or crash?

American Airlines is launching a new social networking site for travel around the world that focuses on the black culture. The site is BlackAtlas.com and is to fully launch this month. Users of this site must register in order to utilize it. Users can upload their own travel reviews of their favorite explorations as well as add pictures and videos to their posting. The social site is hosted by George Neilson and is supported with a Facebook page.

BlackAtlas.com

“We at American Airlines see Black Atlas as an important connector, enabling an online community of travelers to share information about their favorite places for experiencing African-American and Black culture, food, music, literature, history and events across the globe,” said Roger Frizzell, American’s Vice President – Corporate Communications and Advertising.”

I commend American Airlines for recognizing the potential of the African American market and finding a way to highlight the black culture worldwide into the travel industry that American Airlines naturally caters to. The potential of this unique site is endless. With George Neilson leading the way, and individuals from all over having the opportunity to share their special finds, it will be fascinating to see the places around the world that are uncovered.

It will be interesting to monitor this site to see how long it takes (pardon the pun) to get off the ground and flying. It seems to have the foundation for success, but how will American Airlines promote the site? Will American Airlines offer special travel packages to places around the globe that are highlighted by George Neilson? Only time will tell, in the meantime, my seat belt is fasten and I’ll enjoy the flight.

Posted by: thinkeak | October 10, 2009

Emerging Media…here today gone tomorrow?

By: Kristin A. Snyder
October 10, 2009

Emerging media…here today gone tomorrow?

Are you using any type of emerging media in your business marketing plans? If no, why not? MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Wiki, blogs all could be fads or they could last forever. Only time will tell. Currently, each of these social networks offer unique was to communicate and engage with your consumers. The question is, as a business, should you be using them now, if so, which one?

The answer is simple. YES! Even if they are a fad, who is to say how long each will last, and maybe one or two are here to stay. So why not pull up your birches, jump in and give it a try. After all, they are free, easy to change ad update, and some young intern in your office will be thrilled to get your company off the ground. So what are you waiting for?

You want to try but which one should you do? There isn’t one clear-cut answer, but you need to be where your customers are, and my bet is your consumers are in numerous places. So therefore, you should do the same. Because these mediums are free, and because know one knows which one will prevail or which one will phase out, it is best to keep a diverse social marketing portfolio and integrate all your current marketing efforts to be fluid. That way if one of the mediums fade, you are still going strong with the others and do not have to start over at ground zero to build another network.

Mistakes will be made and are to be expected while you learn this new form of marketing, but don’t freight – learn from them and keep moving forward. Before you dive in, develop a game plan, brand your online community to mimic and compliment current branding efforts, set realistic expectations, assign responsibility to one person (or a couple people) to maintain the sites on a daily basis. If done correctly, these social networks could open avenues of communication with your current and potential consumers.

What social networking mediums are you using? How are you utilizing them?

Posted by: thinkeak | October 8, 2009

Is it an advertisement or a game?

By Kristin Snyder
October 8, 2009

ADVERTISEMENT OR GAME?

What do you get when you combine a commercial with a game? You get advergaming! Advergaming is the practice of using video games to advertise a product, organization or viewpoint. It can be played on the internet or even on your mobile phone. There are advergames for all ages, with some advertisement are subtle while others are more direct. The gaming industry is very large and it continues to grow, but does incorporating brands within the game work?

It comes down to interaction. Instead of consumers watching a :30 second commercial, advergaming allows consumers to interact with a brand for an extended period of time. The engaging nature of advergaming holds the attentions of consumers longer, allowing e-tailers to educate them about new products or product features.
Further, advergaming lines up with social networking when one consumer emails the game or link to friends and they forward to their friends, this aids in extending the advertising reach.

In January, 2009 ComScore released a study which showed that “the category has grown 27 percent during the past year to 86 million visitors in December 2008, while the total time spent playing online games has jumped 42 percent. Americans’ total share of Internet time spent playing online games grew from 3.7 percent in December 2007 to 4.9 percent in December 2008.”

ComScore

ComScore

ComScore

ComScore

Advergames are typically free but some sites do require consumers to create an account, and sometimes actually pay to play the games. In addition some advertisers just throw their logo on any game, games that do not have any correlation with the brand. If budgets allow, advertisers need to create custom games that integrate the brand into the game in a function that creates a natural association.

The facts are in, advergaming works. It is time to try this advertising medium, if you do, do it the right way and spend the money to create a game that makes since for your brand. Don’t be just another PacMan game with a logo thrown on it.

Posted by: thinkeak | October 5, 2009

Short Films: Do It Discreetly

By Kristin A. Snyder
October 5, 2009

Short Films: do it discreetly

Everywhere I look I am inundated by ads. I roll out of bed to head to the gym to be face by radio commercials, ads on buses, and billboards. I walk into the gym and am hit by t-shirt after t-shirt filled with ads, hit the treadmill only to look up at the TV with commercials and the running ticker at the bottom of the screen with another ad. Head to the locker-room, close the stall door and there are four ads staring at me. Post workout I go to get a smoothie only to see ad after ad for different protein shakes, bars, and vitamins. Off to work, log onto my computer, pull up the web to check out latest news of the day and here come the pop-ups, pop-unders, and banner ads. Pulling up email only to see more ads.

With so much in your face advertising going on, it sometimes behooves the marketers to find a more subtle unobtrusive way to get their brand message across. One of the latest trends in advertising that allows for an discreet approach is short films.

Numerous brands have made attempts at creating short films, some more successful then others. Some short films seem like long boring commercials, others are documentary’s of the companies history, and some I’m still scratching my head as to the point of it and the message it was trying to convey. Several car manufacturers have utilized short films successfully as an alternative advertising medium. Manufacturers like Nissan, Volvo and BMW lead the way by creating their own short films that tell a story while featuring its products through the film in virtually every shot. BMW and Volvo even splurged to include high profile celebrities like Madonna, Clive Owen, and Robert Downey Jr.

Each manufacturer took a different approach in creating the short film. BMW film series, “The Hire”, is an action pack series, each film with its own unique plot, and each show cased BMW’s vehicle performance and featured Clive Owen as the driver in each film, and Madonna in several.

Nissan, however, decided to take the drama genre route in its more popular short film series, “Exit” which is packed full of Nissan product either being driven or in the background. New York Times writes “Unlike typical 30-second television spots, it is 20 minutes long and is a feature on the British version of the boxed-set DVD of the American television show “24,” to be released by 20th Century Fox Television.”

Last, Volvo teamed up with Robert Downey Jr. in a interesting journey short film that features the Volvo V50.

Each of the brands short films’ created a story with a plot, and then incorporated its vehicle into the film as the star or supporting role which gave a true “film” quality instead of an extended advertisement feel. Good short films, and any type of product placement, should not feel like infomercials or really long advertisements, and these short films are good examples of what to do.

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